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'That Will Tell You How Good A Hurler He Is, He's So Flexible'

'That Will Tell You How Good A Hurler He Is, He's So Flexible'
By PJ Browne

Ballygunner progressed to the club's first ever All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championship final after a five-point win over Slaughtneil at Parnell Park on Sunday.

Goals at the start of both halves - both from Billy O'Keeffe - were crucial in the 2-19 to 1-17 win for the Waterford side.

"We've been on the road a long time, this team," Man of the Match O'Keeffe, scorer of 2-3 in all, told TG4.

"[Winning] Eight years [in a row] in Waterford, as good as they are, you always finish the year with a loss. It's something that always eats away at you, and you come back each year that bit hungrier. It's every team's goal when they win their own county to push on.

"You play the Munster final against Kilmallock, the Limerick champions, and you go out as if it's the last game you're ever going to play. You come out in an All-Ireland semi-final, and it's the exact same thing."

Ballygunner are just the third Waterford team to reach the senior decider.

"We're absolutely blessed," said O'Keeffe.

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"What an opportunity. We will be [one of] the last two teams training in the next two weeks. It's a fantastic opportunity.

"We're part of a massive club, full of fantastic people. There are people here that we really wanted to play for today. There are special people that we want to bring up that M9 to the All-Ireland."

Ballygunner manager Darragh O'Sullivan said he was "delighted" for O'Keeffe.

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"Billy was a back earlier on in the year," said O'Sullivan.

"He was a forward, Phillip got injured, and we put him back in the backs. Phillip came back, we put him back in the forwards. That will tell you how good a hurler he is that he's so flexible."

Featured image: 23 January 2022; Billy O'Keeffe of Ballygunner celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the AIB GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Club Championship Semi-Final match between Ballygunner, Waterford, and Slaughtneil, Derry, at Parnell Park in Dublin. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

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See Also: Castlebar Hold Off Castleisland Comeback To Reach All-Ireland Final

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