Neil Ronan was the hero for Ballyhea when his late free from the touchline sealed a 0-13 to 0-12 win over Newcestown in a heated Premier IHC meeting in Mallow yesterday.
Ballyhea were deserving winners, having battled with 14 men for the majority of the game and fought their way back from a three-point deficit in the second half. But Newcestown will rue a string of late wides which could have won them the game.
The tone of the contest was set inside two minutes when Ballyhea’s Timmy Shanahan was shown a yellow card for an off-the-ball incident with Cárthach Keane. Three minutes later, Ballyhea found themselves a man down.
A heavy Ballyhea challenge in front of both benches provoked a melee involving full squads. Referee Denis O’Leary took exception with Aidan O’Connor’s part in it and the Ballyhea captain was given a straight red card.
Newcestown looked more threatening up front and each of their full-forward line picked up points inside 20 minutes but Ballyhea got back into the game thanks to three points from Ronan. However two Eoin Kelly strikes saw Newcestown take a 0-6 to 0-4 lead into the changeover.
The sides exchanged points early in the second half but despite maintaining their lead, Newcestown lost control.
Ballyhea managed to convert their pressure into scores thanks to a point from O’Sullivan and two from Ronan which levelled the sides with 15 minutes remaining.
Gearóid O’Rourke tried to inspire his team-mates with two excellent points but Ballyhea replied through Shanahan and O’Sullivan.
Kelly and Ballyhea sub Kieran Morrissey traded points before Ronan nailed the match-winning score.
Elsewhere, Fintan O’Leary hit four points as Ballinhassig recorded a 0-19 to 0-12 win over Mallow at Páirc Uí Rinn yesterday.
Mallow found it difficult to stay with the Carrigdhoun men and 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 deficit to a team who were in the top flight last season as they prepare to meet Newcestown in round two.
At the end of the third period, the difference was six points but Mallow were not as productive as they should have been up front — their scores coming largely from placed balls courtesy of Aaron Sheehan.
Ballinhassig managed to keep the Mallow attack at bay, however the Avondhu men closed out with a white flag from Herlihy and a pointed free from Denis Hayes.
A convincing second-half display ensured victory for Carrigaline in their local derby clash against Tracton at Páirc Uí Rinn last night, winning in the end by 1-16 to 0-10.
There was an explosive start when, as early as the first minute, Carrigaline were reduced to 14 men as Peter Murphy received a straight red.
Despite having to rearrange their line out, Carrigaline left for the dressing room at half-time on parity at seven points apiece and went on to hammer home their supremacy in the closing quarter, as they hit an impressive 1-5 while keeping their opposite numbers to just one point.
The numerical disadvantage was not apparent as they ran out nine-point winners in the end — Rob O’Shea their scorer-in-chief with seven points.
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