Semi-Final Heartbreak Once More for Ballinhassig
Updated: Sep 25, 2022
Writes Ciaran Dineen
A 58th-minute goal from Colm Casey proved to be the decisive moment in the Premier Intermediate Hurling Championship clash between Ballinhassig and Inniscarra, with the Blues falling at the semi-final hurdle once again in this year’s campaign.
Last year, the Village suffered a narrow defeat to Castlelyons in the semi-finals, and nine of the starting team who started the contest in Cloughduv on Saturday evening were once more devastated not to progress to the final.
Although the Blues were two points up with 56 minutes on the clock, a goal from Colm Casey, who reacted first to the ball coming off the bar, proved to be a sucker punch that knocked Ballinhassig out of their stride and out of the Championship.
The opening 30 minutes was a very cagey affair. Inniscarra opened the scoring on the day before Pa Collins found his brother Ger with a very clever ball, with the younger of the two scoring a fine point from play. Ballinhassig were playing with a strong breeze in the first half, which at times for both teams was more of a hinderance than a help. However, the gust enabled Pa Collins to point a free from all of 100 yards to put the score at 0-3 apiece after 9 minutes.
Both teams traded scores as the half progressed, with Darragh O’Sullivan, Brian Lynch and Evan Cullinane all getting on the scoresheet. However, the opening period was dominated by one player, and that was Cork Senior hurler, Seán O’Donoghue, who tormented the Ballinhassig defence, scoring five points from play in the first half, putting his side 0-9 to 0-8 up at the break.
The strong breeze did not prove to be a big advantage in the game, with Inniscarra failing to use it to their benefit in the second half. Ballinhassig stuck in the game as the half went on. Conor Desmond came to the fore having had a quiet first half, and scored a fantastic point after good work from Evan Cullinane. With 43 minutes on the clock, the Blues took the lead through a well worked goal, which culminated with a net-burster from Desmond, after going through the hands of both Ger Collins and the replacement substitute, Eddie Finn in the process. 1-10, 0-12, Ballinhassig.
Inniscarra came back and took the lead with a couple of scores but Ger Collins and a long-range free from Pa Collins saw the Blues back ahead, with 49 minutes gone. Ballinhassig emptied their bench by the 50th minute, and perhaps this worked against them in hindsight, considering that the contest went 11 minutes into extra-time, following various stoppages in play.
Conor Desmond became the fifth Ballinhassig freetaker on the day, putting over two placed balls which saw his side go 1-14 to 0-15 ahead. The dreaded two-point scoreline resulted in an inevitable blow though, as Colm Casey reacted first time to an attempted point from Owen McCarthy which came back off the post, giving Inniscarra a 1-15 to 1-14 lead, after 57 minutes.
Although Desmond brought it level with another free, Inniscarra pulled away from their opponents, and went into a three-point lead. Ballinhassig did their very best to manufacture a goal, but they could not find a breakthrough and fell just short.
Scorers for Ballinhassig: C. Desmond 1-5 (0-3 frees), G. Collins and P. Collins (frees) 0-3 each, D. O’Sullivan 0-2 (0-1 free), B. Lynch (free) and E. Cullinane 0-1 each.
Scorers for Inniscarra: O. McCarthy 0-7 (frees), S. O’Donoghue 0-5, C. Casey 1-2, K. Rice 0-2, F. O’Leary and J. Enright 0-1 each.
BALLINHASSIG: P. Collins; P. O’Leary, M. Desmond, J. Reardon; M. Collins, D. O’Donovan, S. McCarthy; E. Lombard, D. O’Sullivan; C. Grainger, C. Desmond, S. O’Neill; E. Cullinane, B. Lynch, G. Collins.
Subs: M. Sheehan for Lynch (ht), F. O’ Leary for O’Neill (42m), E. Finn for O’Sullivan (42m), G. Kirby for Cullinane (46m), K. Maguire for Lombard (50m).
INNISCARRA: J. O’Keefe; C. Lombard, B. O’Mahony, J. O’Sullivan; J. Harrington, L. Ryan, S. Sheehan; J. Enright, S. O’Mahony; C. Casey, S. O’Donoghue, F. O’Leary; D. O’Keeffe, D. O’Connell, O. McCarthy.
Subs: K. Rice for O’Connell (41m), D. Keane for Sullivan (51m), S. Quinlivan for O’Mahony (64m), S. Buckley for Lombard 69m).
Referee: Niall O’Neill (Midleton).