Blarney 3-14 Ballincollig 1-19
INCREDIBLE stuff in this PIHC quarter-final thriller, as Blarney stole victory from Ballincollig under the floodlights at Páirc Uí Rinn.
Hot favourites beforehand to set up a clash with Carrigaline, Blarney failed to fire at all in the first half, trailing 0-7 to no score the water-break at and 0-13 to 0-4 at half-time.
They battled resolutely in the second half, Alan McEvoy excelling after switching to midfield and Mark Coleman slowly coming to the fore but still, 1-18 to 1-9 in arrears after a Fenton Denny goal in the 52nd minute they looked a beaten docket.
To their credit, they simply refused to yield, powerhouse forward Declan Hanlon buried his second rocket of a goal to give them a lifeline with six minutes of normal time remaining, quickly followed by points from Coleman (2) and Patrick Crowley. When Cian Dorgan clipped over a neat point to make it 1-19 to 2-12 heading to injury time, Collig were still in a commanding position.
Coleman earned an converted a free before Patrick Crowley stormed down the sideline and unleashed a venomous shot that flew through a crowded D and into the corner of the net. Draw game.
From the puck-out, Peter Philpott and Joe Jordan, Blarney's best defenders throughout, broke up the play and Pádraig Power pounced on the delivery to curl over the winner. The contrasting reactions at the final whistle said it all, Blarney exploding into the air with joy, Ballincollig slumping to the damp turf in disbelief.
In many respects, it was a game the Village lost. Gearóid O'Donoghue kept Mark Coleman on the fringes in the first half, while Shane Murphy restricted Shane Barrett to a point from play. In attack, Cian Dorgan and Seán Walsh shared 0-7 from play, while Robbie Bourke lanced over 0-3 from midfield and Barry Coleman and Conor Sexton hurled the world of ball from half-back.
Blarney deserve kudos though for their self-belief and desire. They absorbed the Collig's best shots and had the audacity to go for goals at crucial stages when points simply weren't going to suffice.
When the game was on the line, Coleman stood up and their overall work-rate and tackling in that critical last 10 minutes was the difference between exiting this championship and clawing their way into the last four. For that, they deserve immense respect.
Scorers for Blarney: M Coleman 0-7 (0-6 f), D Hanlon 2-0, P Crowley 1-1, A McEvoy 0-3, S Barrett, M O'Leary, P Power 0-1 each.
Ballincollig: C Dorgan 0-7 (0-4 f), S Walsh 0-4, F Denny 1-1, R Bourke 0-3, C O'Leary 0-2, D Bowen, C Sexton 0-1 each.
BLARNEY: P Hallissey; S Crowley, D Walsh, A McEvoy; J Jordan, P Philpott, O Hegarty; M Coleman, B Ahern; P Power, D Hanlon, P Crowley; K Costello, S Barrett, S Mulcahy.
Subs: C O'Mahony for Hegarty, M O'Leary for Ahern, R Murphy for Mulcahy (all h-t), C Murphy for Costello (54).
BALLINCOLLIG: J Linehan; R O'Donovan, L Jennings, S Murphy; C Moore, B Coleman, C Sexton; G O'Donoghue, R Bourke; K Walsh, D Bowen, C O'Leary; F Denny, C Dorgan, S Walsh.
Subs: R O'Doherty for O'Leary (45), E Cooke for Bowen (55), P Cooney for Denny (inj 58).
Referee: B Murphy (Carrigtwohill).