O’DONOVAN ROSSA 0-12
Ger McCarthy Reports
O’DONOVAN Rossa captain Donal Óg Hodnett held his nerve to score two injury-time frees as his side edged Ballincollig in the opening round of the Cork senior football championship following a titanic contest at Ballinascarthy.
Level nine times, the Carbery club made better use of a strong wind during a low scoring second period to take their place in the next round of the championship.
As for Ballincollig, a shark-infested losers round awaits with the likes of Castlehaven and Carbery Rangers amongst their possible opponents. The 2014 county champions will point to Luke Fahy’s 40th minute red card as the game’s turning point but in truth, managing just a single point in the entire second half proved their undoing.
‘We have just been thinking and approaching it game by game and winning was the only goal for us coming here today,’ O’Donovan Rossa manager Martin Bohane said.
‘The Carrigaline (preliminary round) game, we weren’t really happy with it despite winning by seven or eight points in the end. Today, the lads answered all the questions that were asked of them. We had to dig deep in the second half and I know they were a man down but that is still a good Ballincollig team.
‘We took nothing for granted and were well shaped, well organised, patient and got the result in the end.’
Playing with the benefit of a strong wind in the first half, Ballincollig opened the scoring courtesy of a Cian Dorgan free.
An afternoon in which both teams didn’t shirk a tackle and handed out plenty of meaty challenges saw Rossa’s Dylan Hourihane black carded inside three minutes.
Skibbereen recovered quickly and Mark Collins got his side on the board prior to Cian Kiely restoring Ballincollig’s advantage.
The remainder of an entertaining opening quarter saw each side rack up impressive scores with Kevin Davis finding his range from frees and Thomas Hegarty making it 0-5 to 0-4 in Rossas favour after 15 minutes.
Then, the West Cork club’s opponents began to attack from deep and use the elements to their advantage as corner forward Darren Murphy kicked over three consecutive scores. Kevin Davis kept Skibb in touch from placed balls as did Elliot Connolly who used his pace to good effect throughout an impressive display and made it 0-8 to 0-7 after 28 minutes.
Ballincollig finished the half strongly however as Sean Kiely and Darren Murphy efforts made it 0-9 to 0-8 in the Muskerry club’s favour at the break.
Disappointingly, the free-flowing nature of the opening half failed to match that of the second. A scrappy third quarter produced one white flag from Kevin Browne but amazingly, that would be the eventual losers’ final score.
Goalkeepers Ciarán Noonan and Ryan Price prevented goals at either end prior to Luke Fahy tangling with Elliot Connolly along the side-line and receiving a red card from the referee with 20 minutes remaining.
That forced Ballincollig into defensive mode and the introduction of Patrick Kelly from the bench.
But it was O’Donovan Rossa who capitalised on persistent fouling to draw level when Kevin Davis scored another free and Elliot Connolly fisted over the bar.
0-10 apiece and into injury-time, each team wasted straightforward scoring chances before Rossas forced a turnover and worked the ball to the opposite end. Another foul presented Donal Óg Hodnett with a free which the Skibbereen player easily converted after the ball was brought forward for dissent.
Hodnett sealed Rossa’s path to the next round from another free shortly after.
O’Donovan Rossa: Kevin Davis 0-5 (5f), Donal Óg Hodnett (2f), Mark Collins, Elliot Connolly 0-2 each, Thomas Hegarty 0-1.
Ballincollig: Darren Murphy 0-5, Cian Kiely 0-2, Cian Dorgan (1f), Sean Kiely, Kevin Browne 0-1 each.
O’Donovan Rossa: Ryan Price; John O’Sullivan, Sean Fitzgerald, Dylan O’Donovan; Daniel Hazel, Padraig Crowley, Eoin Fitzgerald; Rory Byrne, Colm Fitzgerald; Mark Collins, Dylan Hourihane, Thomas Hegarty; Kevin Davis, Donal Óg Hodnett (captain), Elliot Connolly.
Subs: Kevin Hurley for D Hourihane (3, black card), Eoghan O’Connell for K Hurley (33, inj), Shane O’Driscoll for C Fitzgerald (39, inj), Colin Crowley for K Davis (55, inj).
Ballincollig: Ciarán Noonan; Colin Moore, Liam Jennings (captain), Shane Murphy; JP Murphy, Stephen O’Donoghue, Luke Fahy; Sean Kiely, Cian Kiely; Kevin Browne, Peter O’Neill, Killian Coleman; Robert Noonan, Cian Dorgan, Darren Murphy.
Subs: Colm O’Connell for S Murphy (23, inj), Robbie Burke for JP Murphy (27, blood), JP Murphy for R Burke (29, blood), Robbie Burke for S O’Donoghue (30, inj), Patrick Kelly for K Browne (52).
Referee Patrick O’Driscoll (Bride Rovers).