This was good football, the quality higher than many games in the upper divisions. Ballinacurra can, at least, take some consolation that they contributed handsomely to an excellent match.
The intensity of the opening half had the small crowd on their feet several times. The sides were locked together at 0-4 apiece following the opening quarter before Ballinacurra cut loose with a succession of unanswered scores. The four-point lead they carved could have been more, James Nagle - who scored two points in the first half - saw his rasping goalward shot deflected somehow off ‘keeper Robert Swayne’s foot, onto the crossbar and away to safety.
With the Ballinacurra defence in control, they led 0-8 to 0-5 at half-time, Diarmuid Thompson hitting four of Ballingeary’s scores, three frees.
All hell broke loose in the opening minutes of the second period, with Ballingeary knocking over three points inside two minutes, two of them from Donagh Shorten and another from Thompson.
All square, Ballinacurra had to battle back to regain the lead and did so with points from O’Brien and Harty. James Nagle was denied again after seven minutes when he had a goal disallowed and seconds later Gerald McCarthy had the green flag waving at the other end when be got behind the defence and beat Swayne. James Nagle hit back twice to keep Ballinacurra in touch as Crothur Lynch responded to level again halfway through the second period.
But it was Ballingeary who finished strongly. Jake Hegarty and Tomas O’Leary had Ballinacurra points, but Thompson, Shorten and Lynch combined to hit five scores for the winners, and there was no way back for the east Cork side. It was a shame one side had to lose on a day both sides more than justified their place in the final.
G McCarthy (1-0), D Thompson (0-8, 4 frees), D Shorten (0-4), C Lynch (0-2 frees).
J Nagle (0-4), J Hegarty (0-3), G Harty, S O’Brien (frees), K Harty (0-2 each), T O’Leary (0-1)
G O Muirthile, S O Duinnin, D O Coill, C O Loinsigh, D Seartan, L O Criodain, G O Creimin, L O Coinceannain, E O Duinnin, D O Duinnin, C O Linsigh, D O Ceallachain, D Mac Tomais, G MacCarthaigh, D Searten.
Sean O Tuama for D O Duinnin (h-t), Seamus O Tuama for Darren O Duinnin (40), P O Criodain for D O Ceallachain (black card, 54)
R Swayne, S Finnegan, C Lynch, T O’Meara, T Costigan, S Richard, K Kennedy, P Nagle, J Nagle, D Daly, G Harty, S O’Brien, T O’Leary, J Hegarty, K Harty.
K Kruschel for T O’Meary (34)
M O’Leary (Diarmuid O Mathuna’s)