Three consecutive second-half points from industrious corner-forward Stephen Bunnion proved instrumental in getting Ballincollig over the line at CIT in this Rebel Og Premier Minor 2 Hurling Championship game.
The driving rain had stopped by the throw-in of the second game but pitch conditions were still appalling, the surface water especially bad at each goal.
Despite the conditions both sides had impressive performers, both from play and placed balls, Castlelyons Anthony Spillane and Ballincollig’s Cian Dorgan accurate and efficient.
Castlelyons started brightly with two points on the board inside the first five minutes, Ronan Bransfield and Alan Fenton raising the white flags.
Ballincollig took ten minutes to settle but kicked in to the lead with an expertly finished Stephen Coughlan goal.
Spillane levelled matters with a point from play and the sides continued to exchange points to bring parity at 1-4 to 0-7 at the half-time whistle.
Spillane was proving key for Castlelyons at this juncture as was Colin O’Donovan, operating in a roving role for Ballincollig.
The second half saw immense displays from the teak-tough Ballincollig defense, the full back line of Peter O’Neill, Kevin O’Sullivan and Daniel Burns on to every break while half-backs Brian O’Halloran, Mark Prendergast and Dermot McDonnell kept Castlelyons to just two second-half points.
Spillane pointed twice from placed balls but couldn’t get a sight of goal, Castlelyons forcing just one save from Ballincollig keeper Adam Buckley in the second half.
Cian Dorgan and Bunnion’s three consecutive points, one more difficult than the next, edged Ballincollig in front on a scoreline of 1-8 to 0-9 before Coughlan stepped up for his second goal of the game.
Colin O’Donovan’s long-range free allowed Coughlan to break for goal and Coughlan’s effort slipped under the bar and in to the top corner of the Castlelyon’s net from thirty yards.
Aidan O’Donovan put the icing on the cake with a superb point to extend Ballincollig’s lead to 0-6 with time up and afforded Coughlan the chance of a hat-trick when he was pulled down in the square but Coughlan’s effort was shepherded out by Castlelyon’s Jack Barry on full-time.
Scorers for Ballincollig: S Coughlan 2-0, A O’Donovan 0-3, S Bunnion 0-3, C Dorgan 0-3(0-2f)
Castlelyons: A Spillane 0-5 (0-3f), A Fenton 0-2f, R Bransfield 0-2.
BALLINCOLLIG: A Buckley; P O’Neill, K O’Sullivan, D Burns; B O’Halloran, M Prendergast, D McDonnell; C Dorgan, S Murphy; S Coughlan, W Greene, A O’Donovan; S Bunnion, C O’Donovan, E O’Donoghue.
Subs: P Collins for W Greene (46)
CASTLELYONS: J Barry; N Daly, D Varney, D Murphy; C Lawlor, T Carroll, S Fenton; R O’Regan, R Bransfield; S Hickey, S Moroney, M Geary; A Fenton, A Spillane, B O’Donovan.
Sub: C O’Neill for R O’Regan (54, inj)
Referee: K Murphy (Nemo Rangers)