Carrigaline got off to a flying start hitting 1-3 without reply — albeit with the wind, but Ballinora put it up to them, particularly on the changeover.
Nevertheless, it was sub Cian O’Flynn who notched the decisive goal for Carrigaline in the 50th minute — and they managed to hold out until the end.
Carrigaline, with Nicholas Murphy at full-forward for most of the hour, had quick points from Simon O’Brien and Peter Murphy. Matters got even better when O’Brien fed Cork minor Killian McIntyre for a goal on eight minutes. It was worrying for Ballinora as 22 minutes had elapsed before they kicked their opening point.
However, Ben Aherne rattled off three in quick succession and when wing-back Mark Kelleher set up Ian Wycherley for a fourth, they were in full flow. Conor Murphy then kicked a fifth unanswered point. But Nicholas Murphy ended a barren spell for Carrigaline on the brink of half-time and his point left them 1-4 to 0-5 .
O’Brien put another point on the board for Carrigaline minutes after the restart. But, the Ballinora reply was emphatic. The build-up involved Patrick Fitton and Alan O’Neill and the goal was supplied by Conor Murphy. When Wycherley added a point, the mid Cork side took the lead for the first time on 35 minutes, 1-6 to 1-5.
Carrigaline responded impressively though. Peter Murphy, David Drake, Niall Coakley and Nicholas Murphy won a lot of ball around the middle and they proceeded to land another 1-3 without reply — O’Flynn netting the vital goal. Ahead 2-8 to 1-6 with 10 minutes remaining Conor Brosnan and Aherne made it a three-point match.
Carrigaline were relieved to see Barry O’Keeffe stretch the gap to four and solid defending — especially from Killian Forbes and David Spillane — only allowed Ballinora a Conor Murphy point deep in added time.
Scorers for Carrigaline: K McIntyre, C O’Flynn (1-0) each, S O’Brien 0-3, N Coakley and P Murphy 0-2 each, N Murphy and B O’Keeffe (free) 0-1 each.
Scorers for Ballinora: C Murphy 1-2, B Aherne 0-4 (0-3 frees), I Wycherley 0-2, C Brosnan (free) 0-1.
CARRIGALINE: S Mellett; K McSweeney, K Forbes, D Spillane; K Kavanagh, C Barry, S Griffin; N Murphy, E Kavanagh; D Drake, N Coakley, B O’Keeffe; K McIntyre, P Murphy, S O’Brien.
Subs: T Murphy for P Murphy (b/s 40), C O’Flynn for K McIntyre (45 mins), T Murphy for B O’Keeffe (62).
BALLINORA: E Walsh; Denis O’Neill, G O’Halloran, David O’Neill; M Kelleher, C O’Connor, T McGrath; M Hodge, A O’Neill; I Wycherley, M Murphy, B Aherne; C Brosnan, C Murphy, P Fitton.
Subs: N Collins for Denis O’Neill (50 inj), C O’Shea for M Murphy (58), C Lucey for B Aherne (63).
Referee: C Egan (Glen Rovers/St Nicks).