This is a big year for Ballinhassig. Not alone will they endeavour to regain their senior hurling status but they will also play their first games in their new development at Ballinaboy.
Yesterday in Páirc Uí Rinn they made a confident start to the 2012 championship defeating Mallow in the Cork Premier IHC. Without setting the world on fire, they did enough to secure their passage to round four.
Mallow, on the other hand, found it difficult to stay with the Carrigdhoun men. They drew level at the quarter hour mark and took the lead briefly but at the halfway mark they were behind by double scores, 0-10 to 0-5. That was more or less the pattern for the second half, although they can take positives from a seven-point defeat to a team who were in the top flight last season as they prepare to meet Newcestown in round two.
Ballinhassig were fast to settle, rattling off four unanswered points from David Brennan, Darren Dineen (free), Fintan O’Leary and Paul Coomey. They were enjoying a good deal of possession until the Mallow half back line of Fionn O’Neill, Cormac Murphy and Jerry Hayes got on top, resulting in parity by the quarter hour through white flags from Chris Moloney, Pa Herlihy, Denis Hayes and Aaron Sheehan.
Mallow, then took the lead momentarily through full forward Denis Hayes, but the run up to the break totally belonged to Ballinhassig as Fintan O’Leary found form — one of his points could easily have flew under. Indeed, when the same player went off injured early in the second half, it failed to unsettle them as Steven Dineen continued his good work.
At the end of the third period, the difference was six points (0-14 to 0-8) but Mallow were not as productive as they should have been up front and as a result, their scores came from placed balls courtesy of Aaron Sheehan.
Ballinhassig should have been further in front except for some terrible wides. A fabulous long range effort from wingback Brendan Lombard put them 0-16 to 0-9 to the good with 10 minutes remaining.
Over the next five minutes Ballinhassig outscored Mallow 0-3 to 0-1 with their final say coming from a superb long range strike from their number five Mike Sheehan. Ballinhassig managed to keep the Mallow attack at bay but the Avondhu men did manage a white flag from Herlihy and a pointed free from Denis Hayes. But it proved far too little, too late.
Scorers for Ballinhassig: F O’Leary 0-4, B Coleman, D Dineen (3fs), P Coomey 0-3 each, S Dineen, D Brennan 0-2 each, M Sheehan, B Lombard 0-1 each.
Scorers for Mallow: A Sheehan 0-4fs, D Hayes 0-3 (1f), P Herlihy, C Moloney 0-2 each, M Maher 0-1.
BALLINHASSIG: M Coleman; S McCarthy, E Finn, M Desmond; M Sheehan, M Aherne, B Lombard; D Brennan, S McCarthy; S Dineen, D O’Donovan, D Dineen; B Coleman, F O’Leary, P Coomey.
Subs: D O’Sullivan for F O’Leary (inj. 36).
MALLOW: A Long; J Culloty, D Kerrisk, C Kerrisk; F O’Neill, C Murphy, J Hayes; C Leahy, P Herlihy; M Maher, C Moloney, K O’Connor; B Murphy, D Hayes, A Sheehan.
Subs: T O’Riordan for C Leahy (ht), K McCarthy for K O’Connor (47).
Referee: J Larkin (Douglas).
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