Ballygunner’s historic AIB All-Ireland Club Hurling final win has been hailed as a ‘massive’ moment for hurling in the county.
Substitute Harry Ruddle wrote his name into the history books after his last-gasp goal secured the title for Ballygunner against Ballyhale Shamrocks at Croke Park. Brought on after 53 minutes, Ruddle drove through the Ballyhale’s defence in the fourth minute of injury time and slotted into the bottom left corner of the net.
Ballygunner were two points behind and Ballyhale appeared set to become the first club to win three All-Ireland club hurling titles in a row. Ruddle’s strike put them one point in front before the referee blew for full time moments later, making his team the first from Waterford to win the title.
This is massive for Waterford
Meanwhile, former Tipperary star Shane McGrath told RTÉ the triumph will have a “massive” knock-on effect for the Déise inter-county set-up. “This is massive for Waterford,” he said. “To get to an All-Ireland final as a Waterford team and to beat a Kilkenny team in the manner that they did.
“It can only give them such belief and I’m sure Liam Cahill is absolutely thrilled with the result and with the buzz he’s going to get off the Ballygunner lads when they do come back into the panel in a couple of weeks time.”
Meanwhile, Deise legend John Mullane has said his promise to ride naked on a horse along the quays if a Waterford team won an All-Ireland does not apply to Ballygunner’s win.
“What I will say is, if Waterford win the All-Ireland I’ll jump on a horse in the nude and go down the Quay!” he famously said at the start of the 2017 Championship.
“That was five years ago, I’ve a 15-year-old daughter at home now, going on 16, and I’ve a wife so I’m well warned that won’t be happening!
“I don’t think I’d have a wife to go home to or that a 16-year old daughter or an 11-year old daughter will leave so that ship has sailed!” Mullane told the Independent.ie’s GAA podcast.
The whole club has done Waterford City and County proud
Meanwhile, Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr Joe Kelly has congratulated Ballygunner Hurling Team on their historic All-Ireland win.
“It is a great achievement to win a county senior hurling title and then the Munster title, but to go on and win an All-Ireland club title is absolutely fantastic,” he said.
“The whole club has done Waterford City and County proud, and we are extremely grateful to you all. It isn’t every day that a player gets to play in a stadium such as Croke Park, and it was a huge honour for all of the Ballygunner team. It must give the whole team and club a great boost to know that they beat Ballyhale, a high-quality team that has dominated the club hurling scene in recent years.
“I wish everyone connected with Ballygunner Hurling Club the very best for the rest of 2022 and into the future, and again I must congratulate you for representing the City and County so well on a national stage.”