TITLE HOLDERS Ballinhassig overcame a strong challenge from Ballymartle to qualify for the final of the Super Valu South East Junior A Hurling Championship.
Played last night in Ballygarvan, the winners produced a powerful second half display to repel a Ballymartle team that were boosted the victory of their Under 21 team in that final a couple of nights earlier.
Ballinhassig led 1-6 to 0-7 at the interval, but they looked vulnerable as they had played with a strong wind. And with the sides level on three occasions in the opening 12 minutes of the second half it looked like Ballymartle would go on and win as they looked to be in control.
But Ballinhassig showed all their experience and dominated the final quarter with huge displays from Brian and Kevin O’Sullivan, John Crowley, Brendan Holland, Diarmuid Duggan and subs John Mullaney and Michael Walsh.
Ballymartle led for the only time when Michael O’Mahony pointed in the second minute, but points from Kevin and Diarmuid O’Sullivan and a couple from the sharp looking Diarmuid Duggan had them ahead 0-4 to 0-1 after six minutes.
Liam Corry and O’Mahony both pointed to bring Ballymartle back into the game, but when Brendan Holland collected a long clearance and goaled Ballinhassig looked to be in control. However John Coleman (2), O’Mahony and Eoin Allen all had points to leave the half time score 1-6 to 0-7 in favour of the winners.
Sub Walsh had the ball in the Ballymartle net within seconds of the restart when he connected with a long free, but it was disallowed for an infringement. Ballymartle, lucky to escape, took advantage as Coleman and O’Mahony both pointed to level the game.
John Crowley landed a couple of long range points as Ballinhassig fought to hold their title, but Coleman replied with a couple to tie the scores 1-9 to 0-12 after 42 minutes. However Ballinhassig responded magnificently and Diarmuid O’Sullivan ran onto a long ball from Paddy Coleman and he finished to the net to put them three points to the good.
Duggan and Walsh both hit points to extend the lead leaving Ballymartle in need of a goal, but the closest they came was when Seamus O’Connell gained possession and under pressure his kicked effort sailed over the crossbar when a goal looked on.
Ballinhassig finished in style and points from Holland, Duggan and Kevin O’Sullivan left them seven points ahead at the final whistle, while Ballymartle finished with 14 men when Darragh McCarthy was dismissed for a second yellow card. Ballinhassig now face Kinsale in the final.
Scorers for: Ballinhassig: B Holland 1-3, (1f), D Duggan 0-5, K O’Sullivan 0-4 (4f), D O’Sullivan 1-1, J Crowley 0-3, M Walsh 0-1 Ballymartle: J Coleman 0-7 (5f), M O’Mahony 0-4, L Corry 0-2, Eoin Allen 0-1, S O’Connell 0-1, B Dwyer 0-1.
BALLINHASSIG: J Coleman; J Rearden, B O’Sullivan, P O’Leary; J Holland, P Brennan, S Sheehan; J Crowley, K O’Sullivan; B Holland, D O’Sullivan, S Coleman; R Murphy, D Duggan, P Coleman. Subs J Mullaney for R Murphy (27), M Walsh for S Coleman (h/t).
BALLYMARTLE: P Allen; J D O’Callaghan, G Hallissey, B Dwyer; S O’Connell, Evin Allen, J Butler; D O’Leary, L Corry; M O’Mahony, C Sheehan, D McCarthy; J Coleman, Eoin Allen, A Daly. Subs: L Allen for C Sheehan (51), J Dwyer for A Daly (53).
Referee: Nathan Wall (Carrigaline).