Coach’s words of wisdom fire up Ballinora

Ballinora 3-12 Kiskeam 0-13 (AET)

Coach’s words of wisdom fire up Ballinora

They only managed one point in that first-half, and that came from centre-back Barry Crowley. However, they were a transformed team after the break.

Ballinora selector Donal McSweeney said he has been around the game for a long, long time but described the half-time speech delivered by coach Brian O’Donovan as unbelievable.

“He made a speech that was frightening,” said McSweeney. “He lifted a team that were dead. I had given up, nine points to one (down). He is by nature, a natural leader of men. He has taken this team by the scruff of the neck and he has done wonders with them. He is probably one of the best man leaders I ever saw. He coached us when we won the junior county in ’97 (also against Kiskeam).

The mid Cork side improved as the game wore on. They scored 1-8 in the second-half, adding 2-3 in extra time.

Kiskeam were full value for that 0-9 to 0-1 half-time advantage. They led off with four unanswered points. Tomás Dennehy and Padraig O’Leary got to grips with the midfield battle, while Michael Herlihy and Tom O’Sullivan were the big threats up front. Joseph Dennehy was ruthless at full-back whilst AJ O’Connor cleared Ballinora’s only goal chance off the line.

Slowly, after the restart, Ballinora settled. They reduced the gap to seven points but it was a goal from veteran attacker Gary O’Halloran in the 48th minute that ignited their challenge and within a 10-minute spell they landed 1-4. Michael Hodge was out-fielding his opposite numbers and there was a lot more punch in the Ballinora attack.

Tomás Dennehy got a second yellow card with two minutes remaining, yet Kiskeam regained the lead through a Billy Dennehy free. But, an excellent equalising point was scored by full-forward Michael Murphy in the third minute of injury time, 1-9 to 0-12.

Robert Carroll came into the fray for extra-time, but amazingly Kiskeam were running out of steam. A fine one-two ended with Aodán O’Connor firing Ballinora’s second goal and right on the stroke of 70 minutes Murphy blasted their third goal. Kiskeam’s only response was a David Scannell point.

In front, 3-10 to 0-13, they added another two points in the second period of extra-time as Ben Ahern kicked his fifth point from open play.

Scorers for Ballinora: M Murphy (1-2, one free), B Ahern (0-5), A O’Connor (1-1), G O’Halloran (1-0), C Murphy, B Crowley, I Wycherely and P Fitton (0-1 each).

Scorers for Kiskeam: T O’Sullivan (0-4, one free, one 45m), M Herlihy (0-3), G Casey (0-2), T Dennehy, S Scannell, B Dennehy (free) and Daniel Fitzgerald (0-1 each).

BALLINORA: C O’Connor; D O’Neill (Capt), B Hourihan, T Crotty; C Murphy, B Crowley, T McGrath; M Hodge, A O’Connor; I Wycherely, G O’Halloran, B Ahern; P Fitton, M Murphy, C Brosnan.

Subs: J Lordan for B Crowley (24), A O’Neill for P Fitton (61), P Fitton for G O’Halloran (77).

KISKEAM: A Casey; M Casey, J Dennehy, D J Casey; AJ O’Connor, D Linehan, S Linehan; T Dennehy, P O’Leary; A Carroll, G Casey, Diarmuid Fitzgerald; Daniel Fitzgerald, T O’Sullivan, M Herlihy (Capt).

Subs: B Dennehy for Diarmuid Fitzgerald (bs 7-10), D Scannell for Diarmuid Fitzgerald, B Dennehy for A Carroll (both 53), D O’Connor for S Linehan (56), A Carroll for D Linehan (65 inj), S O’Leary for Daniel Fitzgerald (68).

Referee: T O’Donovan (Douglas).

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