Ballincollig hurling is on the rise

Ballincollig hurling is on the rise
Ballincollig's Rory O'Doherty wheels away to celebrate a point against Mayfield. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

THEY dubbed it ‘Super Saturday’ in Ballincollig.

The club’s U16s won the Premier 2 final against St Colman’s at lunch-time in Páirc Uí Rinn and later that evening at the same venue their intermediates dug out a three-point win over Mayfield in the county semi-final.

While Ballincollig have enormous potential on the hurling front they’ve underachieved in recent years. Saturday brings them one step closer to where they want to be – competing at the top level in all grades. It was the club’s third U16 county final in a row and Conor Cronin’s charges made it back-to-back successes.

For Danny Dwyer’s intermediates, they went one better than last season, when they fell to rivals Éire Óg in the last four. There won’t be an IHC rematch though, Blackrock’s second string were hugely impressive in beating the Ovens side last Friday night.

“We’ve a lot to do before we play in the county final,” concedes Dwyer, whose family are synonymous with hurling in ‘The Village’. “They beat a very good Éire Óg side. The Rockies won three U21 counties, minor counties and at U14 and U16 as well. They’d be the envy of any club with what they’ve won at underage over the last 10 years and obviously it’s paying off for them now.”

Celebration time for Ballincollig's U16s after defeating St Colman's. Picture Denis Minihane.
Celebration time for Ballincollig's U16s after defeating St Colman's. Picture Denis Minihane.

Ballincollig are putting ferocious work at underage in their own patch, with Danny’s brother John – the Cork U21 coach – involved at schools level. The fruits of that were seen on Saturday, not just at U16, but in the intermediates.

“We’ve a very good blend I feel. Robbie Bourke was a Cork minor two years ago and Karl Walsh and Ross O’Donovan are only out of minor and they were all outstanding for us. Karl had a few wides but you wouldn’t mind that, he was everywhere, in the thick of it all.

Podge Duggan tackles Ballincollig's Robbie Bourke. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Podge Duggan tackles Ballincollig's Robbie Bourke. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

“Seán Walsh came off the bench and got three points from play and we all know the ability he has as well.

“I feel we’ve a good blend. Obviously Rory O’Doherty played on the team that last won the intermediate county in 1999 but if you look at our older lads most of them aren’t 30 yet. Liam Jennings, Ciarán O’Sullivan and JP Murphy have great experience but they’re still fresh.”

It didn’t go according to plan for Dwyer and his selectors Tom Weste, Donie Hegarty, Don Walshe and Paul O’Connor earlier in the campaign. They coughed up a lead to fall short against Meelin in their opener and needed a replay to beat Midleton in round three.

“We know what we’ve shown so far won’t be enough against Blackrock. We’d too many wides against Mayfield (13 to five) but I thought we worked the ball better in the second half. You have to be at your best to win a county final.”

Ballincollig manager Danny Dwyer. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Ballincollig manager Danny Dwyer. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Ballincollig, along with Glen Rovers, are top of the intermediate roll of honour with seven titles. Their last was in ’99 but that was before there was a premier tier. Promotion to senior won’t be at stake against the Rockies but that doesn’t lessen the significance of the clash for the Muskerry club.

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