O’Donovan Rossa are through to the Bon Secours Cork SAFC knockout stages but only after the toughest of tests from Béal Áthan Ghaorthaidh at a rain-sodden Ballinacarriga.
Martin Bohane’s side led by three points at the interval but needed to dig deep to see off a determined Béal Áthan Ghaorthaidh during the final quarter of an entertaining game.
Dylan Hourihane shone for the winners as did David Shannon, Donal Óg Hodnett, Daniel Hazel and Rory Byrne. Serious questions were asked of Rossa’s temperament but the Carbery outfit came up with all the answers.
“It took us a long time to figure them out as they had a lot of bodies behind the ball,” O’Donovan Rossa manager Martin Bohane admitted.
“Then we began to break the lines and got some great individual scores. We had good leaders out there in the last 15 minutes and we needed them. Skibbereen needed a hard game today and we got one. Nothing against St Nick’s, but Ballingeary really put it up to us. I’m delighted for the lads.” The west Cork side began without the services of injured duo Darren Daly and Kevin Davis. Despite those absentees, Rossa’s got off to a positive start courtesy of David Shannon (mark) and Dylan Hourihane (free).
Their opponents response was swift with Diarmuid Mac Tomáis and Ben Shorten sending over two excellent points to level it up.
Another Hourihane free restored his team’s advantage before Béal Áthan Ghaorthaidh embarked on a productive spell. The West Muskerry outfit moved 0-5 to 0-3 in front following a trio of Mac Tomáis efforts. Next, a superb Hourihane score made it a one-point game.
Whatever was said on the Skibbereen side-line during the water break had the desired effect as Rossa’s dominated the second quarter.
David Shannon floated over three scores (one 45’) prior to Hourihane (free) and Rory Byrne splitting the posts. Shorten and Mac Tomáis (free) replied but another Hourihane free made it 0-10 to 0-7 to Skibb.
Creditably, a rejuvenated Ballingeary tore into Rossa’s at the beginning of the second period and were level within six minutes of the restart.
Donal Óg Hodnett got his name on the score-sheet but a Mac Tomáis point was quickly followed by the game’s solitary goal. Béal Áthan Ghaorthaidh forced a turnover deep inside Skibbereen’s half. Six hand-passes later and Shorten palmed the ball into the net.
A period of multiple turnovers saw neither side gain the upper hand until Hodnett kicked two long-range points. Another white flag from the Cork forward made it 0-14 to 1-8 heading into the closing stages.
Ballingeary dug deep and two Shorten efforts left the bare minimum between the teams. O’Donovan Rossa were not to be denied however as Rory Byrne, Sean Fitzgerald and Dave Shannon scores sealed a hard-earned win.
Disappointingly, an after-match melee threatened to get out of hand until cool heads prevailed. Saturday’s outcome confirmed O’Donovan Rossa’s place in the knockout stages whilst a second defeat in a row means nothing but a victory will do for Béal Áthan Ghaorthaidh against St Nick’s.
D Hourihane (0-6, 4 frees); D Óg Hodnett and D Shannon (1 mark, 1 45) (0-4 each); R Byrne (0-2); E Fitzgerald (0-1).
B Searten (1-4); D Mac Tomáis (0-6, 2 frees).
R Price; S Fitzgerald, E Fitzgerald, D Hazel; S O’Driscoll, P Crowley, D O’Donovan; C Fitzgerald, R Byrne; D Óg Hodnett (captain), D Hourihane, K Hurley; E Connolly, D Shannon, T Hegarty.
J Breen for C Fitzgerald (19, inj); D Daly for K Hurley (41); B Crowley for D O’Donovan (56); E O’Connell for D Shannon (60).
G Ó Muirthile; C Ó Nuanáin, J Ó Donnchú (captain), N Ó Duinín; M Ó Ríordáin, L Ó Criodáin, N Ó Laoire; É Ó Dúinín, S Ó Tuama, A Ó Concheannáin, C Ó Duinín; D Mac Thomáis, B Searten, D Seartan.
C Ó Loinsigh for S Ó Tuama (34); D Ó Ceallacháin for M Ó Ríordáin (35); T Ó Laoire for L Ó Criodáin (52); S Ó Muimhneacháin for D Mac Tomáis (54, injured); S Ó Luasa for C Ó Tuama (56).
T Hayes (Éire Óg)