SAHC: Eugene O'Leary and Pa O'Callaghan on form as Ballyhea beat Ballymartle

O'Callaghan hit a goal for the winners, with O'Leary firing over 0-7 from play
SAHC: Eugene O'Leary and Pa O'Callaghan on form as Ballyhea beat Ballymartle

All eyes on Ballyhea's Eugene O'Leary bursting past Ballymartle's Eoin Healy during the Co-Op Superstores SAHC at Grenagh. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Ballyhea 1-22 Ballymartle 0-12 

BALLYHEA got off the mark in the Co-Op Superstores Cork Senior A Hurling Championship with a well-deserved win over Ballymartle in Grenagh on Saturday afternoon.

In a contest that was played in wet and difficult conditions for hurling, Ballyhea adjusted the better and overall looked that bit more clinical on the day.

On a general level, Ballyhea will hope it is a sign of things to come in the 2022 championship.

Ballymartle opened the scoring in the fifth minute through a free by Eoghan O’Leary. But from there Ballyhea set the wheels in motion for a strong opening half, as they got eight of the next 10 scores in the game to lead 0-8 to 0-3 after 25 minutes of the contest played.

Pa O’Callaghan proved to be a reliable scoring weapon for Ballyhea throughout this encounter. A former Cork underage hurler, O’Callaghan very much showcases glimpses of his quality on a number of occasions throughout the sixty minutes or so of action.

He provided an early glimpse of what was to follow through two well-taken frees in the opening 10 minutes, with Eugene O’Leary chipping in with a number of lovely scores.

Ballyhea ended the first half the stronger, as O’Callaghan made a further contribution to the scoring for his side with a neatly taken point from play. At the break, Ballyhea held a strong advantage with the score at this stage at 0-11 to 0-5.

Ballymartle could very easily have reduced the gap to a much closer one had chances been taken. They saw a penalty by Darren McCarthy saved impressively from Ballyhea goalkeeper Mikey Browne.

Another goal opportunity went amiss through a chance by Kenneth O’Callaghan, who fired wide from a fantastic position in front of the goal.

Just like the first half, Ballymartle got the opening point of the second half when Eoin Healy scored a long range free.

But it was not to stem the tide and the Ballyhea momentum. O’Callaghan and O’Leary slotted over the crossbar with pristine efforts.

Then in the 39th minute, Ballyhea found the back of the net. Catching the ball straight from a puck-out by Browne, O’Callaghan kept his composure and fired the ball home with a cool strike.

Ballyhea's Pa O'Callaghan wins the sliotar from Ballymartle's Seamus Corry. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Ballyhea's Pa O'Callaghan wins the sliotar from Ballymartle's Seamus Corry. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Ballymartle to their credit refused to throw in the towel and continued to believe they could somehow turn this around. They added to their scoring tally through Simon Dorney, Darren McCarthy and a Brian Corry point.

By the time the game headed into the closing stages, it was Ballyhea that sprinted home powerfully to the finishing line and clinched the win.

Maurice O’Sullivan got in on the scoring act for his side with a well-taken effort. While the impressive combination of O’Callaghan and O’Leary continued to work a treat from a Ballyhea perspective.

In second-half stoppage time, there was time for O’Callaghan to strike another score for a free. He was someone very much on top of his game on this particular Saturday afternoon.

But Ballyhea will have been more than satisfied with the overall performance of their side, especially very much so because of the poor weather conditions on the day.

A good way for Ballyhea overall to get off the mark in the 2022 championship. They will be hoping this bright start can be the catalyst for a strong championship campaign ahead.

Scorers for Ballyhea: P O’Callaghan 1-11 (0-8 f, 0-1 65), E O’Leary 0-7, Jack Morrissey 0-2, John Morrissey, M O’Sullivan 0-1 each.

Ballymartle: D McCarthy 0-4 f, B Corry, S Dorney, M Higgins 0-2 each, E Healy (f), E O’Leary 0-1 each. 

BALLYHEA: M Browne; A Barrett, M Morrissey, L Hanley; C Cox, Tom Hanley, Tiernan Hanley; J Copps, M O’Sullivan; John Morrissey, P O’Callaghan, G Morrissey; Jack Morrissey, E O’Leary, C Hanley.

Subs: D Copps for T Hanley (50), D Curtin for C Hanley (53).

BALLYMARTLE: P Allen; R Stewart, E Healy, C Coleman; L Corry, S Corry, C Allen; E O’Leary, S Dorney; P Dorney, J Dwyer, D Desmond; D McCarthy, B Corry, S Cummins.

Subs: K O’Callaghan for McCarthy (22, inj), M Higgins for Cummins (HT).

Referee: Pat Lyons (Bishopstown).

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