A POWERFUL performance from Midleton saw them outclass Ballincollig in this Premier 1 U21 HC quarter-final on the 4G pitch at Páirc Uí Chaoimh yesterday.
They held a four-point lead at the break after playing into a strong wind and always looked comfortable on the ball.
Perhaps the scoreline was slightly unfair to Ballincollig in the end as they were only four points behind after 45 minutes. But the floodgates opened in the final quarter as Midleton cut loose with sub Aaron Mulcahy landing three beautiful points in an impressive cameo.
Middleton raced into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead in the opening exchanges with Garan Manley showing great skill with a brace. Ballincollig were defending heroically with Gearoid O’Donoghue clearing his lines superbly while Paul Cooney landed two 65s to settle his side.
But the Magpies were relentless and a superb run from Cork U20 star Tommy O’Connell set up Sean O’Meara for a superb goal. Ballincollig responded well and moments later Ben Keohane found the net after Midleton’s outstanding goalkeeper Alan Power denied Evan Cooke with a great save.
Midleton finished the half well with Manley landing a beauty and another for Ross O’Regan left it 1-9 to 1-5 at halftime.
On the resumption, the magpies landed points from Cian Farmer and Manley (free) while a placed effort from Tommy O’Connell stretched their lead to six points. But Ballincollig’s Paul Cooney was denied by a top-quality save from Power.
Points from Sean Walsh and Karl Walsh reduced the gap to four as Ballincollig briefly threatened a comeback. But Midleton powered home with Manley (3), Mulcahy (3), Tommy O’Connell and Sam Quirke all landing points while subs Paul Connaughton got their second goal with the final play.