A tour-de-force performance from full-forward Colm Casey has steered Inniscarra into the third round of the Cork PIHC.
With both sides having lost their opening-round fixtures, it was a case of last-chance saloon at Ovens on Saturday evening. In the end, it was Ballinhassig who exited stage left, and they can have very few complaints, given their failure to score from play beyond the 14th minute.
The vanquished rearguard had no answer to the brilliance and determination of Casey, who struck 3-3 from play over the hour.
The first of his hat-trick arrived six minutes in, the opening major of this second-round contest stemming from a stray Ballinhassig pass to Inniscarra half-forward Michael Coleman, who did well early on in his deep-lying role as a third midfielder.
A point from Colin Reynolds nudged the winners into a 1-2 to 0-3 lead, but there followed four-in-a-row from Sean Coleman (0-2, 0-1 free, 0-1 ’65), Ger Collins, and Cillian Tyers to put Ballinhassig back in front.
Inniscarra were incredibly wasteful in that opening half, racking up nine wides, and they would have been left to rue those missed opportunities if it wasn’t for Casey, who cracked home their second goal seven minutes before the break.
Ballinhassig managed only one score — a long-range free from goalkeeper Patrick Collins — in the second quarter, but with a slight wind behind them upon the change of ends, they would have expected to eat somewhat into their opponents’ 2-6 to 0-8 interval advantage.
As it transpired, their second-half effort never left the runway. They did not raise a flag of any description until the three-quarter hour mark, and all of the four second-half points they tallied were placed-ball efforts.
Ballinhassig changed their full-back at the break, but Casey continued to wreak havoc.
He won the free which allowed Michael Coleman to open their second-half account, before Casey rattled in his third goal to put nine between them on 37 minutes.
Inniscarra’s reward for keeping their season alive is a third-round tie against Mallow this Saturday.
“Absolutely delighted with the performance,” began Inniscarra manager Ger Murphy.
Even though it has been a hard summer, we’ve had a four-month break since our last championship match, we were very happy with the way things were going coming into the game.
“I was delighted with our lads’ work-rate, it was phenomenal all through.”
Scorers for Inniscarra:
C Casey (3-3); M Coleman (0-3, 0-3 frees); O McCarthy (0-2); S O’Donoghue (0-1 free).
Scorers for Ballinhassig:
S Coleman (0-5, 0-4 frees, 0-1 ’65); G Collins (0-1 free), C Tyers (0-2 each); P Collins (0-1 free), C Reynolds, F O’Leary (0-1 each).
J O’Keeffe; J O’Callaghan, B O’Mahony, J O’Sullivan; C Lombard, C O’Leary, A McCarthy; L Ryan, S O’Donoghue; O McCarthy, D O’Keeffe, M Coleman; E O’Connor, C Casey, M O’Connell.
S O’Mahony for D O’Keeffe (39 mins); C Bennett for O’Connor (53).
P Collins; E Lombard, P O’Leary, B Coleman; S O’Neill, M Ahern, J Rearden; C Desmond, S
McCarthy; C Reynolds, S Coleman, F O’Leary; C Tyers, S Dineen, G Collins.
J O’Callaghan for P O’Leary (HT); K McCarthy for Reynolds (37 mins); P Coomey for Dineen (47).