Boherbue 3-8 Ballinhassig 2-8
BOHERBUE landed the Bon Secours Junior A Football Championship for the first time as they defeated a spirited Ballinhassig in an enthralling final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday afternoon.
A sensational display by Denis McCarthy which saw him score 1-5 of his side’s total on the day, helped his club claim the silverware at the expense of a Ballinhassig team that just fell a goal short despite a great effort from Diarmuid O’Sullivan, who tallied 1-7.
After capturing five divisional titles in a row, and a number of crushing defeats in the county series, Boherbue finally got over the line on the big occasion.
The Duhallow side, beaten in the delayed 2020 decider back in the summer, settled into this showpiece occasion quicker than their rivals and they were first to get on the scoreboard when centre-forward McCarthy expertly fired his free over the bar.
That was quickly cancelled out though when his opposite number Diarmuid O’Sullivan followed his example with a converted free of his own at the other end in the fifth minute.
But the men from West Cork remained in control of proceedings and they soon rose the first green flag of the game with corner-forward Alan O’Connor doing the honours as he collected McCarthy’s clever handpass before charging past the keeper and slotting into the back of the net at the city end, 1-1 to 0-1 after just six minutes.
Alan O’Connor from play and McCarthy from a free would add a point each to their tally before the first water break of an incredibly chilly evening down the Pairc but two further frees and a superb point from play by their centre-forward Diarmuid O’Sullivan kept Ballinhassig firmly in the hunt, 1-3 to 0-4.
O’Connor and McCarthy repeated the trick in the second quarter but they would be the only points Boherbue would add before the half time break.
Ballinhassig, on the other hand, would split the uprights through Darren Delea before they grabbed the goal that ensured the sides were level at the interval at 1-5 apiece.
Brian Lynch’s surging run took him into the penalty but after he was fouled as he tried to apply the finish, the referee signalled for a penalty allowing O’Sullivan to blast the ball into the bottom left corner.
But just moments into the second half the official again had his arms outstretched to award another penalty but on this occasion, it went Boherbue’s way with Jerry O’Connor emphatically blasting the ball into the roof of the net.
The sides swapped scores before another McCarthy point ensured Boherbue led by four heading into the final quarter, 2-7 to 1-6.
Ballinhassig came out firing after the final water break as they knew their hopes of winning the cup for the first time in their history were starting to dwindle.
They reduced the deficit to the minimum with 12 minutes remaining when Eddie Finn expertly fired the ball past the keeper but just a matter of seconds later they switched off at the back and Denis McCarthy punished them to the fullest as he drilled the ball into the back of the net in front of the Blackrock terrace, 3-7 to 2-6.
Ballinhassig battled until the end but a couple of bad wides meant they only ever got themselves to within a goal of Boherbue, who hung on to seal the win, land the cup, and progress to the Munster Championship next weekend.