With Jack Russell back in charge, the north Cork side were expected to have matters their own way against under-strength Delanys, who were never going to win this game once Ballyhea opened the scoring seconds after the throw-in.
However, Russell won’t be too pleased with his side’s wides tally. Over 60-odd minutes they hit 18, many of them through pure carelessness.
Delanys have a huge discipline problem which must be tackled if they are to stay in the grade. They have quality players in Rory O’Mahony, Ronan Foley, Paul Finnegan, Mark O’Driscoll and Kevin Foley but lack of penetration in attack cost them dearly.
Ballyhea were without their county player Neil Ronan but Maurice O’Sullivan with 1-3, Barry Coleman and Owen O’Sullivan stepped up to the mark.
Eamon Morrissey’s point gave Ballyhea the lead after just 15 seconds and they led 0-6 to nil at the end of the first quarter.
Delanys eventually got on the score sheet with an Eoin Cullinane point, But Ballyhea hit three without reply to go in at the break 0-10 to 0-3 ahead.
A Kevin Foley point just after the resumption raised Delanys’ hopes but they were quickly back on the defensive as Ballyhea grabbed the game’s only goal. A long free by Jonathan O’Sullivan found the unmarked Maurice O’Sullivan who first-timed the sliotar to the net.
Despite losing Conor Foley for a second yellow-card offence Delanys hit over three points in a row. But after adding 10 further wides, Ballyhea finished strongly, taking a point from a penalty to run out deserving winners.
Scores for Ballyhea: M O’Sullivan 1-3 (0-2 frees); B Coleman 0-3 (0-2 65s, 0-1 free); A Crowley, L O’Connor 0-2 each; E Morrissey, J O’Sullivan, G Morrissey, I Ronan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Delanys: K Foley 0-3 (0-1 free); E Cullinane, P Finnegan (frees) 0-2 each; M McElhinney (free), C Foley, M O’Driscoll 0-1 each.
BALLYHEA: D O’Riordan; O O’Sullivan, S Dennehy, H O’Leary; T O’Sullivan, B Coleman, M Morrissey; L O’Connor, A Crowley; I Curtin, E Morrissey, J O’Sullivan; I Ronan, M O’Sullivan, G Morissey.
Subs: S Curtin for T O’Sullivan; A O’Connor for I Curtin.
DELANYS: G Maher; G Spriggs, R O’Mahony, K O’Sullivan; T Kiely, P Finnegan, R Foley; K Foley, C Foley; P O’Connell, M O’Driscoll, G Quinlan; P Blake, M McElhinney, E Cullinane.
Referee: C Lane (Banteer).