Impossible in the conditions. Pride in the jersey? In abundance, from both sides.
Ballinhassig and Glen Rovers played to a standstill in miserable conditions at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday where not even extra-time could decide this compelling Evening Echo Cork Co SHL decider.
Level at half-time, level at full-time and both ends of extra-time — it was quite a contest, though Ballinhassig will, perhaps, be the sorer for they shot 16 wides to Glen’s eight over the 80 minutes, and missed three great first-half goal chances, a statistic that will probably give them heart for the replay next Saturday.
It was the Glen who struck first, going two points clear via a Patrick Horgan free and Eoghan Cronin from play. The accuracy of Horgan from placed balls continued to keep the Glen in the ascendancy. But they were grateful to goalkeeper David Ellis in the 14th minute for he made a fabulous save to deny Paul O’Sullivan a goal as the Glen led 0-5 to 0-3 after the opening quarter. Twice more Ellis came to the Glen’s rescue in the second quarter but, as the rain teemed down, the rest of the half belonged to Ballinhassig — great points from Coomey and Paul O’Sullivan making it 0-6 apiece at the break.
The Glen still looked the sharper side as points from Conor Doris and another Patrick Horgan free earned them a two-point cushion. Then, before the end of the third quarter, we had a huge dust-up with Glen’s Donal Cronin and Hassig’s Brendan O’Callaghan getting red cards.
Ballinhassig needed to dig deep now but after some more sloppy shooting they finally clicked in the 53rd minute when Paul O’Sullivan goaled to give his side the lead for the first time.. But the Glen are no quitters and terrific points from David Busteed and John Anderson put them ahead again until Darren Dineen’s late free sent the game into extra-time.
The players were hardly overjoyed with that prospect, yet it turned out to be great 20 minutes entertainment for the spectators with both sides getting a standing ovation at the finish. Should be a cracking replay.
Scorers for Ballinhassig: P. O’Sullivan 1-2, D. O’Callaghan (0-2 frees, 0-1 ‘65) and D. Dineen 0-3 (frees) 0-3 each, P. Coomey 0-2, S. McCarthy, S. Dineen, D. Duggan 0-1 each.
Glen Rovers: E. Cronin 1-2, P. Horgan 0-4 (0-3 frees, 0-1 65), G. Callinan and C. Dorris 0-2 each, D. Cronin, D. Busteed, J. Anderson 0-1 each.
M. Coleman; S. McCarthy, B. O’Sullivan, B. Coleman; J. Ahern, B. Lombard, M. Higgins; D. O’Callaghan, S. McCarthy; P. Coomey, S. Dineen, P. Lombard; P. O’Sullivan, F. O’Leary, D. Dineen.
Subs: D. Duggan for P. Lombard (58), D. Brennan (ET to make up 15).
D. Ellis; S. Kennefick, N. Horgan, D. O’Callaghan; B. Moylan, P. O’Brien, J. Anderson; D. Cronin, S. McDonald; P. Horgan, G. Callinan, E. Cronin; C. Dorris, G. Hackett, S. McGrath.
Subs: L. Leahy for Moylan (2), D. Busteed for McGrath (50), K. O’Callaghan for Dorris (50), S. Hegarty for Hackett (53). Dorris (extra-time to make up 15).
J. Sexton (Ballyhea).