The Cork champions’ passage to the All-Ireland Intermediate Hurling Club Championship final was well secured before Glenariffe had three players sent off in as many minutes entering the final quarter. First to go in the 46th minute was red carded left half-forward Paul McDonnell, followed a minute later by his brother Randal for a second yellow card offence and the same fate befell corner forward Seamus Doherty in the 48th minute.
Trailing by 3-9 to 1-6 at this stage, Glenariffe had no hope of victory and Ballinhassig kept their composure to run out convincing winners.
Glengariffe, playing with the advantage of a stiff breeze, got off to a flying start with a superb opportunist goal from left corner-forward Seamus Doherty after just three minutes.
The impressive Darren Dineen got a point back for Ballinhassig before outstanding full-forward Daniel O’Callaghan powered the Cork champions into the lead with a splendid goal in the sixth minute.
With Brendan Lombard performing powerfully at left-halfback, Ballinhassig were rarely troubled after Glenariffe’s initial burst. Right-half forward Johnny Macintosh scored all of his side’s seven points and but for Glenariffe goalkeeper Michael McAlister, it would have been a cakewalk for Ballinhassig. However, Paul O’Sullivan soloed through in injury time before billowing the Glenariffe net with a great strike to leave his side leading by 2-7 to 1-4 at half-time.
Immediately after the resumption Ballinhassig were awarded a penalty when Stephen Dineen had his jersey pulled but goalkeeper Martin Coleman’s conversion attempt was deflected out for a 65 by wingback Randal McDonnell.
However, the inspirational Daniel O’Callaghan sealed Ballinhassig’s triumph with a truly electrifying goal in the 38th minute.
Then followed the minutes of madness that tarnished Glenariffe’s good name and Ballinhassig, three men to the good, simply went through the motions.
: Ballinhassig: D O’Callaghan 2-2, P O’Sullivan 1-0, D Dineen 0-5 (0-4 from frees), F O’Leary 0-2 (0-1 from frees), D O’Sullivan P Lombard 0-1 each. Glenariffe: S Doherty 1-0, J Macintosh 0-7 (0-3 from frees).
: M Coleman, S McCarthy, D Healy, B Coleman, J Aherne, B O’Sullivan, B Lombard, D Brennan, D O’Sullivan, S Dineen, D Dineen, J Mullaney, P O’Sullivan, D O’Callaghan, F O’Leary.
: T Coleman for O’Callaghan, D Duggan for P O’Sullivan, P Lombard for S Dineen, K O’Sullivan for Brennan, G Galvin for McCarthy.
: M McAlister, K Graham, M McKillop, R McDonnell, S Harvey, P McIlwaine, R McDonnell, M Gettens, N Murray, J Macintosh, D McKillop, P McDonnell, A McDonnell, S McDonnell, S Doherty.
: P Sheppard for R McDonnell, C McAlister for A McDonnell.
: A Stapleton (Laois).