Ballincollig 2-16 Valley Rovers 0-15
FEROCIOUS defending, the midfield energy of JP Murphy and Robbie Bourke and a pair of well-timed goals by Gearóid O'Donghue, after half-time, and Dave Bowen, just before the second-half water break, gave Ballincollig a worthy win at Cloughduv.
They had to withstand a barrage of goalbound shots from a dogged Valley Rovers late on, with the crossbar, goalkeeper James Linehan and full-back Liam Jennings coming to rescue. Ultimately, lively attacker Seán Walsh had the final say, as the Village outscored Valleys 0-3 to 0-1 in the last quarter to prevail.
They could even survive a second yellow and the dismissal of the influential Bourke, whose passing range provided a plethora of assists.
The result knocks Rovers out of the PIHC, ahead of their last game against Watergrasshill who are already through. Ballincollig will meet Ballinhassig with the winner emerging from the group along with the Hill.
Valleys actually played their best stuff in between the Ballincollig goals. Veteran Kevin Canty added heft and purpose to the attack, William Hurley and Chris O'Leary were getting on plenty of possession and John Cottrell clipped over two points, as they outscored their opponents 0-7 to 0-3.
Yet Bowen's goal, which the excellent Cian Dorgan made sure of as it crossed the line, was a killer blow, undoing their efforts and leaving them 2-13 to 0-14 in arrears.
Ballincollig were able to batten down the hatches and play on the counter, which suited the aggressive half-back line of Ciarán O'Sullivan, Barry Coleman and Mark Prendergast. Corner-backs Ross O'Donovan and Shane Murphy were tenacious in the extreme.
Subs Eoin O'Reilly and Rory O'Sullivan added life to Valleys' attack but they were left to rue the first half when they had the wind, but trailed 0-9 to 0-7, having shot seven wides to Ballincollig's three.
Cormac Kilduff and Cork senior Chris O'Leary, with a few monster frees, had impressed but Ballincollig's work-rate was high, Dorgan's free-taking metronomic and Fenton Denny arched a couple of good points from play.
There could be no denying Danny Dwyer's charges were value for their victory.
Scorers for Ballincollig: C Dorgan 0-8 (0-6 f, 0-1 65), G O'Donoghue 1-1, D Bowen 1-0, S Walsh 0-3, F Denny 0-2, R Bourke, C O’Leary 0-1 each.
Valley Rovers: C O'Leary 0-5 (0-4 f, 0-1 65), J Cottrell 0-2, C Butler 0-2 (0-1 f), C Kilduff, J Lynch, K Canty, T O'Brien, C Desmond, A Kenneally 0-1 each.
BALLINCOLLIG: J Linehan; R O’Donovan, L Jennings, S Murphy; C O'Sullivan, B Coleman, M Prendergast; JP Murphy (c), R Bourke; G O'Donoghue, D Bowen, C O’Leary; S Walsh, C Dorgan, F Denny.
Subs: P O'Neill for Bowen (50), P Cooney for Denny (53).
VALLEY ROVERS: D Looney; T O'Brien, D Lynch (c), E Delaney; M O'Leary, C O'Leary, W Hurley; N O'Donovan, C Kilduff; J Walsh, J Lynch, J Cottrell; A Kenneally, C Desmond, C Butler.
Subs: R O'Sullivan and K Canty for Lynch and O'Donovan (h-t), E O'Reilly for Kenneally (42), S O'Regan for Desmond (53).
Referee: N O'Neill (Midleton).