Sport

Brilliant Bal dethrone champs

August 27th, 2017 4:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

Red alert: Ballinascarthy's Cillian Cullinane breaks past Kilbree's Ógie Scannell.

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Bal boss praises troops after qualifying for first South West JAHC final since 2001


Ballinascarthy 0-15                                        

Kilbree 1-11

JOHN MURPHY REPORTS


NEW junior hurling kings will be crowned in the South West this season after Ballinascarthy dethroned champions Kilbree.

Bal are through to their first South West JAHC final since 2001 after they saw off the Blues by a single point in this RCM Tarmacadam semi-final at Dunmanway last Friday night, thanks to Ben Murray's dramatic late winning point.

Little wonder that delighted manager Brendan O'Driscoll was lavish in praise of the performance his young charges had turned in.

‘I'm absolutely thrilled for the lads,' he said.

‘There is a bunch there that has displayed plenty hurling skills.

 ‘People have questioned their heart at times in this campaign – but I wonder will they question it after tonight? 

‘We conceded a penalty, were a point down with three minutes remaining, yet came back and won the game. 

‘They did the same against Mathúnas, and when questions were asked of them late in the quarter-final they answered them.'

The bonus for qualifying for the South West final is that it means automatic entry to the new Cork county competition, but O'Driscoll was quick to point out that was for another day, nothing had been won yet and Clonakilty would pose a major threat in the Carbery showdown.

‘Clonakilty will be a huge threat, they are experienced and have the quality hurlers, too,' the Bal boss said.

‘We will be underdogs in the final, but tonight we won all the dirty ball in many sections of the field, made most of the right decisions under severe pressure from a quality side like Kilbree. We salute them, they were worthy champions, we hope to emulate their success in the final. If we play like tonight we will give a good account of ourselves.'

Early in the opening half champions Kilbree, aided by the stiff breeze, laid down a marker that they would not be easily stripped of their crown.

 After the impressive Cillian Cullinane had got Ballinascarthy off the mark in the opening minute, following good approach play by Daniel Nyhan, it was downhill for the winners for much of the opening quarter.

By the 11th minute the Rossmore-based side were 0-5 to 0-1 to the good, delightful points by Dylan Coffey (2), leading scorer Don McCarthy, Darragh Coakley and midfielder Ray Collins all splitting the posts, and this quartet along with Ógie Scannell, Brian O'Donovan and John Clancy were causing problems for Ballinascarthy.

Slowly but surely Ballinascarthy began to get to grips with the situation, the ploy of using Ricky O'Flynn as an extra defender working well. 

With Eamonn O'Flynn confident between the posts, JC O'Flynn, Chris Ryan, Eoin O'Brien, Luke Murray, Aidan O'Donovan and Colin Crowley going about their defensive duties diligently, the unerring marksmanship of midfielder Jeremy Ryan was a huge bonus, as he clocked up frees in the 18th and 24th minutes, adding a peach of a point from play deep in the opening half. 

Hurling neatly and constructively too were Cillian Cullinane and Daniel Nyhan who completed the winner's opening-half tally of six points.

Kilbree found the range courtesy of points by Don McCarthy (free), two well-struck scores from Darragh Coakley and Brian Keohane to lead at the short whistle, 0-9 to 0-6, the odds looking that the champions would still prevail. 

On resuming, Cillian Cullinane cut the deficit in the 31st minute. 

Noticeably the Ballinascarthy full-forward line was now storming into the fray, and with Nyhan, Cullinane and Seamus McCarthy together with the continued excellence of Ricky O'Flynn and Jeremy Ryan, Ballinascarthy's star was on the rise. 

Ryan (Bal) and Don McCarthy (Kilbree) were both marksmen supreme, as the sides drew level twice in rapid succession, 0-11 to 0-11 by the 49th minute. 

When Jeremy Ryan put Bal two to the good, they looked to be in the driver's seat, but a 55th minute penalty smashed to the net by Don McCarthy looked to have given the champions some breathing space, 1-11 to 0-13. 

But never-say-die Ballinascarthy stormed up field and Jeremy Ryan again bisected the uprights. It was all level, again.

There was one final twist in the tale. 

Sean Ryan, Daniel Nyhan and Ben Murray combined beautifully as the latter's thundering drive flew over via the crossbar in the 62nd minute to send Ballinascarthy supporters wild with delight as Bal dethroned the champions and qualified for the divisional final.

Next up is a battle with Clon for the Carbery crown.


Scorers

Ballinascarthy: Jeremy Ryan 0-9 (7f), Cillian Cullinane 0-3, Daniel Nyhan, Sean Ryan, Ben Murray 0-1 each.

Kilbree: Don McCarthy 1-4 (3f, 1-0 pen), Dylan Coffey, Darragh Coakley 0-2 each, Ray Collins, Damien O'Gorman, Brian Keohane 0-1 each.


Ballinascarthy: Eamonn O'Flynn; JC O'Flynn, Chris Ryan, Eoin O'Brien; Luke Murray, Aidan O'Donovan, Colin Crowley; Ricky O'Flynn, Jeremy Ryan; Cillian Cullinane, Seamus McCarthy, Daniel Nyhan; Sean Ryan, Mikey Kirby, Ben Murray.

Subs: Daniel O'Brien for Seamus McCarthy (54), Cathal Nyhan for Mikey Kirby (56).

Kilbree: Denis Dullea; Davy O'Donovan, John Clancy, Jonathan Deasy; Ógie Scannell, Brian O'Donovan, Shane O'Donovan; Brian Keohane, Ray Collins; Kevin Keohane, Don McCarthy, Donal McSweeney; Darragh Coakley, Damien O'Gorman, Dylan Coffey.

Subs used: Martin O'Donovan for Donal McSweeney (39), Kevin O'Donovan for Darragh Coakley (53).

Referee: Michael O'Mahony (Kilbrittain).

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