O'Donovan Rossa dug it out after bruising battle with Ballincollig

O'Donovan Rossa dug it out after bruising battle with Ballincollig

Mark Collins takes on Colm O’Connell, Ballincollig. Picture: Denis Boyle

O’Donovan Rossa 0-12 Ballincollig 0-10

TWO late Donal Óg Hodnett frees earned O’Donovan Rossa victory over Ballincollig in the final opening round tie of the SFC at a sun-kissed Ballinascarthy yesterday.

A war of attrition saw the west Cork side come out on top at the conclusion of an entertaining encounter in which the teams were level on nine occasions.

The wind was a big factor during a hard-hitting contest in which Ballincollig led 0-9 to 0-8 at the interval, but the second period belonged to O’Donovan Rossa. 

The eventual winners — aided by the breeze — restricted their opponents to a single point after the break and their cause was helped by Luke Fahy’s dismissal following a red card with 20 minutes to go.

Kevin Davis’ accuracy from frees, Elliot Connolly’s pace, and Mark Collins’ work-rate helped pin their opponents back for much of the second half. Not even Pa Kelly’s late introduction was enough to inspire a misfiring Ballincollig who conceded two late frees from which Donal Óg Hodnett converted to send the Skibbereen side through.

An incident-packed afternoon began with Rossa’s Dylan Hourihane receiving a black card inside three minutes. The opening quarter was free-flowing and packed with fine scores but it was Skibbereen who led 0-5 to 0-4 thanks to Kevin Davis, Mark Collins, and Thomas Hegarty’s ability to split the posts after 15 minutes. 

Ballincollig rattled off three consecutive points courtesy of the very impressive Darren Murphy and the half ended with the 2014 county champions a point clear after Kevin Davis (free) and Elliott Connolly exchanged scores with Sean Kiely and Murphy.

A much tighter second half produced two scores from open play as Rossa’s used the wind to dominate territory and possession. Kevin Browne made it 0-10 to 0-8 in Ballincollig’s favour but that would be the losers’ final score with 27 minutes to go.

Both sides spurned goal opportunities, and Ballincollig were reduced to 14 men before Davis (free) and a fisted Connolly levelled matters.

Deep into injury time, O’Donovan Rossa forced a turnover and won a free that Hodnett scored to edge his side in front. Then, the same player made sure of the west Cork side’s win with another converted free.

Scorers for O’Donovan Rossa: K Davis 0-5 f, D Óg Hodnett (f), M Collins and E Connolly 0-2 each and T Hegarty 0-1.

Ballincollig: D Murphy 0-5, C Kiely 0-2, C Dorgan (f), S Kiely and K Browne 0-1 each.

O’DONOVAN ROSSA: R Price; J O’Sullivan, S Fitzgerald, D O’Donovan; D Hazel, P Crowley, E Fitzgerald; R Byrne, C Fitzgerald; M Collins, D Hourihane, T Hegarty; K Davis, D Óg Hodnett (c), E Connolly.

Subs: K Hurley for D Hourihane (3, black card), E O’Connell for K Hurley (33,inj), S O’Driscoll for C Fitzgerald (39, inj), C Crowley for K Davis (55, inj).

BALLINCOLLIG: C Noonan; C Moore, L Jennings (c), S Murphy; JP Murphy, S O’Donoghue, L Fahy; S Kiely, C Kiely; K Browne, P O’Neill, K Coleman; R Noonan, C Dorgan, D Murphy.

Subs: C O’Connell for S Murphy (23, inj), R Bourke for JP Murphy (27, blood), Murphy for Bourke (29, blood), Bourke for S O’Donoghue (30, inj), P Kelly for K Browne (52).

Referee: P O’Driscoll (Bride Rovers)

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