MATTHEW HURLEY REPORTS
THIS WAS a real championship tie but it was Ballinascarthy who won the Bandon Co-op Carbery JAFC battle after a gutsy second-half display on a calm evening in Newcestown.
After Carbery Rangers’ win over Newcestown the previous day, Kilbrittain had to win this one to stay in the football championship; Bal needed to avoid defeat to top Roinn 2.
The Pedlars’ Cross men started well with talisman Cillian Cullinane opening the scoring after a driving run. Kilbrittain started enjoying the better of the possession in the first five minutes and got one back through Josh O’Donovan.
Then came one of a few big moments in an intense encounter. The Black and Amber’s Sam Shorten had his goal-bound effort saved brilliantly by Tadhg O’Neill. Twenty-five seconds later, the ball was in the back of the net, but at the other end. A swift move by Ballinascarthy saw Colm O’Brien on the end of it before the corner forward placed it home past Eoghan McCarthy.
McCarthy then saved expertly from Conall Cullinane to keep Kilbrittain in it, however Sean Ryan made sure Bal got a score out of the attack. Bertie Butler of Kilbrittain and Brian O’Donovan of Ballinascarthy traded points before the Black and Amber’s goal finally came.
Good work by Aaron Holland along the sideline allowed space for Butler who roofed it into the back of the net, reducing the gap to 1-3 to 1-2 after 18 minutes.
Eoghan Ferguson stemmed the tide for Bal with a superb point with the outside of his boot but that proved to be Bal’s last score of the opening half. Kilbrittain scored three unanswered points from Conor Ustianowski, Conor Hogan and Josh O’Donovan to go into the dressing rooms 1-5 to 1-4 to the good.
Bal needed to bite back in the second half to keep their unbeaten group record going and to be fair to them, they did. Ferguson claimed his second point of the evening less than a minute into the second spell to level proceedings for the third time.
Bal were then awarded a penalty after O’Donovan was halted running to goal on 40 minutes. The corner forward stepped up to take it but Kilbrittain goalkeeper McCarthy made a strong save to his left. Bal did squeak in front a minute later however through the boot of Pádraic Cullinane. Cillian Cullinane then pointed a free to give Bal a two-point advantage before another big moment in the match.
With just over ten minutes to go, Kilbrittain’s Butler and Bal’s Ferguson were involved in an altercation while the Black and Amber were on the attack. Butler was given a straight red card for his troubles while Ferguson was issued a black card.
Cillian Cullinane and Colm O’Brien finished off Bal’s impressive second half display with further scores to increase the gap to four, 1-9 to 1-5, with seven minutes left. Kilbrittain, to their credit, kept fighting and Ustianowski got what turned out to be a consolation score as Barry Hanrahan’s side closed out the game.
Our Star: Colm O’Brien with 1-1 was a livewire for Bal while Kilbrittain’s Bertie Butler proved a handful while on the pitch but Bal midfielder Sean Ryan got the nod after winning the aerial battle.
Ballinascarthy: Colm O’Brien 1-1, Cillian Cullinane 0-3 (2f), Eoghan Ferguson 0-2, Seán Ryan, Brian O’Donovan (f), Pádraic Cullinane 0-1 each.
Kilbrittain: Bertie Butler 1-1; Conor Ustianowski, Josh O’Donovan 0-2 each, Conor Hogan 0-1f.
Ballinascarthy: Tadhg O’Neill; Ruairí O’Brien, Ciarán O’Neill, Dan Twomey; Gearóid O’Leary, Ciarán Nyhan, Daniel O’Brien; Seán Ryan, Cathal Nyhan; Conall Cullinane, Cillian Cullinane, Eoghan Ferguson; Brian O’Donovan, Pádraic Cullinane, Colm O’Brien.
Subs: Dean Harte for Cillian Cullinane (9, blood), Ricky O’Flynn for Cathal Nyhan (52).
Kilbrittain: Eoghan McCarthy; Sam Dewey, Ivan Burke, Eoin O’Neill; Colm Sheehan, Eoghan Byrnes, Philip Wall; Seán Sexton, Bertie Butler; Thomas Sheehan, Aaron Holland, Conor Hogan; Conor Ustianowski, Sam Shorten, Josh O’Donovan.
Subs: James Hurley for Byrnes (half-time), Maurice Sexton for Shorten (39), Mark Hickey for Hogan (44), Fionn Ustianowski for Holland (58).
Referee: Shane Scanlon (Newcestown).