BY full-time, Ballincollig had nine points to spare over Kilbrittain in the IHC quarter-final in Bandon on Saturday night.
However, Danny Dwyer’s outfit were a little slow out of the traps in the first-half trailing 0-5 to 0-2 inside 12 minutes. At that remove, Ballincollig needed leaders just to swing the pendulum back in their favour. Cian Dorgan, scorer of 0-10, stepped up and drove Dwyer’s team into the semi-final.
Another man, however, that produced a significant moment 14 minutes into the opening half was Liam Jennings.
Noted more as a full-back over the years, Jennings is presently reinventing his game at centre-back and popped up with an inspirational score which helped kick-start Ballincollig’s second-quarter dominance.
Jennings admitted his side were nervous in the opening quarter, but was encouraged by how they turned the screw thereafter.
“We were cautious of Kilbrittain,” Jennings mused. “They had beaten us twice in the last five years and the goals we conceded tonight were soft which kind of put us back a bit. We never really got going, I suppose, until the second half. We actually seemed fairly nervous in the opening 10 minutes.
“We haven’t played, though, in about five or six weeks so that was probably the reason for that. We have put a lot into the football and hurling over the last few weeks so we’re just happy to get over the line as Kilbrittain are a really tough team.”
Ballincollig, however, will be quietly content with the fact they had an extra gear or two if so required. Jennings, agreeing with that sentiment, stressed, however, they will need those gears at the next stage, given the intense level of competition.
“Yeah, I think so. We will need them, though, as the sides that are left in the championship are serious outfits. Most of our lads play senior football but we’ve been putting in a big effort now in the hurling trying to do ourselves justice because we’ve gotten knocked out in the earlier rounds previously.
“Danny Dwyer and the lads have put in a massive effort so we’re just here, trying to do our best and improve the whole time if we can. If it wasn’t for the Dwyers there would probably be no hurling in Ballincollig, that’s how important they are. They put in really great work and he has a good team with him there.
“We know that this performance won’t do in the next round against an even better team so we’ll need those gears, for sure,” he stated.
Jennings acknowledged the wonderful performances of Cian Dorgan and Eoin Hegarty.
“I have to give a special mention to Cian and Eoin. They were outstanding again for us.
“Without Dorgan I don’t think we’d be winning much. He’s a special talent. Dave Kenny and James O’Leary were also excellent there,” he added.