Sarsfields 1-21 Ballincollig 1-15
SARSFIELDS lived up to their billing as favourites in this entertaining Rebel Óg Premier 1 Minor Hurling semi-final.
Led by the superb Daniel Hogan in attack, who flicked the sliotar to the net in the opening minutes to give the hosts the early initiative, they had that bit more physicality and better balance than Ballincollig overall.
Their reward is a clash with the other unbeaten side in this year's competition St Finbarr's in next week's final.
Hogan, who has featured for the Sars' seniors this season, was a force of nature at times. Last year's Cork minor captain struck for 1-4 from play but also fouled for four of the nine frees he converted.
Luke Elliot and Cathal McCarthy were outstanding in the second half in the Sars' rearguard, with Colm McCarthy hurling a lot of ball at midfield and David Lynch, Jeremy Kingston and Ben Nodwell each clipping over a pair of points. Subs Darragh Long and Louis Casey also added a bit of impetus when introduced early in the second half.
Ballincollig's best spell was in the second quarter when they came from 1-5 to 0-3 down to trail by just two points, 1-8 to 0-9 at the interval. James Dwyer was impressive throughout, while Seán O'Donoghue and Dylan Ebili were to the fore in that dominant period.
Mark Oldham, Cian O'Driscoll and Ronan Power arched over some lovely scores and this was well poised at half-time.
With Sars getting a grip across their half-back line and midfield, Hogan kept the scoreboard ticking over and by the time the second water-break arrived, it was 1-17 to 0-13. The Village were also a man down after Seán Dore was shown a second yellow card, which meant there was only going to be one winner by the time Ciarán O'Regan's final whistle sounded.
To the Collig's credit they kept battling, Brian Keating fighting hard in the middle with Oldham slipping in for a goal from an Ebili assist.
Sars had the final say though, booming scores from Cathal McCarthy and Jake Bowen confirming their place in the final next week.
It's been a decent few days for Sars underage section, as their U14s are into the P1 decider against Glen Rovers this weekend. Bride Rovers take on Midleton in the U16 final.
Ballincollig were the only club to reach semi-finals in all three grades.
Scorers for Sarsfields: D Hogan 1-13 (0-9 f), J Kingston, D Lynch, B Nodwell 0-2 each, J Bowen, Cathal McCarthy 0-1 each.
Ballincollig: D O'Sullivan 0-8 (0-7 f), M Oldham 1-2, B Keating 0-2 f, T O'Connell, R Power, S O'Donoghue 0-1 each.
SARSFIELDS: N Marron; Z O'Sullivan, L Elliot, D Murray; J Bowen, Cathal McCarthy, O Kelleher; Colm McCarthy, Cillian McCarthy; J Kingston, O Sheppard, B Nodwell; D Lynch, F O'Brien, D Hogan.
Subs: L Casey and D Long for Cillian McCarthy and Sheppard (35), O Compton for O'Sullivan (45).
BALLINCOLLIG: D Keohane; M Donovan, R O'Neill, S Dore; S O'Donoghue, J Dwyer, H Ahearne; B Keating, T O'Connell; D O'Mahony, D Ebili, C O'Driscoll; M Oldham, D O'Sullivan, R Power.
Subs: R O'Connor for Donovan (39), L McGarry for O'Mahony (51).
Referee: C O'Regan (Ballyhea).