PIHC: Sean O'Donoghue on song as Inniscarra knock out Ballinhassig

Cork vice-captain fired over 0-5 as Scarra reached the Premier Intermediate Hurling final
PIHC: Sean O'Donoghue on song as Inniscarra knock out Ballinhassig

Inniscarra's Colm Casey and Ballinhassig's Michael Collins in a tussle for the ball in the Co-op Superstores Cork PIHC at Cloughduv. Picture: Denis Minihane.

Inniscarra 1-18 Ballinhassig 1-15 

INNISCARRA have qualified for the Co-Op SuperStores Premier IHC final, following a rip-roaring semi-final battle with Ballinhassig at Cloughduv on Saturday evening. 

It looked like Ballinhassig would edge it, but Colm Casey’s goal in the 58th minute was crucial for Inniscarra, and they held their nerve in injury time to book a place in the decider.

Ballinhassig were aided by the wind in the first half, but fell behind after a minute, as Owen McCarthy pointed a free for the Muskerry side. Ballinhassig, nicknamed the Blues, levelled, a brilliant Ger Collins effort, following a pass by the goalkeeper, his brother Pa Collins. It was a keenly contested opening half, with sides exchanging scores on a number of occasions. The teams were level at 0-3 apiece after 10 minutes.

Inniscarra used the ball more confidently in the first half, and looked dangerous going forward led on by Sean O’Donoghue, he played a part in a neat team move, but Dan O’Connell was only able to find the side netting. Darragh O’Sullivan nudged the Blues ahead, but three Scarra points gave them breathing space. 

Ballinhassig got a badly needed score following a number of wides, three minutes before the break, through a Brian Lynch free, their first score in 15 minutes, 0-6 to 0-5 after 27 minutes. The sides scored two each of the next four points, the last score was an inspirational free from Pa Collins deep in his own half to reduce the lead to a point at the break, 0-8 to 0-7.

Ballinhassig's Conor Desmond being chased by Inniscarra players Liam Ryan and Jack Harrington. Picture: Denis Minihane.
Ballinhassig's Conor Desmond being chased by Inniscarra players Liam Ryan and Jack Harrington. Picture: Denis Minihane.

The opening ten minutes of the new half followed the pattern of the first half, tit for tat with two honest teams going at it. The winners held a slender 0-12 to 0-10 advantage, but Conor Desmond, who really came alive in the second half buried the ball low into the net, following a pass by sub Eddie Finn. 

The Muskerry side didn’t panic and were ahead once again, as sub Kieran Rice and Colm Casey landed efforts, 0-14 to 1-10 with 12 minutes remaining.

But the pendulum swung once more, Ballinhassig hit four of the next five points to lead 1-14 to 0-15. Pa Collins monster free the pick of the bunch.

Just as Ballinhassig thought they had done enough with minutes remaining, Casey rattled the back of the Ballinhassig net, the ball came off the post, and the latter was in the right place and made no mistake. Desmond levelled matters, but injury-time points from McCarthy (2) and a Joseph Enright effort sent Scarra into the final.

Scorers for Inniscarra: O McCarthy 0-7 f, S O’Donoghue 0-5, C Casey 1-2, K Rice 0-2, J Enright, F O’Leary 0-1 each.

Ballinhassig: C Desmond 1-5 (0-3 f), P Collins 0-3 f, G Collins 0-3, D O’Sullivan 0-2 (0-1 f), E Cullinane 0-1, B Lynch 0-1 f.

INNISCARRA: J O’Keeffe; C Lombard, B O’Mahony, J O’Sullivan; J Harrington, L Ryan, S Sheehan; J Enright, S O’Mahony; C Casey, S O’Donoghue, F O’Leary; D O’Keeffe, D O’Connell, O McCarthy.

Subs: K Rice for D O’Connell (41), D Keane for J O’Sullivan (51), S Quinlivan for S O’Mahony (64), S Buckley for C Lombard (67).

BALLINHASSIG: P Collins; P O’Leary, M Desmond, J Reardon; S McCarthy, D O’Donovan, B Lynch; M Collins, E Lombard; E Cullinane, G Collins, C Grainger; S O’Neill, C Desmond, D O’Sullivan.

Subs: M Sheehan for B Lynch (h-t), E Finn for D O’Sullivan (42), F O’Leary for S O’Neill (43), G Kirby for E Cullinane (47), K Maguire for E Lombard (50).

Referee: Niall O’Neill (Midleton).

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