BALLINCOLLIG avoided being the first high profile casualty in the Bon Secours sponsored county premier senior football championship by routing Clonakilty 2-17 to 1-10 in Enniskeane yesterday.
The 2014 champions duly delivered in a must-win game to keep alive their hopes of advancing from Group 1 following their first round loss to St Finbarr's.
Ballincollig now join Clon on two points with the Barrs on top on four after their 2-20 to 1-10 victory over bottom of the table Carrigaline.
In the final pool games, Ballincollig meet Carrigaline and it's Clon and the Barrs, who lifted the Andy Scannell Cup in 2018.
Ballincollig claimed the first seven points to lead 0-10 to 0-6 at half-time and second-half goals from a Cian Dorgan penalty and substitute Dara, his younger brother, clinched a convincing win.
“We knew we had to win,” said veteran star Pa Kelly, who was heavily involved.
“You always try to start well in games and things went well for us, balls starting to stick and the points went over.”
Dorgan's penalty, following a foul on Luke Fahy, who had to go off injured, was a big moment, according to Kelly.
“That put us six points in front again and we looked settled again, especially with Darren Murphy on form, but they got a penalty and we had Noel (Galvin) sent off.
“We knew once we didn't concede a second goal we'd be fine,” Kelly added.
Clon also finished with 14 players after Sean Nagle was shown a black card near the end of normal time and a closing 1-2 crowned an important victory for the Village.
Stephen Sherlock starred for the 'Barr's by scoring 1-11 and Cillian Myers Murray added the other goal.
Victory over Clon would give them a good chance of pocketing the only semi-final place as the best group winners.
On Saturday, Carbery Rangers, the 2016 champions, picked up the points in their must-win game against Ilen Rovers in Group 2, winning by 0-14 to 0-8.
The Rosscarbery club pulled away in the closing quarter as the fit-again John O'Rourke contributed 0-4 from play and Seamus Hayes 0-5, including three frees Champions Nemo Rangers flexed their muscles in a 2-17 to 0-6 win over Bishopstown to sit on top of Group 3 with four points from two outings.
The holders welcomed back Mark Cronin from injury and he posted a valuable 1-4 with brother Stephen claiming the opening goal in the first half.
Luke Connolly chipped in with 0-8, six frees, and Paul Kerrigan added two more.
In the senior A championship Mallow welcomed back Cork defender James Loughrey and key forward Cian O'Riordan for their 0-14 to 0-7 win over Eire Og.
Kiskeam remain top of the group after pipping Bantry Blues, who suffered a second defeat.