A last minute Colin O’Donovan goal added some respectability to the score line in this U21 A hurling quarter-final at Cloughduv on Wednesday but Ballincollig knew it was nothing more than consolation score with a superior Aghabullogue side progressing to the semi-finals.
Centre-forward John Corkery and midfielder Mark O’Flynn were the two standout players for Aghabullogue. The pair were responsible for all but two of their side’s 1-15 tally with O’Flynn converting nine frees.
A magnificent Corkery goal just before halftime finally handed Aghabullogue the lead their dominance deserved as they took a 1-8 to 0-6 advantage into the second half.
Ballincollig had done well to stay in touch in the opening half given the pressure they had absorbed.
Despite an outstanding showing from wing back Brian O’Halloran, they couldn’t produce the kind of intensity required for a dramatic second half comeback and successful O’Flynn frees maintained Aghabullogue’s cushion.
It took Corkery just thirty seconds to stamp his authority on the game, hitting a fine point from the left wing to open Aghabullogue’s account with O’Flynn doubling the lead three minutes later.
Seán Kiely and Colin O’Donovan were Ballincollig’s most effective performers in the opening stages and Kiely set up Cian Dorgan for their opening score before O’Donovan levelled the sides with a huge point.
Aghabullogue increased the tempo and two more O’Flynn frees reclaimed their lead but Ballincollig stayed in touch through O’Donovan and Dorgan.
Despite dictating play, Aghabullogue were just a point up when Corkery raced through the Ballincollig defence and arrowed a shot into the bottom corner.
Kiely and O’Halloran came into the contest more in the second half as Ballincollig had to chase the game but for every score they mustered Aghabulloghe found a reply.
It was just a matter of closing out the remainder for Aghabullogue and five minutes of injury time had elapsed before O’Donvan struck the consolation goal with virtually the last puck of the game.
Scorers for Aghabullogue: M O’Flynn 0-10 (9f), J Corkery 1-3, N Donovan and M O’Sullivan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Ballincollig: C O’Donovan 1-2, C Dorgan 0-5 (3f), S Coughlan, C Collins and S Bunyan 0-1 each.
AGHABULLOGUE: M Dennehy; J Lynch; D Healy; A Corkery; S O’Sullivan; A Hogan; A O’Sullivan; M O’Flynn; S Dennehy; P O’Sullivan; J Corkery; P Fitzpatrick; C Barrett; N Donovan; M O’Sullivan.
Subs: M Long for Fitzpatrick (ht), E O’Sullivan for P O’Sullivan (46), R Dennehy for N Donovan (58), S Kelleher for Corkery (58).
BALLINCOLLIG: R Cambridge; C McCarthy; B O’Connor, K O’Sullivan; B O’Halloran; M Prendergast; D McDonnell; S Kiely; S Murphy; S Coughlan; C Collins; C Dorgan; J Murphy; C O’Donovan; J Cooper.
Subs: E O’Donoghue for J Murphy (ht), T Murphy for E O’Donoghue (60+1).
Referee: J Horgan (Gleann na Laoi).