Hurling joy for Ballincollig Community School after gutsy comeback

Hurling joy for Ballincollig Community School after gutsy comeback
The Ballincollig Community School team with coaches Ciarán O'Sullivan, Mark Prendergast, Stephen Coughlan and Johnny Dwyer, after their Cork Senior C hurling victory.

BALLINCOLLIG Community School had to fight from five points down to claim the Cork Senior C title from Carrigaline CS.

A haul of 2-4 from Cork’s Tadhg O’Connell was critical to the 3-12 to 1-12 win under floodlights, with Cloughduv’s Stephen O’Donoghue scoring the other goal and cutting a sideline over the bar.

BCS were impressive throughout the field, as ’keeper Evan Cunningham, Josh Cotter and Jack O’Sullivan at the heart of the defence, Colin O’Leary and Stephen Lenihan at midfield, and captain Mark Kelleher in the 11 slot, provided a solid spine.

The clinical free-taking of Conor Fitzgerald had Carrigaline in charge at the break having played with a strong wind, 0-9 to 0-4, while it was 1-9 to 0-6 early in the second half after a Fionn Herlihy goal. Points from Lenihan, O’Donoghue and Kelleher trimmed the gap before O’Donoghue rose high to catch and bury the ball past Billy Ronan to level the game.

Ballincollig Community School captain Mark Kelleher with the Cork Senior C hurling trophy.
Ballincollig Community School captain Mark Kelleher with the Cork Senior C hurling trophy.

Cunnigham was providing a platform with his puck-outs, while Cotter, flanked by Jack Hurley and Ryan O’Neill, shut down Carrigaline’s threat up top. With Sean Ahern and Seamus Lordan hurling the world of ball from the wings, BCS gained control and a clever O’Connell finish to the net put them in front.

Dara Dorgan chipped in with a couple of vital points while his work-rate, along with the contributions of Evan Lucey, Seán Quinlivan and subs Scott McIlroy and Brian Lowney, was crucial.

They sealed the deal when Kelleher won possession under pressure and fed O’Connell on the 45. The Ballincollig attacker took off past three defenders and drilled home.

Tadhg O'Connell. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Tadhg O'Connell. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

The triumph was a fitting reward for the effort put in by the teachers, Ciarán O’Sullivan, who captained Ballincollig hurlers to the intermediate county in 2018, Stephen Coughlan and Mark Prendergast, and club-schools coach Johnny Dwyer. They had beaten St Colman’s and De La Salle Macroom to get to the decider.

While BCS has a small pick, there was a great spread in clubs represented in the starting 15: Ballincollig, Inniscarra, Éire Óg, Cloughduv, Valley Rovers and Gleann na Laoi. A number of those hurlers were involved when the Ballincollig school won a historic Munster U16.5 trophy in 2017.

Celebration time for Ballincollig Community School hurlers after their Cork Senior C victory.
Celebration time for Ballincollig Community School hurlers after their Cork Senior C victory.

BALLINCOLLIG CS (starting 15): Evan Cunningham (Inniscarra); Jack Hurley (Valley Rovers), Josh Cotter (Ballincollig), Ryan O’Neill (Ballincollig); Sean Ahern (Inniscarra), Jack O’Sullivan (do), Seamus Lordan (Éire Óg); Colin O’Leary (Inniscarra), Stephen Lenihan (do); Evan Lucey (Gleann na Laoi), Mark Kelleher (Éire Óg), Dara Dorgan (Ballincollig); Tadhg O’Connell (Ballincollig), Stephen O’Donoghue (Cloughduv), Sean Quinlivan (Inniscarra).

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