Ballincollig 1-18 Ibane Gaels 0-12
A GOAL directly after half-time from David O'Sullivan was critical in Ballincollig's victory in the opening game in the Rebel Óg Premier 1 hurling championship.
The Village were 0-7 to 0-3 in front after a first half where their shooting betrayed their dominace: nine wides to none for the hosts. O'Sullivan's clinical finish following a terrific run by Darragh O'Mahony gave them a platform to push on.
Credit to Ibane Gaels though, who battled resolutely throughout. They had a lively inside forward in Adam McSweeney and huge energy around the middle third from Conn Dineen and twins Fergal and Sean Walsh. Jack Lawton was their anchor in the heart of the backline.
Indeed a flying save from Collig keeper Darragh Keohane as Ryan O'Donovan let rip with 10 minutes to go was needed to put paid to any comeback. With a seven-point lead the favourites were never going to be caught from then on.
Ballincollig had the game's most dominant figure in Brian Keating, while Mark Oldham was electric at number 13. Keating hurled the world of ball as he zoomed around the midfield; Oldham's haul was 0-4 from play to go with five assists, four after he was fouled bursting through.
Defensively Eamonn Keating's charges were rock solid. Seán O'Donoghue excelled at centre-back, Ruairí O'Connor clipped over a sweet point and Seán Dore was no-nonsense at number three but collectively they were dogged.
Further up, Cian O'Driscoll caught a number of puck-outs on the wing and landed a superb score while James Dwyer rifled over a lovely point in the closing stages.
Though Ibane Gaels is an amalgamation of two hurling strongholds – Barryroe and Argideen Rangers – they are competing at P1 in both codes this year. Ryan O'Donovan and Lawton shone for the Cork minor footballers last season when they secured the All-Ireland.
The teams share a connection through Ibane selector Dan Murphy, an All-Ireland medalist with Cork, who hurled for Ballincollig before moving to Barryroe.
Football takes centre stage next Wednesday, with St Finbarr's and Douglas to come for these teams in the remaining hurling group games.
Scorers for Ballincollig: D O'Sullivan 1-9 (0-8 f), M Oldham 0-4, B Keating 0-2 f, C O'Driscoll, J Dwyer, R O'Connor 0-1 each.
Ibane Gaels: A McSweeney 0-9 (0-6 f, 0-2 65), S Walsh 0-2, P Flynn 0-1.
BALLINCOLLIG: D Keohane; M Donovan, S Dore, C Lyons; R O'Connor (c); S O'Donoghue, H Ahearne; B Keating, T O'Connell; D Ebili, J Dwyer, C O'Driscoll; M Oldham, D O'Sullivan, D O'Mahony.
IBANE GAELS: F Wycherly; M Wycherly, J Moloney, M Ryan; S O'Riordan, J Lawton, C Dineen; S Henchion, F Walsh; S Walsh, A Guinevan, M Holland; G Sweetnam, A McSweeney, R O'Donovan.
Subs: P Flynn for Sweetnam (h-t), T Ó Buachalla for Holland (45).
Referee: M O'Mahony (Kilbrittain).