Cullinane fires Bal footballers to opening league win

March 19th, 2023 10:30 AM

By Southern Star Team

Ballinascarthy's Cillian Cullinane scored 1-4 against Kilmacabea.

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Ballinascarthy 2-7

Kilmacabea 0-6


TWO teams with ambitions of being at the business end of this year’s Carbery Junior A Football Championship crossed paths at foggy Leap in round one of the Dubliner Cheese Carbery/Beara Division 1 Football League. 

It was the visitors, Ballinascarthy, that garnered the spoils and the points on offer thanks to a late surge in the final six minutes that yielded an unanswered 1-3 to seal victory.

Ballinascarthy are under new management this year and selector Kieran Dineen was glad to get past this stern test, but happy in the knowledge that his side dug deep to contain the determined Kilmacs who always looked threatening in possession.

‘Our work ethic was excellent. Granted, we lost our way during the third quarter, but we regained the initiative in the final minutes and Cillian (Cullinane’s) goal clinched the win,’ Dineen said.

‘We have a very strong defensive spine up the middle from goalkeeper Cian Ryan, Ciarán O’Neill, Ciarán Nyhan and midfielders Seán Ryan and Cathal Nyhan and we needed them as the Kilmacs upped their game bigtime in the second half. However, we stuck to our game plan and we are delighted with the win.’


It was the home side that got the show on the road with delightful scores from midfielder Ian Jennings and the experienced Richard O’Sullivan, operating on the mark, inside the opening ten minutes. Together with the aforementioned duo, Owen Tobin, Donnacha McCarthy, Diarmuid O’Callaghan, Ray Shanahan and Joe Collins were winning good possession and causing problems for a Ballinascarthy side that was somewhat slow to get off the mark.

But Cillian Cullinane (free) steadied the ship after a good foray by the energetic Brian O’Donovan. Then in the 17th minute a great move involving Jeremy Ryan, O’Donovan, Luke Murray and Eoghan Ferguson saw Ciarán Nyhan find the range with a real beauty. It was obvious that given the heavy conditions a goal would be very important. So, it proved as in the 19th minute a superb defence-splitting move saw Dean Harte gain possession and his shot ricocheted off the angle of upright and crossbar for a crucial Bal score.

Undaunted, Richard O’Sullivan gave the perfect reply, but two frees from the boot of the impeccable Cullinane saw the interval read 1-4 to 0-3 in Bal’s favour. 

It was a transformed Kilmacs that resumed, forcing Bal deeper and deeper into defence as they turned on the afterburners. The reward for their endeavours came in the shape of fabulous scores by Eamon Shanahan (free), Joe Collins. When goalkeeper Colin McCarthy made the long trek upfield to split the posts from a free, the margin was down to the bare minimum, 1-4 to 0-6.

Crucially, a few scores went abegging and regaining their composure Ballinascarthy struck for the vital winning scores, despite being held scoreless for 24 minutes of the closing half. Jeremy Ryan fired over a sublime score, Cullinane (free) and a lovely score by Brian O’Donovan made it 1-7 to 0-6 with three minutes remaining. 

Then as injury-time beckoned Cullinane cut in from the left touchline to billow the Kilmac’s net and seal victory.


Scorers - Ballinascarthy: Cillian Cullinane 1-4 (4f); Dean Harte 1-0; Jeremy Ryan, Brian O’Donovan, Ciarán Nyhan 0-1 each. Kilmacabea: Richard O’Sullivan 0-2; Eamon Shanahan (f), Ian Jennings, Joe Collins, Colin McCarthy (f) 0-1 each.

Ballinascarthy: Cian Ryan; Rory O’Brien, Ciarán O’Neill, Eoin O’Brien; Jeremy Ryan, Ciarán Nyhan, James O’Brien; Seán Ryan, Cathal Nyhan; Brian O’Donovan, Cillian Cullinane, Dean Harte; Luke Murray, Eoghan Ferguson, Colm O’Brien. Subs: James Lynam for Rory O’Brien (42), Ricky O’Flynn for Eoghan Ferguson (46), Keith Nyhan for Eoin O’Brien.(55)

Kilmacabea: Colin McCarthy; Mark Jennings, Niall Hayes, Liam Tobin; Jamie Ronan, Diarmuid O’Callaghan, Owen Tobin; Tim Nyhan, Ian Jennings; Ray Shanahan, Donnacha McCarthy, Paudie Gore; Joe Collins, Richard O’Sullivan, Eamon Shanahan. Subs: John Keating, Eoghan O’Donovan, Donie O’Donovan, Adrian Gore, Darragh Tobin (all second half).

Referee: Jack Forbes (Dohenys).

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