Ballinhassig stormed into the last four of the Premier IHC on Saturday night after a terrific four-point victory over Ballyhea in Mallow.
Full forward Fintan O’Leary was the man of the hour as he gave a tremendous display with an exhibition of powerful hurling. O’Leary looked to be a real threat right from the first whistle — slotting home a clinical goal on 10 minutes and bagging three more tasty scores while causing no end of problems for an overworked Ballyhea defence.
Darren Dineen at right half forward also played a vital role, rattling over nine points and linking well with O’Leary and Co.
Other notable displays came from keeper Martin Coleman (scored a goal from penalty), centre back Michael Aherne and midfielder Shane McCarthy.
However it takes two to make a classic and Ballyhea really did play their part in this one with Neil Ronan proving to be as clinical a player now as he was when he donned the county colours.
Ronan, as one might expect, was a class act on the night helping himself to 10 points which kept his side well in the hunt as Ballinhassig looked to be taking a stranglehold on proceedings.
Ronan may have accounted for most of his side’s points but a brace of clinical goals from corner forward John Morrissey showed that the Avondhu side had more than one cutting edge.
Other impressive performances came from corner forward Kieran Morrissey and half forward Pa O’Callaghan. Morrissey’s three points either side of the break were of the highest quality and lifted Ballyhea heads just as things looked to be getting on top of them.
After dominating proceedings for long periods, Ballinhassig would have been disappointed that they only led by two points at the break (1-9 to 1-7) but all that will be forgotten now as they plan for their well deserved semi-final.
Scorers for Ballinhassig: D Dineen 0-9 (5fs, 1 65), F O’Leary 1-3, M Coleman 1-0pen, M Aherne (1f), S McCarthy, P Coomey, S Dineen, D O’Donovan, B Coleman 0-1 each.
Scorers for Ballyhea: N Ronan 0-10 (6fs, 1 65), J Morrissey 2-0, K Morrissey 0-3, P O’Callaghan 0-1.
BALLINHASSIG: M Coleman; S McCarthy, E Finn, M Desmond; M Sheehan, M Aherne, B Lombard; B Coleman, S McCarthy; D Dineen, P Coomey, S Dineen; M Collins, F O’Leary, D O’Sullivan.
Subs: D O’Donovan for M Collins (57).
BALLYHEA: M Browne; O O’Sullivan, J Hennessy, S Dennehy; M Morrissey, B Coleman, T Shanahan; A O’Connor, K Hanley; J O’Sullivan, M O’Sullivan, P O’Callaghan; J Morrissey, N Ronan, K Morrissey.
Subs: E Rea for T Shanahan (47).
Referee: J Larkin (Douglas).
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