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O'Sullivan Explains Why Ballygunner Dominance Is Good For Waterford

23 January 2022; Ballygunner manager Darragh O'Sullivan after his side's victory in 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

By PJ Browne Updated

Ballygunner extended their unbeaten run in Waterford to 46 games with a 1-27 to 1-15 quarter-final victory over Fourmilewater on Sunday.

The reigning All-Ireland champions are aiming to win their ninth consecutive county title. Ballygunner manager Darragh O'Sullivan believes his side's dominance is a good thing for Waterford hurling.

"What I meant by that, and I've said it all along, is that the standard we're setting, from juvenile level the whole way up," O'Sullivan told TG4.

"[It means that] everybody knows if they want to compete with Ballygunner they've got to tick all the boxes. At juvenile level, you see the gap is closing. Fourmilewater beat us at minor level this year - which I was delighted to see. Obviously, you're disappointed with the result but it means all the clubs are really, really working hard, as they've always done.

"They know that if they want to really take us on, they've got to tick all the boxes, and I think they're doing that. That's what I meant. Over the last number of years, we've been the ones trying to drive the standards, and that's been good for Waterford hurling. That's my point, and I stand by what I said."

28 August 2022; Dessie Hutchinson of Ballygunner in action against Jamie Barron of Fourmilewater during the Waterford Senior Hurling Club Championship Quarter-Final match between Ballygunner and Fourmilewater at Fraher Field in Dungarvan, Waterford. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

O'Sullivan dismissed the notion that Ballygunner's intermediate team are the second best side in the county.

"If you look at the results in intermediate level over the last three years, how could we be the second best team?" he said.

"If there was relegation from intermediate level two years ago, we would have been relegated. We lost our two games. Last year, we didn't even get to an eastern semi-final. This year, yes, we're back in an eastern final. If anyone looks at the facts of this, they'd understand that our intermediate level is not the second best team."

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In the semi-finals, Ballygunner will play last year's beaten finalists Roanmore while Mount Sion play De La Salle in the other last-four game.

"We've been very good at refocusing over the last number of years," said O'Sullivan.

"Roanmore, when they came out of the county final last year, I'd say they felt that they didn't do themselves justice. If you look at their performances this year, they've been very impressive - I don't think anyone has been close to them. We're expecting a huge battle. I know Peter Queally really well, he's a friend of mine and it'll be great to have a hop off Peter again."

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See Also: Austin Gleeson Says Overconfidence May Have Cost Waterford


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