A rousing second-half performance from a relatively young Blarney team enabled them to get past Ballinhassig in the opening round of the Cork Premier IHC at Ballincollig. They worked their way back from a two-point deficit at the interval to take control and outshoot their opponent 14 points to 1-3. Ballinhassig’s scoring drought their big downfall, their second goal not arriving until the fourth minute of stoppage time.
A gritty display from the mid Cork team that very much pleased selector Brian Hurley.
“We had to beat Youghal in relegation to stay up last year, and management put in a massive effort to get over that game. We knew we had a good crop coming up, and they stood up today, they have a lot of hurling played with Christians in the Harty.
“There is a lot of excitement in Blarney about these lads. They are extremely young. We had three Leaving Certs started today and Padraig Power is another Leaving Cert and he came on. The next layer is Mark Coleman who is only 22 – fellas forget that. And Sean Crowley who I thought was amazing, Peter Philpott is 25 and you have Joe Jordan.”
Might as well start with defender Jordan who was superb. Mark Coleman returned 10 points which came from open play, a sideline cut, frees and a 65. Shane Barrett bagged five points, and sub Power registered three. Barrett and Power along with Declan Hanlon, who also had a storming game, were key players with CBC this year.
Ballinhassig led by 1-9 to 0-10 at half-time. The were 0-5 to 0-3 in front after 10 minutes following two good points from Cillian Tyers, and one each courtesy of Kian McCarthy, Fintan O’Leary and Sean Coleman. And when Kian McCarthy found the net from distance nearing the quarter hour mark, they pushed ahead by five.
Blarney got back on level terms, 1-7 to 0-10, with three frees from Coleman and points from Hanlon, Barrett and Sean Crowley and Keith Costello. Ballinhassig had an opportunity to regain the lead but goalkeeper Paul Hallissey dived full length to deny Simon O’Neill. Colin Reynolds and Sean Coleman points left Ballinhassig two to the good at the break.
Blarney surged into the lead for the first time early in the second-half, and the introduction of Power also had an immediate impact. With his first touch he pointed. Conor Desmond delivered a fine point for Ballinhassig to draw level, 1-11 to 0-14. Slowly but surely, Blarney started to turn the screw. Ten points to one they outscored Ballinhassig - who go to round two - during the final 20 minutes of play.
Fittingly, Jordan got in on the act too. Coleman closed out the scoring for Blarney, Paul Coomey getting Ballinhassig’s goal deep in added time.
Scorers for Blarney: M Coleman (0-10, 0-7 frees, 0-1 65, 0-1sl), S Barrett (0-5), P Power (0-3), R Murphy (0-2), J Jordan, S Crowley, K Costello and D Hanlon (0-1 each).
Scorers for Ballinhassig: K McCarthy (1-1), P Coomey (1-0), F O’Leary (0-3), Colin Reynolds, S Coleman and C Tyers (0-2 each), C Desmond and S McCarthy (0-1 each).
Blarney: P Hallissey; E Mullane, P O’Leary, C Power; A McEvoy, J Jordan, P Philpott; B Ahern, M Coleman; S Crowley, R Murphy (Capt), M O’Leary; K Costello, D Hanlon, S Barrett.
Subs: P Power for E Mullane (35), P Crowley for M O’Leary (48).
Ballinhassig: P Collins; J O’Callaghan, P O’Leary, B Coleman; C Desmond, M Aherne, C O’Mahony; S O’Neill, S McCarthy; S Coleman, Colin Reynolds, K McCarthy; C Tyers, F O’Leary (Capt), G Collins.
Subs: P Coomey for K McCarthy (47), Chris Reynolds for C O’Mahony (53), S Dineen for C Tyers (57).
Referee: Seamus Crowley (Argideen Rangers).