It was a performance that was pleasing to manager Fergal Condon.
“Imokilly haven’t been in the latter changes of the championship for a while and this young team were just fantastic. We were happy with the four point lead at half-time but Ballyhea came at us. Our response was positive. Sars are up next. They are a serious team and they are well coached by Pat Ryan. We are delighted to get a crack off of them. To be at this stage of the championship is a bonus.”
This was a dogged display from Ballyhea, but they were too reliant on Pa O’Callaghan, the centre-forward scoring 2-9.
It was a statement of intent from Imokilly. Seamus Harnedy led the attack and was outstanding at full-forward — his point-taking superb.
Alongside him Cork minors Billy Dunne and John Looney showed well — as they hit 14 points between them.
The half-forward line of Paudie O’Sullivan, Willie Leahy and Dillon Cahill worked exceptionally hard — with O’Sullivan set up by Harnedy for the goal that effectively killed off the game. Prior to that, Ballyhea held their own.
They opened with purpose. O’Callaghan had the sliotar in the net after six minutes. But, the divisional side, playing with a strong wind, answered with quick points and by the 12th minute were level, 1-2 to 0-5. Finding their rhythm, they shot the next six points unanswered. Michael Morrissey averted a goal strike from Harnedy as Ballyhea got back into the game and by half-time they trailed 1-7 to 0-14.
They resumed with determination. O’Callaghan knocked over a free and one from play and when sub Kieran Morrissey ended a fantastic move to the net — initiated by a majestic sideline cut from Luke Hanley — Ballyhea led 2-9 to 0-14. But, the supply line got going once more and Imokilly eased into top gear. They registered the next 1-9 to Ballyhea’s solitary point.
The goal came from O’Sullivan on 42 minutes. Imokilly were 1-23 to 2-10 to the good. O’Callaghan grabbed his second major making it a seven-point match. No fears though, Imokilly opened up again finishing out with a flurry of points. With the game in stoppage time, Harnedy was fouled and awarded a penalty.
Goalkeeper Declan Dalton, another county minor, came up field to take the shot. He made no mistake, adding to his four pointed frees.
D Dalton (1-0 pen, four frees) and P O’Sullivan (two frees) (1-4 each), S Harnedy (0-7), B Dunne (0-5), W Leahy (0-3), D Cahill and J Looney (0-2 each), T Geaney (0-1).
P O’Callaghan (2-9, four frees), K Morrissey (1-0), G Morrissey and B Coleman (0-1 each).
D Dalton (Fr O’Neill’s); T Carroll (Castlelyons), C Barry (Castlelyons), B Ó Tuama (Castlemartyr); T Geaney (Carrignavar), C O’Brien (St Ita’s), M O’Keeffe (Fr O’Neill’s); B Lawton (Castlemartyr), A O’Sullivan (Castelyons); P O’Sullivan (Cloyne), W Leahy (Aghada), D Cahill (Cloyne); J Looney (Aghada), S Harnedy (St Ita’s), B Dunne (Fr O’Neill’s).
K Histon (Cobh) for T Carroll (half-time), A Stafford (Aghada) for A O’Sullivan (39).
M Browne; O O’Sullivan, M Morrissey, L Hanley; T Shanahan, B Coleman, T O’Sullivan; M O’Sullivan, D Copps; J McCarthy, P O’Callaghan, E O’Leary; J Morrissey, G Morrissey, N Ronan.
K Morrissey for D Copps, J Hennessy for T O’Sullivan (both half-time), E Rea for J McCarthy (41), E Morrissey for E O’Leary (55), S Dennehy for T Shanahan (59 inj).
Joe Larkin (Douglas).