A SUPER team display saw Ballincollig beat last year’s U16 champions in the Premier 1 Minor Hurling Championship opener on Friday night.
Na Piarsaigh looked out of sorts in the opening 18 minutes as they failed to match the physical power of their opponents despite only trailing by the minimum at the break. Collig’s Brian Dore, Pete Kelly and David O’Leary anchored their defence well, Theo Morgan and Ben O’Connell worked very hard at midfield, with Eoin Dwyer and Sean O’Neill getting key scores up front.
Piarsaigh stayed in the game for long spells thanks to the free-taking of Cork minor Ross O’Sullivan and two classy scores from Padraig Hosford but never gained control or got ahead.
The opening minutes belonged to Ballincollig with O’Neill getting them up and running in the third minute. A minute later the same player got in behind but was denied by the alertness of Na Piarsaigh’s keeper Jonathan McSweeney.
Ballincollig talisman Dwyer struck over the first of his eight placed balls in the sixth minute as Na Piarsaigh were starved of possession.
It took 11 minutes before O’Sullivan registered their opening point and when Hosford split the posts six minutes later the deficit was reduced to two points.
O’Sullivan added his second in the 18th minute but he should have done better with five minutes remaining to the interval when despite being fouled he was given the advantage but his tame shot was parried to safety for a 65.
Despite winning the majority of the dirty ball, Ballincollig were struggling in the scoring department but the free-taking of Dwyer ensured they went in at the break leading by the minimum 0-6 to 0-5.
Dwyer restarted with another point from a placed ball, three minutes into the restart, but they were almost punished a minute later when O’Sullivan ran at their defence and just when he was about to pull the trigger he was hauled to the ground by full-back Dore.
The Ballincollig player rightfully received a yellow card but that proved to be the last clear chance that the Farranree outfit would get for the remaining 25 minutes.
Credit to Ballincollig, they gained control in the majority of key positions and in the closing 10 minutes they tore Na Piarsaigh to shreds.
Up to this period, they had only scored two points from play but coming down the stretch they found their scoring touch with four sublime white flags from play.
Sean O’Neill showed class to strike a monstrous point in the 51st minute that was followed by similar efforts from Theo Morgan, Pete Kelly and sub Adam Dodd.
Early days to making predictions about this championship but Ballincollig are off to the ideal start in a group also containing Douglas and Fermoy, with the city side winning the opening game there.
In Group 2, Glen Rovers were too strong for Midleton and Valley Rovers edged out Sars.