O’Donovan Rossa 1-5
TOM LYONS REPORTS
A LATE opportunistic goal by Thomas Hegarty rescued a draw for O’Donovan Rossa in this entertaining Kelleher Shield tie in Rossa Park.
In cold conditions on the newly-laid pitch, the reigning league champions Ballincollig looked to have done just enough to take their second pair of points in the league, having beaten Valley Rovers first time out, when they led by three points with three minutes remaining.
However, one moment of direct football from Rossa ensured a share of the spoils when Dónal Óg Hodnett’s quick ball into the Ballincollig goal area was won by full forward Colin Crowley, whose stinging shot was brilliantly parried by outstanding Ballincollig goalkeeper Shane Hogan.
However, centre forward Hegarty, won the race for the breaking ball to tap into the net for an unlikely equalising goal, with no further score being registered before the final whistle.
Both sides lined out without a number of regulars and it was the mid-Cork men, playing with the breeze, who looked the better side in the opening quarter. With the strong Seán Kiely and Ciarán O’Sullivan dominating the midfield area, they applied a lot of pressure on the Rossa defence.
Veteran Pa Kelly was the conductor in attack, with Robert Noonan and Kevin Browne very prominent as Ballincollig landed four points in the opening 20 minutes from Kelly (free), Luke Fahy and Browne (two).
But for the fine defending by Jerry Keohane, Seán Fitzgerald and, especially, flying wing back Mark Collins, Skibb would have found themselves much further in arrears.
The homesters began to find their feet in the second quarter with Dónal Óg Hodnett and Colm Fitzgerald coming to grips at midfield and Thomas Hegarty, Dylan Hourihane, Daniel Hazel and Eoin O’Connell looking lively in attack. Points from Hodnett, Hourihane and the hard-working Crowley had the deficit down to a single point by half-time, 0-4 to 0-3.
The breeze had died in the third quarter but expectations that Rossa would push on were not fulfilled as Ballincollig restarted well with points from Owen O’Reilly and Pa Kelly (free) to again open a three-point gap.
Rossa responded well but scores from play were at a premium. Two pointed frees from Hodnett closed the deficit to the minimum by the end of the third quarter, 0-6 to 0-5, as Rossa seemed to be driving on for victory.
But two white flags by Kelly (free) and Kiely had the visitors three to the good and looking likely winners until Hodnett decided to take the direct route in the 57th minute and Hegarty did the needful with a green flag. In the end, the battling Rossa men deserved their share of the spoils as Ballincollig, who had led from the third minute, wondered how they had let this one slip from their grasp.
O’Donovan Rossa: Thomas Hegarty 1-0, Donal Óg Hodnett 0-3(f), Colin Crowley, Dylan Hourihane 0-1 each.
Ballincollig: Pa Kelly 0-3(f), Kevin Browne 0-2, Luke Fahy, Owen O’Reilly, Seán Kiely 0-1 each.
O’Donovan Rossa: Jonathan Davis; Conor Long, Eoin Fitzgerald, Jerry Keohane; Mark Collins, Paudie Crowley, Seán Fitzgerald; Donal Óg Hodnett, Colm Fitzgerald; Seán Carmody, Thomas Hegarty, Daniel Hazel; Eoin O’Connell, Colin Crowley, Dylan Hourihane.
Subs: Jack Cowap for Seán Fitzgerald (40), Eoin Hodnett for Carmody (48), Dylan O’Donovan for O’Connell (52), Shane O’Driscoll for Long (58).
Ballincollig: Shane Hogan; Colin Moore, Gearóid O’Donoghue, Shane Murphy; Luke Fahy, JP Murphy, Robbie Burke; Ciarán O’Sullivan, Seán Kiely; Kevin Crowley, Robert Noonan, Kevin Browne; Colin Weste, Pa Kelly, Owen O’Reilly.
Subs: Stephen Coughlan for Weste (20), Peter O’Neill for Noonan (half-time), Alan O’Donovan for O’Reilly (50).
Referee: Joe Crowley (Randal Óg).