Things didn’t look good for the Mid Cork side at half-time after full-back Cathal O’Connor was red-carded as the teams left the field with the sides level. To compound their problems they lost their best forward, Colin O’Shea, to a second yellow card. However, they displayed magnificent commitment to secure the win and push their opponents into a second round tie against Newmarket.
Conditions militated against any decent football, but neither side could be faulted for effort and hard work.
Kiskeam kicked 13 wides to four for Ballinora, yet the best chance of a goal fell to the Mid Cork side in the 10th minute, when Conor Brosnan’s effort was superbly saved by Daniel Cronin. Brosnan saw another effort rebound off the crossbar as his side looked to build a sizeable first half lead playing with the elements.
The teams were level three times in the opening spell and Kiskeam, with midfielders Padraig O’Leary and Eamon Mahony prominent, were happy to turn over level, 0-3 each.
Following the dismissal of O’Connor, Ballinora restructured their side and kept Kiskeam scoreless in that second half.
Centre-forward Brian Aherne led by example and his superb point from a 50 metre free into the wind in the 33rd minute proved the decisive score. With the worsening conditions, both sides were guilty of numerous mistakes but it added to the excitement of the tie as Kiskeam went in search of an equaliser. But time and again they were repelled by the defensive wall of David O’Neill, Neil Collins and Mark Kelleher.
O’Shea was sent to the line with ten minutes remaining and Kiskeam desperately tried to make their extra two men count. But they could find no way through the Ballinora rearguard.
Scorers for Ballinora: B. Aherne (frees), C. O’Shea (0-1 free) 0-2 each.
Scorers for Kiskeam: M. Herlihy 0-2; M. Cronin 0-1.
BALLINORA: O. Walsh; T. Crotty, C. O’Connor, D. O’Neill; M., Kelleher, N. Collins, T. McGrath; G. O’Halloran,. A. O’Neill; C. Brosnan, B. Aherne, I. Wycherley; J. Fitton, C. Murphy, C. O’Shea.
Subs: E. Lucey for Crotty (40); D. O’Neill for Fitton (50).
KISKEAM: D. Cronin; P. Cronin, J. Dennehy, DJ Casey; M. Casey, S. Linehan, AJ O’Connor; P. O’Leary, E. Mahony; D. Linehan, N. Cronin, R. Carroll; M. Herlihy, B. Dennehy, D. Scannell.
Subs: D. Fitzgerald for Carroll (40); G. Casey for B. Dennehy (55).
Referee: D. Power (St. Marys).