DESPITE not scoring in the second-half, Carrigtwohill just held on to edge out Ballinhassig in the Cork SHC at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday evening.
Leading by 1-13 to 0-5 at half-time after a brilliant exhibition of attacking play, Carrig looked set to win at their ease.
However, a resurgent Ballinhassig found some rhythm and put their opponents under great pressure.
That the Carrigdhoun side did not manage to complete what would have been an excellent comeback was down to wasting very scoreable second-half chances, and two brilliant saves from Carrigtwohill goalkeeper William McCarthy, both from sub Darren Dineen.
Paul O’Sullivan and Dineen had been introduced at half-time to bolster an attack that laboured in the absence of the injured Fintan O’Leary, and an improvement in that sector, as well as their half-back assuming superiority, led to the second period fightback.
Daniel O’Callaghan and Declan O’Sullivan were the scorers-in-chief as Ballinhassig began to eat into the lead, Carrig getting sloppy and complacent at first and then unable to rediscover the intensity that had put them in such a strong position.
An illustration of their growing frustration was evident as Niall McCarthy grappled on the ground with Brendan Lombard, an incident which saw both booked.
Darren Dineen’s chances for Ballinhassig, in the 42nd and 52nd minutes, were both goalbound and needed outstanding saves from McCarthy, O’Callaghan billowing the side-netting with his follow-up after the second one.
The score was 1-13 to 0-9 at that stage and Carrig were still not in too much danger. But two long-range efforts from O’Sullivan and then three in-a-row by O’Callaghan meant there were just two points between the teams as the game moved into injury-time.
All the while, Carrig were wasting chances to make the game safe, their first-half directness gone, but when Ballinhassig launched one last ball into the goalmouth, it was Carrig midfielder Colm O’Connell who emerged with the ball.
O’Connell was one of his side’s better performers over the hour, and while they are safely in round four, they will have to examine why their attack short-wired in the second-half.
Earlier, the full-forward line of Robert White, Niall McCarthy and Mickey ‘Da’ Fitzgerald were scoring for fun, White notching the goal in the 16th minute when he bundled the ball home after a great Martin Coleman save from McCarthy.
That made it 1-9 to 0-3 and with Noel Furlong and Tomas Hogan excelling, Carrig were cruising. Such was the gravity of Ballinhassig’s situation that keeper Coleman came up to take two 20m frees, hitting the post with one and seeing the other deflected over the bar, and with the 11-point deficit at half-time, their cause looked lost.
It was eventually, but not without a fight.
Scorers for Carrigtwohill: R White 1-4, M Fitzgerald 0-5, N McCarthy 0-2, B Lordan, T Hogan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Ballinhassig: D O’Callaghan 0-6 (0-3f), D O’Sullivan 0-4 (0-2f), S McCarthy, S Dineen, B Holland, M Coleman (f) 0-1 each.
CARRIGTWOHILL: W McCarthy; P O’Sullivan, A Garde, M Foley; C O’Connell, N Furlong, M O’Riordan; D O’Mahony, P Hogan; T Hogan, B Lordan, S Kidney; R White, N McCarthy, M Fitzgerald. Sub: A Gosnell for P Hogan (inj) (25).
BALLINHASSIG: M Coleman; B Coleman, D Healy, E Finn; B O’Sullivan, B Lombard, P Coomey; S McCarthy, D O’Sullivan; M Sheehan, S Dineen, D O’Donovan; B Holland, D O’Callaghan, M Collins. Subs: P O’Sullivan for M Collins, D Dineen for O’Donovan (both ht).
Referee: John Sexton (Ballyhea).