Ballincollig 0-12 Éire Óg 1-8
A POINT from Darren Murphy in the final minute of injury-time saw Ballincollig advance to the U21 Premier 1 football final at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday.
The Village emerged after a close battle with their near-neighbours, who had beaten them in the Muskerry final, with Murphy and former Cork minor Evan Cooke’s haul of 0-9 proving critical.
Before the winning score a key moment came in the 58th minute when Éire Óg were awarded a penalty for a foul on James O’Sullivan. Anthony O’Doherty’s effort was well-stopped by Ballincollig keeper, Shane Hogan, one of a number of top-class saves he made.
In fairness, few would have complained had it ended all-square and gone to extra-time. Instead the Collig face the winners of Kilshanning, the Barrs or St Michael’s next month.
Ballincollig captured the U21 county crown in 2009 and lost finals in 2010, to Castlehaven, and in 2014 to Nemo after a replay. This season their U16s were P1 championship while the minors fell short against Douglas after an exciting final.
They were level at half-time, with the likes of Evan Cooke, Luke Fahy and Darren Murphy working hard for Ballincollig. O’Doherty, John Cooper and Brian Hurley were the pick of the Éire Óg side. They had to line out without their Cork U20 player, Colm O’Callaghan, who was missing through injury, a huge loss.
Fahy opened the scoring in the first minute, with O’Doherty replying for Éire Óg, with two minutes gone. Murphy put his side back in front, before points from O’Doherty, Dylan Foley and Hurly made it 0-4 to 0-2 in the Ovens sides favour.
Murphy and Cooke levelled it, with Rian O’Flynn putting Éire Óg back in front.
Cooke scored just before half-time to see it level at 0-5 each at the break.
Karl Walsh put the Village in front, but a brilliant run from Hurley set up Foley for the only goal of the game, to make it 1-6 to 0-6 in favour of Éire Óg.
They could have had a second, but Hogan saved superbly to deny O’Doherty before O’Flynn pointed to put four between them.
But Ballincollig responded in style, with two from Cooke, followed by points from Steve Wills and Murphy to see them level again, with five minutes to go.
Cooke put Ballincollig back in front, with O’Doherty equalising, before Éire Óg were awarded a penalty.
The save lifted Ballincollig and Murphy duly supplied the winner to see them into the final in a few weeks.
Scorers for Ballincollig: E Cooke 0-5, D Murphy 0-4 (0-1 f), L Fahy, S Wills, K Walsh 0-1 each.
Éire Óg: D Foley 1-2 (0-1 f), A O’Doherty 0-3 f, R O’Flynn 0-2, B Hurley 0-1.
BALLINCOLLIG: S Hogan; S O’Neill, G O’Donoghue, K Spillane; R Bourke, K Crowley, J Murray; L Fahy, J O’Leary; K Walsh, E O’Reilly, E Cooke; F Denny, Darren Murphy, D Dorgan.
Subs: J O’Connor for E O’Reilly (44), S Wills for K Walsh (45), C O’Leary for J O’Leary (52), Danny Murphy for D Dorgan (55).
ÉIRE ÓG: E Kelleher; C Sheehan, J Kelleher, H Murphy; D Dineen, J Cooper, D Twomey; J Murphy, A O’Doherty; D Kirwan, C McGoldrick, R O’Flynn; J Cooper, D Foley, B Hurley.
Subs: S O’Flynn for C Sheehan (45), M Brady for C McGoldrick (49), J O’Sullivan for D Kirwan (55), M Kelleher for A O’Doherty (60).
Referee: Brian Coniry, Crosshaven.