Ballinhassig overcome Ballincollig in Feisty Affair
Writes Ciaran Dineen
Blistering sun, red cards, goals and fine points from play, this game between Ballinhassig and Ballincollig in the Premier Intermediate Hurling Championship had it all in Ballymah, home of Ballinora GAA.
Ballinhassig made it two wins in a row with a 10 point victory over Ballincollig, with the Blues cementing themselves as one of the clear favourites to challenge for the Championship this year.
An early red card for Blues corner back, Michael Desmond should have given Ballincollig an advantage that they would liked to have pounced on, but as soon as the game restarted following the dismissal, an awful challenge from David Bowen on a Ballinhassig player left referee, Pat Lyons, with no other decision but to brandish the red card again, all within the opening minutes of the game.
With the teams now 14 a-piece for the rest of the game it was a test to see who would adapt best to the situation. It was Ballinhassig who came to the fore in this regard, taking a 0-0 to 0-4 lead with just under a quarter of the game gone. Two of these scores came from magnificent sideline cuts from Evan Cullinane, who was a joy to watch in the first half of the contest.
It took Ballincollig 17 minutes to register their first score of the day as they struggled to get a hold of the game and stop Ballinhassig’s momentum. The Blues controlled the opening 30 minutes at a sun-soaked Ballymah, with Conor Desmond slotting over a number of frees, to give his side a half-time lead of 0-5 to 0-11.
At the beginning of the second period, Ballincollig certainly came out with more fire in their belly. Pa Collins in the Blues goal was forced to make a fine save from Cian O’Driscoll to keep the gap at six points.
A couple of points were traded before the decisive moment in the game. Brian Lynch, who was superb in the second half, played a ball through to corner forward Cillian Tyres, who made no mistake in front of goal and put Ballinhassig 1-12 to 0-6 in front.
Ballincollig needed something and they scored a goal of their own from Brian Keating, but this did not appear to affect the confidence of Ballinhassig.
The Blues played some wonderful inter-changing hurling for a lot of the game, and while towards the end of the second half they may have done too much short-play, they proved with this performance why they will be one of the teams to beat in this year’s Championship.
Brian Lynch scored a couple of excellent points from play, while Conor Desmond continued to punish Ballincollig’s ill discipline from placed ball positions. Meanwhile, Fintan O’Leary came off the bench, as he did last week, and further added to the scoreboard, which saw the Blues run out comfortable winners.
Ballinhassig will be looking to make it three wins in a row in two weeks’ time when they face Castlemartyr.
Ballinhassig Scorers: C Desmond 0-9 (0-7f, 0-1 65’), Cullinane 0-4 (0-2 sideline cuts), Lynch 0-4, O’Sullivan and O’Leary 0-1 each.
Ballinhassig Team: Pa Collins; Patrick O’Leary, Kevin Maguire, Michael Desmond; Shane McCarthy, Donncha O’Donovan, Eddie Finn; Michael Collins, Eoin Lombard; Evan Cullinane, Bryan Lynch, Charlie Grainger; Cillian Tyres, Conor Desmond, Darragh O’Sullivan.
Ballinhassig Subs: Fintan O’Leary for Grainger (48), Simon O’Neill for Lombard (48) and Ger Collins for Darragh O’Sullivan (57).