JJ HURLEY REPORTS
A COMPREHENSIVE victory by Ballinhassig over Ballincollig at Ballynaw on Saturday should propel the Carrigdhoun side to the next stage of the Premier Intermediate Hurling championship.
Played on a warm afternoon, the resulting heat seemed to lead to frayed tempers on the field as Ballincollig's David Bowen and Ballinhassig's Michael Desmond saw red cards in the opening five minutes in two separate incidents.
However, referee Pat Lyons brought order to bear on proceedings early on as he lowered the temperature on a game that had threatened to boil over for the remaining 55 minutes.
The game started with Ballinhassig opening the scoring as Darragh O'Sullivan landed a point, followed almost immediately by Evan Cullinane, who lifted a sideline cut straight over the bar.
Followed by the interlude of the dismissals, Patrick Collins, who had a very assured game between the posts, landed a free from distance.
Ballincollig struggled to make any inroads into the Ballinhassig defence, but Ross O'Donovan continued to work diligently at centre field to keep his side in the tie.
Ballinhassig secured another score from Cullinane as he split the post with another line ball on 11 minutes.
It was 17 minutes before Ballincollig finally registered a point, thanks to a neat exchange between Brian Keating and Tadhg O'Connell.
O'Connell was then on target a minute later, with a free, as the score read 0-04 to 0-02 after 19 minutes.
Ballinhassig responded with four unanswered points as Conor Desmond landed three points (1f, 1 ‘65), and Cullinane scored from play.
It could have been far worse for the Muskerry side had not Ross O'Donovan intervened to prevent a certain goal on 25 minutes, before a free from Keating and Paul Cooney had the score at 0-8 to 0-4.
However, Desmond's deadly accuracy snuffed out any mini-revival as another score from Cullinane had the Blues on 11 points as the town added another point to their first-half tally of five points.
Expecting a Ballincollig charge early in the second half, Collins was called upon to make a save from Cian O'Driscoll as the underdogs searched for a goal.
The Carrigdhoun outfit continued to press ahead as Brian Lynch secured his first of three points before unleashing Cillian Tyers to lash the sliotar to the Ballincollig net.
Despite the gulf between the two sides, Brian Keating worked hard to keep his side in the game and was rewarded with a goal from a free-on 45 minutes.
Earlier, he had opened his second-half account with a 65 on 33 minutes.
In no mood to give ground, Ballinhassig continued to add points from Cullinane and a spectacular score from Lynch, who was outstanding in the second half.
With Ballincollig dependent on scores from the place ball over the remaining 11 minutes, with a free from Keating and Wills and a ‘65 from Bourke, the game was heading to an inevitable conclusion.
Ballincollig's cause was not helped by allowing Desmond to capitalise on three frees in the remaining ten minutes and a point from second-half substitute Fintan O' Leary, had Ballinhassig seeing out the game by 1-19 to 1-09.
Ballinhassig: C Desmond 0-8 (4 f, 2 ‘65); E Cullinane 0-5 (2 s/l); C Tyers 1-0; B Lynch 0-3; P Collins (f), F O’Leary and D O’Sullivan 0-1 each.
Ballincollig: B Keating 1-4 (1-3f, 1 ‘65); T O’Connell 0-2; A Wills (f), P Cooney and R Bourke 0-1 each.
Ballinhassig: P Collins; P O'Leary, K Maguire, M Desmond; S McCarthy, M Collins, D O'Donovan; E Finn, E Lombard; C Desmond, D O’Sullivan, C Tyers; B Lynch, E Cullinane, C Grainger.
Subs: F O’Leary for C Grainger (49), S O’Neill for E Lombard (49), G Collins for D O’Sullivan (57).
Ballincollig: J Linehan; R O’Donovan, J Murray, C Sexton; C O’Sullivan, B Coleman, F Denny; R O’Donovan, D O’Sullivan; P Cooney, D Bowen, S Wills; B Keating, C O’Driscoll, T O’Connell.
Subs: K Walsh for S Wills (26), A Wills for P Cooney (41), R Cambridge for J Linehan (46), C Kinsella for C O’Driscoll (57).
Referee: Pat Lyons (Bishopstown).