Ballingeary, Castletown in grandstand finish

SOME terrific free-flowing football at Páirc Uí Rinn yesterday, Ballingeary and Castletownbere in a game to savour, one of the best finishes to a final in years failing to produce a winner in an Evening Echo Cork IFC decider that ebbed and flowed throughout.

First Castletownbere thought the Cup was coming home for the first time since 1986 when the inspirational Sean O’Regan pointed in the 58th minute. Then Ballingeary, in their first final at senior level, felt their hands were on the trophy, injury-time points from substitute Eoin Quill and Liam Shorten putting them ahead. But up stepped the outstanding Donagh Wiseman to deservedly save the day for Castletown.

Andy Concannon, with six points, was a huge player for Ballingeary. So too was his uncle, the inspirational Peadar at midfield. His battle with Andrew O’Sullivan was a real treat. In the end a draw was probably a fair result, should be a cracking replay.

Ballingeary opened in determined fashion and Andy Concannon pointed them ahead with a fourth minute free. Soon afterwards they were denied goal chances and Castletown took full advantage when Andrew O’Sullivan tied up the scores in the eighth minute.

There was some great movement on and off the ball, the all Lynch Ballingeary full-back line of Cathal, Amhlaoibh and Flor always willing to raid. But the sides were still level after the opening quarter, 0-2 apiece, Concannon pointing his second free and Sean O’Regan, who had a terrific game, doing likewise for Castletown.

Andy Concannon was proving a big player for Ballingeary and his fabulous 16th minute point put his side ahead again. But they were lucky in the 18th minute when goalkeeper Sean Concannon failed to hold Sean O’Regan’s shot, but Seamus Spencer couldn’t apply the finish.

Peadar Concannon was having a great duel with O’Sullivan at midfield and with Donagh Wiseman having a super game at centre-back, Castletown, with the strong wind at their backs, had the better of the second quarter. Despite Shorten stretching Ballingeary’s lead with a free, Castletown had plenty of chances. Alan O’Regan and O’Sullivan should have done better, but they finished the half in style — Sean O’Regan pointed a gem, corner-back Trevor Collins had another and then O’Sullivan had his second to power Castletown to a 0-5 to 0-4 interval lead.

Now with the wind at their backs, Andy Concannon showed what an asset he is to Ballingeary with two fabulous free conversions, one from the left touchline. But they were lucky in the 41st minute when Sean O’Regan put Ciarán Murphy through, goalkeeper Sean Concannon denying the wing back with a fine save. Not even the point of the match in the 44th minute, a huge sideline effort from Concannon. could inspire a Ballingeary lead entering the final quarter, smashing efforts from Sean O’Regan and O’Sullivan levelling the scores at 0-7 apiece.

No shortage of effort in the final quarter — Flor Lynch and Peadar Concannon outstanding for Ballingeary and the two Wisemans and Sean O’Regan in top form for Castletown. There was some great movement, all out effort, but not a score in sight until that grandstand finale, Wiseman earning his side another day out.

Scorers: Ballingeary: A. Concannon 0-6 (0-4 frees, 0-1 sideline), L. Shorten 0-2 (0-1 free), E. Quill 0-1. Castletownbere: A. O’Sullivan, S. O’Regan (0-1 free) 0-3 each, T. Collins, B. O’Regan, D. Wiseman 0-1 each.

BALLINGEARY: S. Concannon; C. Lynch, A. Lynch, F. Lynch; N. Twomey, D. McCarthy, B. Concannon; P. Concannon, L. Concannon; C. Twomey, S. Twomey, P. Buckley; L. Shorten, A. Concannon, C. Lehane.

Subs: E. Quill for C. Twomey. C. Twomey for S. Twomey.

CASTLETOWNBERE: J. P. Sheehan; D. Kelly, E. Wiseman, T. Collins; D. O’Sullivan, D. Wiseman, C. Murphy; A. O’Sullivan, B. O’Regan; L. Harrington, P; Harrington, S. O’Regan; D. Nolan, A. O’Regan, S. Spencer.

Subs: R. Minihane or Spencer. A. Harrington for Nolan, C. O’Sullivan for L. Harrington.

Referee: J. Kearney (Na Piarsaigh).

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