Killeagh 1-14 Ballinhassig 0-14
The opposing goalkeepers, Bernard Rochford and Martin Coleman, were centrally involved in the dramatic conclusion to this keenly-contested third round Cork SHC tie at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday evening, but the essential element in the outcome was the spurning of scoring chances by Ballinhassig over the hour.
Three minutes from the end of normal time, Rochford brought off a vital save which protected a one-goal lead for Killeagh. Then, as the game edged into three minutes of injury-time, Ballinhassig won a penalty. Up came Coleman, whose powerful shot was blocked by centre-back Brendan Barry and following Darren Dineen’s ’65 it was all over.
Killeagh’s Noel O’Connor stressed the significance of Andrew Walsh’s 44th minute goal: “We found against Blackrock and Courceys that we needed something to go in our favour. Tonight we got the goal which put Ballinhassig on the back foot and give us belief that we were lacking.
“They could have come back — they had a lot of wides, but we had a lot of them in the last two games, as people pointed out. Tonight we had the luck, it could have gone either way.’’
Coach John Crowley was realistic in his appraisal of Ballinhassig’s performance, accepting that a wides tally “told its own story”.
“Fair play to Killeagh, they took their chances. But I suppose we lost the game as opposed to them winning. We probably should have been further in front at half-time than by three points.’’
Ballinhassig were boosted by the inclusion of Fintan O’Leary, who was influential in the early part of the game, as were Killeagh who were able to call on Joe Deane, who contributed half of their points total.
“Joe is a big club player, he was a huge loss against Courceys,” added O’Connor. “This week he looked after himself and we got the best possible treatment for him. He wanted to play, it was as simple as that and adrenaline was going to do that for him!”
The sides were level three times in the opening exchanges before Ballinhassig began to settle into a rhythm which saw them create a succession of openings.
O’Leary was prominent at full-forward, along with Brendan Coleman at midfield, but while they were three points clear by the 20th minute, the accumulation of wides was undermining their challenge. By the interval, though ahead 0-9 to 0-6, it had reached ten.
Not unexpectedly, given that their finishing continued to trouble them and Killeagh rallied strongly – with Andrew Walsh to the forefront around midfield and Deane almost unerring in his free-taking – the course of the game quickly changed.
Deane levelled matters on 38 minutes and after a Walsh point was answered by an equaliser from Coleman, then followed the game’s turning point, a goal from Walsh on threequarter hour mark.
Centre-forward Padraic Carroll made the opening and Walsh beat Martin Coleman in the race for possession to push the ball over the line.
It set the scene for a highly charged closing quarter, in which Killeagh were undoubtedly helped by Ballinhassig’s wastage of chances and the mixed fortunes of the goalkeepers helped bring it to an exciting climax – the result of which pushes the losers into a relegation clash.
Scorers for Killeagh: J Deane (0-7, 0-6 frees), A Walsh (1-3), J Budds (0-3), S Long (0-1).
Scorers for Ballinhassig: D Dineen (0-6, 0-3f, 0-1 ’65), M Collins (0-4), F O’Leary, B. Coleman (0-2 each).
KILLEAGH: B Rochford; Cian Fogarty, Colin Fogarty, P McGrath; P O’Brien, B. Barry, K Lane; P O’Neill, J O’Connor; A Walsh, P Carroll, J Budds; S Long, M Byrne, J Deane.
Subs: D Cahill for O’Connor (27), E Keniry for Carroll (56).
BALLINHASSIG: M Coleman; S McCarthy, E Finn, M Desmond; D O’Donovan, B Lombard, B O’Sullivan; S McCarthy, B Coleman; D Dineen, M Collins, S Dineen; P Collins, F O’Leary, D Duggan.
Subs: D O’Sullivan for O’Connor (49), D O’Sullivan for B O’Sullivan (50).
Referee: Joe Larkin (Douglas).
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