Courcey Rovers 4-14 Ballincollig 1-8
COURCEY Rovers got the defence of their SE Systems Senior Championship crown off to a perfect start was they were too strong for Ballincollig in a hard tough battle in Coachford.
The scoreline doesn’t reflect the intensity of the game and it wasn’t until the closing quarter that Courceys gained a firm grip and closed it out to ensure their advancement.
In a game where the brilliance of Cork captain Linda Collins was evident, the champions had to work hard before shaking off the challenge posed by a Ballincollig side who battled all through. Goals proved vital and three from Collins helped send Courcey’s to round four while Ballincollig have a second bite of the cherry next weekend.
Ballincollig asked the hard questions from the throw-in as they took the game to the favourites. Linda Dorgan opened their challenge at lightning speed with a neat point and with Sinead O'Callaghan converting two frees and Olivia O’Leary adding one they led by four points 10 minutes in.
Courceys got off the mark with a Collins point but it was Ballincollig who maintained the upper hand with an Elaine Casey goal, after she flicked to the net when Courceys keeper Sinead O’Reilly looked to have the situation under control.
From the puck-out Collins led the Courceys revival as she gathered possession and went on one of her trademark solo runs, leaving defenders in her wake before sending an unstoppable shot to the net.
The goal settled Courceys and striking three points without reply they were now moving well. Their defence was in control now and linking up well with their attack they worked ball out to their midfielders where Jacinta Crowley and Elaine O’Reilly were impressive.
O'Callaghan edged Ballincollig back in from but it was to be the last time they led as Collins had another 1-2 before the break to put Courceys 2-6 to 1-5 up.
A much focused more Courceys had four points without reply through Collins and Crowley, while at the other end Ballincollig met strong resistance from a solid rearguard. At the second water break it was 3-11 to 1-6, after Collins completed her hat-trick.
Ballincollig battled to stem the tide but the champions had too much strength and with Crowley sending a long-range free to the net the game was over as a contest, Courcey’s head to round four while Ballincollig await Douglas or Enniskeane game.
L Collins 3-5, J Crowley 1-8 (1-6 f), F Keating 0-1.
S O’Callaghan 0-4 (0-3 f), E Casey 1-0, L Dorgan, O O’Leary, S Coomey, T Buttimer 0-1 each.
S O’Reilly; O Twomey, C Hayes, G O’Reilly; A O’Reilly, A Moloney, G Hannon; J Crowley (c), Elaine O'Reilly, Eimear O'Reilly, E O’Regan, S McCarthy; L Collins, C O’Neill, F Keating.
L Collins for E O’Regan (42), E Maguire for C O’Neill (45), O O’Mahony for E O’Reilly (50), L Crowley for G Hannon (57).
A Hartnett; E O’Connell, S Buckley, S Keating; A Cotter, S Coomey (c), O Keating; N O’Brien, M Healy; T Buttimer, S O’Callaghan, H O’Leary; E Casey, L Dorgan, O O’Leary.
L Weste for O O’Leary (45).
Mick Walsh (Barryroe).