The victory is all the more meritorious because the Gaeltacht side surrendered a 10-point lead which they had after 15 minutes, to lead by the minimum at the break and turned to play against the wind. Making light of their numerical disadvantage, and playing the possession game to perfection, the Muskerry side frustrated Mallow for most of the second half, and their third goal, in the 61st minute, was a coach’s delight.
Working the ball out of defence with a magnificent passing movement which never allowed a Mallow player get a hand on the football, Cian Ó Duinnín was on the end of it to fist to the net and put the icing on a wonderful team performance.
On the evidence of this display, they will be more than a match for Nemo Rangers in the quarter-final.
Ballingeary couldn’t have wished for a better start. Liam Seartán drilled home a penalty in the second minute after Tadgh Ó Laoire was taken down and when Pól Ó Buachalla forced home Cian Ó Duinnín’s long delivery, they led 2-5 to 0-1 at the end of the first quarter and Mallow looked in dire trouble.
However, the North Cork side rallied well and with James Loughrey powering forward and Eoin Stanton winning great possession, they hit back with a succession of points.
Stanton’s aerial dominance was crucial to Mallow’s recovery and in a tremendous three-minute spell, goals by Liam Attridge and Stanton had the sides level.
Losing Concannon just after the restart didn’t upset Ballingeary unduly and when the impressive Liam Seartán pointed a free from near the touchline 20m out from the posts, they led again and were never headed after that.
Unable to make their numerical advantage count, Mallow did create numerous chances, particularly in front of goal, but a combination of poor finishing and excellent defending, particularly by Ballingeary keeper Gearóid Ó Muirthile who made one magnificent save from Pat Herlihy, cost them dearly.
A point by Cian O’Riordan left the minimum between the sides with seven minutes to go and threatened a grandstand finish, but Ballingeary’s ability to play the possession game meant the North Cork side couldn’t get their hands on the ball and points by the Seartán brothers, Liam and Ben, and that third goal by Cian Ó Duinnín rounded off an excellent night’s work.
Scorers for Ballingeary: L Seartán 1-5 (1-0 pen, 0-3f), C Ó Duinnín, P Ó Buachalla 1-1 each, B Seartán 0-2, C Ó Tuama, T Ó Laoire 0-1 each.
Scorers for Mallow: C O’Riordan 0-3 (0-2f), E Stanton, L Attridge 1-0 each, H Dockery (f), K O’Connor, L Dockery, P, Herlihy, D Relihan 0-1 each.
BALLINGEARY: G, Ó Miothile; N, Ó Duinnín, L Ó Conchúir, S Ó Duinnín; A, Ó Loinsigh, S Ó Donnchú, B, Ó Coinceanain; C Ó Tuama, D, MacCarthaigh; L Seartán, L Ó Coinceannain, P Ó Buachalla; B Seartán, C Ó Duinnín, T, Ó Laoire.
Subs: F, Ó Loinsigh for S Ó Duinnín (45), S Ó Coill for T Ó Laoire (50), E Ó Coill for S Ó Donncha (55).
MALLOW: C Sheehan; L Dockery, C Kerrisk, M Taylor; A, Cashman, J Louighrey, P O’Riordan; H Dockery, K O’Connor; C O’Riordan, E Stanton, L Attridge; R Harkin, D Rehilan, A Sheehan.
Subs: K McCarthy for M Taylor (15), P Herlihy for A Sheehan (35).
Referee: D Shorten (St Marys).