Ballinhassig edge a thrilling PIHC tie against Valley Rovers in super style

Ballinhassig edge a thrilling PIHC tie against Valley Rovers in super style
Valleys' Eoin Delaney and John Cottrell giving chase Richard Lombard for Ballinhassig in Sunday's hurling clash. Picture: Denis Boyle

Ballinhassig 1-16 Valley Rovers 0-17

YOU would be hard-pressed to find a better game of hurling than this thriller in sunny Riverstick on Sunday afternoon. 

A derby game that produced outstanding fare, and in the end Ballinhassig held out to take the points in the Co-Op Superstores Cork Premier IHC Group B1.

The sides were level six times in a pulsating second half before Ballinhassig pulled away with substitute Cillian Tyers and Richard Lombard nailing those late important points.

Valley Rovers have held the upper hand in this rivalry in recent years, but yesterday Ballinhassig came with intent, taking the match to their opponents from the off.

They had their noses in front at the break, 1-8 to 0-7 after dictating the opening 30 minutes. Six points to four ahead before a major turning point in the 20th minute when Fintan O’Leary found the net capitalising on a lengthy delivery from goalkeeper Patrick Collins.

William Hurley jumping for the ball ahead of Ballinhassig's Richard Lombard and Charlie Grainger. Picture Denis Boyle
William Hurley jumping for the ball ahead of Ballinhassig's Richard Lombard and Charlie Grainger. Picture Denis Boyle

Then, at the other end as Jack Walsh was about to unleash a goal bound shot, he was brilliantly blocked out for a 65 which Chris O’Leary converted – O’Leary landed four of the Rovers tally from placed balls.

The second half had it all. Valley Rovers hit back with six unanswered points, all but one from play to lead. The match was nip and tuck, Valley’s substitute Cormac Desmond won a penalty which Patrick Collins saved from Chris O’Leary, 1-11 to 0-14.

Five minutes from time, Fintan O’Leary was upended but Patrick Collins blasted the penalty wide.

Such drama.

Colm Butler kept Valley Rovers in touch but Ballinhassig never panicked.

Ballincollig and Watergrasshill complete this group.

Scorers for Ballinhassig: F O’Leary (1-1), R Lombard and M Collins (0-3 each), G Collins (frees), C Reynolds and C Tyers (0-2 each), D O’Donovan (65), S O’Neill and C Desmond (0-1 each).

Valley Rovers: C Butler (0-7, 0-4 frees), C O’Leary (0-4, 0-3 frees, 0-1 65), J Cottrell and A Kenneally (0-2 each), E O’Reilly and C Desmond (0-1 each).

BALLINHASSIG: P Collins; J Reardon, Chris Reynolds, M Desmond (Capt); C Desmond, D O’Donovan, B Lombard; S McCarthy, S O’Neill; Colin Reynolds, M Collins, R Lombard; G Collins, F O’Leary, C Grainger.

Subs: M Sheehan for B Lombard (38), C Tyers for C Grainger (45), E Lombard for Chris Reynolds (55), E Cullinane for F O’Leary (60).

VALLEY ROVERS: D Looney; T O’Brien, D Lynch (Capt), E Delaney; M O’Leary, C O’Leary, W Hurley; N O’Donovan, J Lynch; J Cottrell, J Walsh, R O’Sullivan; E O’Reilly, A Kenneally, C Butler.

Subs: C Desmond for R O’Sullivan (half time), C Kilduff for A Kenneally (45), S O’Regan for J Lynch (50), G Farrell for E O’Reilly (60).

Referee: Mark Maher (St Finbarr’s).

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