BALLINORA came from six points down after 35 minutes to win by five in a cracking Evening Echo Premier IFC third round tie at Páirc Uí Rinn yesterday.
It was a result that didn’t look likely as Michael’s, superbly led by Eoin Buckley and Blackrock senior hurlers John Browne and Wayne Sherlock, forged 0-10 to 0-4 in front after leading 0-8 to 0-4 at half time.
However, Ballinora refused to roll over and, inspired by a Cathal Sheehan goal, they put in a storming finish to book their place in the quarter-final against the winners of the Nemo Rangers/St Finbarr’s tie.
The strong wind was always going to have a huge bearing on the football game and Michael’s had the advantage of it in the first half. A Will Kennedy point after just 20 seconds showed their intent but Ballinora were level after four minutes through Colin O’Shea and two evenly matched sides were level on two further occasions to be tied at 0-3 apiece at the end of the opening quarter.
Will Kennedy and Roy Downey dominated midfield for the Saints and with Eoin Buckley and Jack Linehan giving Ballinora’s defence a torrid time, the city side kicked four points in a row to lead 0-7 to 0-3 after 25 minutes.
Ballinora struggled to get the ball out of their own defence such was the pressure Michael’s exerted, but finally broke out and Michael Murphy pointed — their first for 10 minutes — after a great run.
However, Michael’s continued to exert the pressure and it took two great blocks by Ballinora defenders to deny John Browne a goal before the impressive Eoin Buckley gathered the rebound to kick a point which left the Blackrock side leading by double score at the break, 0-8 to 0-4.
Michael’s picked up where they left off on the changeover and with Buckley continuing to sparkle they tacked on two points and Ballinora were given a mountain to climb.
Credit to the Mid Cork side, they accepted the challenge and it took a superb save by Michael’s’ ‘keeper Alan Deasy to deny Conor Brosnan a certain goal as the pressure began to mount on the Saints’ defence.
Cathal Sheehan, switched from corner forward to midfield, began to dominate, and along with Eoin Lougheed and Cronan Healy, came forward at every opportunity.
The pressure on the Michael’s defence was intense and they kicked four points without reply, two by the impressive Sheehan, to lead 0-10 to 0-8 at the end of the third quarter.
With the bit firmly between the teeth, the Mid Cork side went for the kill and a cracking goal by sub Kieran Conway, created for him by Cronan Healy, put them well clear. It was fitting that Colin O’Shea had the final say with the last point to set up a quarter-clash against the winners of the Nemo Rangers/St Finbarr’s tie.
Scorers for Ballinora: C. O’Shea, C. Brosnan (0-2 frees) 0-4 each; C. Sheehan 0-3; K. Conway 1-0; M. Murphy 0-2.
St Michael’s scorers: E. Buckley, J. Linehan (0-2 frees) 0-4 each; S. O’Sullivan 0-2; W. Kennedy 0-1.
BALLINORA: E. Walsh; D. O’Neill, M. Hodge, W. Dineen; E. Lougheed, D. O’Hare, L. Hodge; P. Martin, G. O’Leary; C. Healy, G. O’Halloran, C. O’Shea; M. Murphy, C. Brosnan, C. Sheehan.
Subs: D. O’Neill for David O’Neill; K. Conway for O’Halloran.
ST MICHAEL’S: A. Deasy; C. Murphy, B. Ahern, M. Russell; B. Lombard, W. Sherlock, C. O’Brien; R. Downey, W. Kennedy; J. Linehan, J. Browne, M. Drummond; C. Coyne, K. O’Connell, S. O’Sullivan.
Subs: N. O’Reilly for S. O’Sullivan; D. Coughlan for Kennedy.
Referee: C. McAlister (Aghada).
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