Ballyhea 1-14 Kanturk 0-14
A STRONG finish to the first-half followed by an excellent second-half saw Ballyhea stun Kanturk at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday night.
Having been one of the favourites for relegation at the outset of the season and hammered by Blackrock in round one, the Avondhu outfit are now senior in 2020 having reached the quarter-finals. Inspired by veterans Maurice O'Sullivan and Barry Coleman, goalscorer John Morrissey and wing-back Liam O'Connor, among others, they followed up their victory over Bride Rovers by once more upsetting the odds.
For much of the first-half Kanturk were much the better side and when they moved four points looked like they could win well. Sean Carey was very lively, Paul Walsh and Lorcán McLoughlin were in control at the back and Darren Browne had Pa O'Callaghan tied down.
But from the 26th minute to half-time, Ballyhea outscored them 0-5 to 0-1 and went in at the break level. Morrissey and Maurice O'Sullivan started to shine, scoring three between them in that vital stage.
Kanturk will look back on this as a game that got away, the tally of 15 wides cost them.
With eight minutes gone Kanturk were unlucky not to goal when Carey put Liam O'Keeffe in, but his effort went narrowly wide but they were still in the driving seat when Ian Walsh, Lorcán McLoughlin and three from Carey had 0-6 to 0-2 in front.
With 25 minutes gone a superb save from Ballyhea keeper Mikey Browne denied James Fitzpatrick a goal and this woke his side up. Points from John Morrissey and O'Sullivan put two between the sides, Ian Walsh responded but an O'Callaghan free followed by points from Eugene O'Leary and O'Sullivan left it 0-8 apiece at half-time.
Carey, a free, and Daniel O'Connell put Kanturk back two in front before O'Sullivan reduced the deficit with a simply magnificent effort from a sideline. Mark Healy and another Carey free left Kanturk 0-12 to 0-9 up.
But with 42 minutes gone Morrissey took on the Kanturk defence, skipped past several players and batted to the back of the net: level again. Straight from the re-start, Ballyhea went in front for the first time, when Eugene O'Leary scored, and you could see their players gain massive energy and drive from this.
O'Callaghan added a lovely score on the run to put them two up, with Ian Walsh responding. Ballyhea had the upper hand though, helped by the move of Cailean Cox on to Lorcán McLoughlin at half-time.
Two points from O'Sullivan made it 1-13 to 0-13, with time running out as Kanturk went in search of the goal they needed to take it to extra-time, with Aidan Walsh now at the edge of the square and Lorcán also hurling further up the pitch.
Yet a brilliant point from distance by Morrissey put four between the sides and virtually secured the win for his side.
Kanturk had two late chances, including a sideline in by Carey that was caught by James Fitzpatrick, but his effort went wide. Carey pointed a late free as they hoped to win the puck-out and get one last chance.
But the final whistle went and with it went their chances as Ballyhea deservedly moved on to the quarter-finals as they mirrored Carrigtwohill's achievements up surprising everyone by making it to the latter stages of the competition.
Scorers for Ballyhea: J Morrissey 1-2, M O'Sullivan 0-6 (0-1 sl), P O'Callaghan 0-4 (0-3 f), E O'Leary 0-2.
Kanturk: S Carey 0-6 (0-3 f), I Walsh 0-3, A Walsh, L McLoughlin, L O'Neill, D O'Connell, M Healy 0-1 each.
BALLYHEA: M Browne; O O'Sullivan, M Morrissey, A Barrett; L O'Connor, B Coleman, L Hanley; J Morrissey, K Copps; M O'Sullivan, P O'Callaghan, C Cox; T Hanley, G Morrissey, E O'Leary.
Sub: T Foley for O O'Sullivan (inj, h-t).
KANTURK: A Nash; J McLoughlin, L Cashman, P Walsh; A Sheehy, D Browne, L McLoughlin; L O'Neill, M Healy; I Walsh, S Carey, J Fitzpatrick; A Walsh, R Walsh, L O'Keeffe.
Subs: D O'Connell for L O'Keeffe (29), C Clernon for R Walsh (52).
Referee: Joe Larkin (Ballinora).