Ballingeary narrowly defeated gutsy Aghabullogue in the Cork Co IFC first round.
Match-winner Concannon kicked five points, four beauties from play, as Ballingeary fought off a determined second-half challenge from Aghabullogue in a highly competitive if unspectacular contest.
Aghabullogue, who had the misfortune to see a great angled drive from corner forward John Hogan whistle past the post in the seventh minute, jumped into an early lead with pointed frees from Hogan and Robert O’Keeffe. With their defence, spearheaded by outstanding centre-back Dan Twomey, performing magnificently it took Ballingeary considerable time to find their feet.
But when they did, they did so with a vengeance. Concannon’s first point, followed by another fisted score from team captain Peadar Concannon, had the sides level at the end of the opening quarter and then in the 16th minute they finally succeeded in breaking down the Aghabullogue rearguard when Conor Lehane set up his opposite corner number Liam Seartan for a tremendous goal.
Clearly affected by this setback, Aghabullogue, who failed to score from play in the first half while assisted by a slight wind advantage, began to plumb the depths. With Peadar and Liam Concannon edging matters at midfield and Donal McCarthy, Ninidh Twomey and Barry Concannon forming a resolute half back line, Ballingeary took full advantage of their opponents’ disjointed display to lead 1-4 to 0-4 at half time.
Ballingeary scorned a marvellous opportunity to increase their lead two minutes after the resumption when Aindreas Concannon shot straight at goalkeeper David Moynihan with the net at his mercy.
But Concannon made amends shortly after with a super point and when another from Seartan stretched Ballingeary’s lead to five points, the die looked cast for a struggling Aghabullogue outfit.
Ballingeary maintained their five- points advantage entering the final quarter but staring defeat in the face, Aghabullogue, with midfielders Niall Buckley and Haulie Twomey thundering into the fray, served up a grandstand finish.
They had failed to convert a penalty in the 38th minute when Hogan’s attempt rebounded back off the butt of the upright after Buckley was taken down in the square.
With Ballingeary held scoreless in the last quarter, Aghabullogue finished with a flourish. Rolling forward in relentless waves they narrowed the gap to two with pointed frees from O’Keeffe and another from play by wing forward Eddie Twomey.
Aghabullogue could have salvaged a draw but for a succession of late wides and Ballingeary breathed a huge sigh of relief at the end.
: Ballingeary: L Seartan 1-1; A Concannon 0-5 (0-1 from free); P Concannon 0-1. Aghabullogue: J Hogan 0-3 (0-3 from frees); R O’Keeffe 0-3 (0-3 from frees); D O’Leary and E Twomey 0-1 each.
: S Concannon; C Lynch, A Lynch, F Lynch; D McCarthy, N Twomey, B Concannon; L Concannon, P Concannon; C Twomey, S Twomey, P Buckley; C Lehane, A Concannon, L Seartan.
: D Moynihan; D Murphy, R Tarrant, M O’Brien; B Kiely, Dan Twomey, Donal Twomey; H Twomey, N Buckley; E Twomey, C Lucey, D O’Leary; J Hogan, J Kelleher, R O’Keeffe. Subs: D Buckley for Lucey (injured); O Healy for Kelleher; B Perrott for Twomey (injured).
: R Murphy (Lyre).