Ballincollig 1-22 Douglas 0-14
BALLINCOLLIG cut loose in the fourth quarter at Douglas to secure a Premier 1 Minor Hurling semi-final slot against Sars.
While a stunning goal on the run from Darragh O'Mahony had given the visitors the initiative in the first half, this was finely poised heading into the latter stages.
The impressive Mark Howell and Joel Adeniran, who were fouled for seven converted frees overall, earned placed balls for Stephen St Ledger to trim the gap to 1-14 to 0-14.
Ballincollig were favourites and had a bit more punch up top but couldn't get away from a Douglas outfit where David Kelly and Daniel Squires shone in defence, while Daire Burke was a real threat in the forwards along with Howell and Adeniran.
Suddenly though, Ballincollig kicked for the finishing line. Tadhg O'Connell used his blistering pace which yielded two Brian Keating frees, the tireless Dylan Ebili pounced on a puck-out and Cian O'Driscoll and O'Mahony combined for a classy score: 1-18 to 0-14.
Douglas were now forced to chase goals, which Darragh Keohane repelled with a couple of smart stops. Karl O'Neill had denied Ballincollig at the other end earlier in this interesting but tense contest, but they didn't need green flags in the last five minutes.
Mark Oldham, whose trickery yielded 0-5 from play, and David O'Sullivan added two more points apiece, excellent scores too.
The margin flattered Eamonn Keating's charges but they had some outstanding performers, including James Dwyer who anchored the rearguard with authority and the tenacious Sean O'Donoghue at midfield, who assisted a number of points in the third quarter.
This was a strange setting, with the already restricted attendance clipped further by the 'behind closed doors' edict announced by the government on Tuesday. Who knows where the GAA goes from here but championship without supporters is better than none at all.
The clubs now meet again next Wednesday at the same venue in another high-stakes encounter. Douglas must beat Ballincollig to reach the football semi-final, while by virtue of big wins over Nemo and Glanmire the Village could still qualify if they lose depending on scoring difference.
It's already been a great hurling season for Ballincollig underage, who were already through to the Premier 1 semi-finals at U14 and U16, where they'll face Sars and Midleton respectively.
Scorers for Ballincollig: D O'Sullivan 0-8 (0-5 f), D O'Mahony 1-3, M Oldham 0-5, B Keating 0-3 (0-2 f), T O'Connell, D Ebili, C O'Driscoll 0-1 each.
Douglas: S St Ledger 0-8 f, D Burke, M Howell 0-2 each, J Adeniran, C O'Donovan 0-1 each.
BALLINCOLLIG: D Keohane; M Donovan, S Dore, R O'Neill; R O'Connor (c), J Dwyer, H Ahearne; S O'Donoghue, B Keating; D O'Mahony, D Ebili, C O'Driscoll; M Oldham, D O'Sullivan, T O'Connell.
Subs: D Horgan for O'Donoghue (45), O'Donoghue for Donovan (50), D Ward for Dwyer (57 inj).
DOUGLAS: K O’Neill; C Kenny, F Sheehan, D Kelly; K McSweeney, D Squires, A Sheedy; A O'Hare, S St Ledger; C O'Donovan, M Howell, E Nash; D Burke, J Adeniran, B Bowler.
Sub: C O'Leary for Bowler (45).
Referee: Cathal McAllister (Aghada).