They were the better side, but they got nothing easy from a battling Ballincollig team that finished with 13 players following the dismissal of Liam Jennings immediately before the interval and another defender Brian Cotter received a second yellow five minutes from time.
Ballincollig were quickest off the mark, moving into an early lead when Conor Sexton goaled after good work by corner back JP Murphy. However, Tony Murphy finished a lovely move started by Stephen Corcoran a couple of minutes later and the sides were level midway through the half, 1-3 apiece. Carrigaline then fired three unanswered points before Murphy set up Simon O’Brien for their second goal three minutes from half-time. This gave them to a 2-6 to 1-4 advantage. However, Ciarán O’Sullivan kept Ballincollig in touch, converting an excellent free. Carrigaline were on top and had a lot of the play but their wide tally was building. There was five points between the teams when Jennings got a straight red. That margin remained to the break, 2-8 to 1-6. Ballincollig had it all to do in the second-half especially when Murphy and Niall Coakley opened up a seven point lead a couple of minutes after the restart. Still, and despite being a man down, Ballincollig replied with two place ball efforts from the tireless O’Sullivan and sub Ian Coughlan. By the 50th minute they were only a goal behind, 2-11 to 1-11.
But it was a big-ask of the Muskerry side who were now reduced to 13 players and Carrigaline took advantage. The likes of Coakley and midfielder and free-taker Robert O’Shea slotted over a pair of points each, while Drake and Murphy were also prominent. In fairness to Ballincollig, their backs were to the wall but they did well not to let Carrigaline in for any further goal chances.
Scorers for Carrigaline: T Murphy 1-3 (0-1 free), R O’Shea 0-5 (0-4 frees), S O’Brien 1-1, N Coakley 0-3, D Drake 0-2, K Cavanagh and S Corcoran 0-1 each.
Scorers for Ballincollig: C Sexton 1-2, C O’Sullivan 0-5 (0-4 frees, 0-1 65m), I Coughlan 0-2, D Bowen and J Miskella 0-1 each.
CARRIGALINE: R Foster; C McSweeney, G Harrington, K O’Connell; C Hurley, J Moran, C Barry; R O’Shea, K Cavanagh; N Coakley, D Drake, S O’Brien; S Corcoran, T Murphy, B O’Keeffe.
Subs: P Ronayne for B O’Keeffe (55), P Mullane for N Coakley (63).
BALLINCOLLIG: F Kelly; L Jennings, N Galvin, JP Murphy; B Cotter, S O’Donoghue, C Harris; C O’Sullivan, K Hickey; D Bowen, J Miskella, C O’Connor; C Sexton, J O’Brien, B Glavin.
Subs: I Coughlan for J Miskella, M Prendergast for B Glavin (both ht), A Donovan for C Harris (37), F Hickey for J O’Brien (53), K Kelleher for C O’Connor (56).
Referee: K Murphy (Nemo Rangers).