In a titanic struggle, a sixth-minute Bantry goal ultimately decided the contest when Ruarai Deane was put through by Colm O’Sullivan and the Cork U21 player gave capable Beara keeper Alan Dunne no chance.
It was a score Bantry were quick to build on and with Cathal Power, Tadhg Downey and David Daly keeping things quiet at the back, the Blues, with Kevin Casey drawing the fouls, had eased six points clear before the divisional side got out of blocks.
They began with a superbly taken point from midfielder Brian Terry O’Sullivan, who had a mighty game in a midfield sector where there was little soft on offer. Deane was also prominent around this department from where Mark Delaney made his usual quota of strong runs.
Up with the best was Finbarr Dwyer and, for a spell, Beara dominated and when on top were denied a goal by Bantry keeper Donal Casey, who enhanced his reputation by saving from Connie O’Shea.
Then David Harrington looked to have forced home the rebound only for Cathal Power to save the Blues.
The winners led 1-6 to 0-5 at the break but with Harrington and Dean Murphy prominent up front Beara were on terms with 10 minutes still to play.
There was torture and delight in equal measures in a titanic close where the accurate Joe Murphy and Deane slipped over Bantry scores to which Beara could only reply with a lone Harrington point.
Scorers for Bantry; R Deane 1-3 (0-3f), J Murphy 0-5 (4f), G O’Shea, M Delaney, C O’Sullivan, D Power (1 45) 0-1 each.
Scorers for Beara; D Murphy 0-5 (3f), D Harrington 0-4, J Walsh 0-2 (1f), B Terry O’Sullivan, T Joe O’Sullivan, C O’Shea 0-1 each.
BANTRY; D Casey; C O’Leary, D Daly, S Edgeworth; C Power, C O’Sullivan, T O’Brien; M Delaney, R Deane; K Casey, A Keane, G O’Shea; J Murphy, T Downey, D Power.
Subs: S Delaney for A Keane, H Deane for T O’Brien, G Hurley for S Edgeworth (inj).
BEARA; A Dunne (Urhan); D Cronin (Garnish), S O’Shea (Adrigole), E Murphy (Garnish); L Harrington (Adrigole), F Sheehan (Garnish), C O’Shea (Adrigole); B Terry O’Sullivan (Garnish), F O’Dwyer (Urhan); H O’Sullivan (Garnish), S Terry O’Sullivan (Garnish), T J O’Sullivan (Adrigole); J Walsh (C’t’bere), D Murphy (do), D Harrington (Adrigole). Subs: C O’Neill (Adrigole) for S O’Shea; C McCallenny (Glengarriffe) for H O’Sullivan.
Referee: M Moynihan (Grenagh).