JOHN MURPHY REPORTS
BALLINASCARTHY qualified for the quarter-finals of the Bandon Co-op JAFC, emerging unbeaten from Group 3 after an eight-point victory over a determined Kilbrittain at Timoleague.
This was always going to be one of the most crucial games in the group. Not alone were bragging rights at stake in a local derby, but had Kilbrittain won they would have been right back in the equation, while a draw would have sufficed for Ballinascarthy.
Credit the Seasiders for taking this joust down to the wire, but it was Ballinascarthy’s second-half scoring bonanza that made the difference. They outscored their opponents by 0-12 to 0-6 in that period.
‘We showed a far greater degree of consistency in the closing half and the scores duly followed. Overall, the bottom line is we are in the quarter-final, unbeaten to date and very pleased with this result,’ said Ballinascarthy selector Stephen Ferguson.
The sides were level at the opening water break, Bal’s points coming from Sean Ryan and a rocket from the enterprising Luke Murray, while it was Ryan Lombard and free-taker Sam Shorten on target for Kilbrittain.
In fact, a degree of prodigality in front of goal was costing Bal. Superb build-up play from Ciarán Nyhan, Luke Murray, Daniel Twomey, Ciarán O’Neill, Conall Cullinane and Cillian was spoiled to a degree by erratic shooting. Kilbrittain, with far less possession, had workmanlike performances by Sean Crowley, Shorten, Ryan Lombard, Darragh Considine, Conor Ustianowski and Charlie Kenny, ensuring that just two points separated the sides at the short whistle, 0-6 to 0-4. A brace by the productive Shorten was negated by Damien Lyons, two beauties from the outstanding Cillian Cullinane and a lovely point by Sean Ryan.
On resuming Bal now had Eoghan Ferguson in the middle of the park partnering Ciarán Nyhan, and the former won a lot of ball while scoring a crucial point. Conor Ustianowski had the Seasiders up and running on resuming.
Unerring from placed balls, Cillian Cullinane was now a major playmaker while Conall Cullinane, Murray, Ferguson and Ciarán O’Neill were running at Kilbrittain at every opportunity. Steadily the Bal lead built-up, as Conall Cullinane, Andrew O’Leary and Cillian got on the scoresheet. By the 50th minute the score read 0-15 to 0-8. Kilbrittain went down fighting but to no avail as Bal emptied the bench en route to a deserved quarter-final place. An unblemished record to date ample reward for a competent performance.
Scorers - Ballinascarthy: Cillian Cullinane 0-8 (6f); Sean Ryan 0-3 (1m); Conall Cullinane 0-2; Andrew O’Leary, Luke Murray, Daniel Twomey, Damien Lyons, Eoghan Ferguson 0-1 each. Kilbrittain: Sam Shorten 0-5 (3f); Ryan Lombard 0-3; Charlie Kenny, Conor Ustianowski 0-1 each.
Ballinascarthy: Cian Ryan; Andrew O’Leary, Gearóid O’Leary, James O’Brien; Dan Twomey, Luke Murray, Daniel O’Brien; Ciarán Nyhan, Ciarán O’Neill; Eoghan Ferguson, Cillian Cullinane, Dean Harte; Damien Lyons, Sean Ryan, Conall Cullinane. Subs: Aaron Ryan for Dean Harte (46), Colm O’Brien for Damien Lyons (48), Rory O’Brien for Daniel O’Brien (50), Cathal Nyhan for Ciarán Nyhan (57), James Lynam for Andrew O’Leary (58).
Kilbrittain: Mikolag Kalitka; Charlie Kenny, Sean Crowley, Darragh Considine; Eoghan Byrne, Eoin O’Neill, Patrick O’Mahony; Conor Ustianowski, Ryan Lombard; Oisín Dewey, Sam Shorten, Conor O’Donovan; Kieran Murphy, Mark O’Shea, Declan Harrington. Subs: Seamus O’Sullivan for Conor O’Donovan (51), Darragh Hayes for Kieran Murphy (52), Dylan Twohig for Patrick O’Mahony (52), Aaron Fehily for Declan Harrington (53).
Referee: Alan Long (Argideen Rangers).