BALLINCOLLIG battled back from four points down to lift the Rebel Óg P1 U15 Football title after this gripping final against Douglas at the Mardyke on Saturday afternoon.
This was a tense and compelling contest for the duration of the hour, with two impressive teams going all out. In the end goals from Filip Jozefowski and Seán Richmond were key for the Village, with captain Danny Miskella excelling in what was a brilliant team performance.
Ethan Donovan, keeper Caolán Walsh, Cian O'Connor, Tadhg Murphy, Eoghan Lynch, Cian Ahern and Kevin O'Leary all contributed handsomely as well to a superb win for the underdogs against the Féile champions.
Jack O'Brien was terrific for Douglas, as was his midfield partner Keelan Kavanagh, while Odhran Healy and Pádraig McCarthy took minding up top and Liam Kelleher anchored the team well from centre-back.
The opening half of play was a closely contested affair, with very little to separate the sides as they traded blow for blow.
After a tense first five minutes, Ballincollig got the opening score with Cian Ahern slotting over a lovely point.
The teams exchanged points as Mark O’Brien and Jack O’Brien got Douglas off the mark, while Ballincollig responded in kind courtesy of points from a Miskella free and Patrick McCarthy.
Both teams were very evenly matched by the time the contest hit 25 minutes on the clock, as Jack O’Brien drilled over another Douglas point from close range.
Caolán Walsh made a big save while favourites Douglas then had another decent goal opportunity, with Odhran Healy firing wide from close range. Matthew Thompson came close for Ballincollig.
Both sides were guilty of some poor shooting before Padraig McGrath's sweet score made it 0-4 to 0-3 at the break.
Douglas started the second half impressively and opened up a four-point lead, thanks to Eoin Gibson and a pair of Keelan Kavanagh efforts. They looked in firm control and the next score was going to be important for Tom Dorgan's side. A foul on the dangerous Sean Richmond was converted by Miskella which got the Collig back in the mix.
The game was then turned on its head when Ballincollig struck for two quick-fire goals.
First off, Filip Jozefowski found the back of the net with a point attempt that looped into the top corner as he was fouled, with the advantage rule being applied by referee Alec Gibbons.
It got even better from a Ballincollig perspective just a few minutes later. The ball was worked slickly into the path of Tadhg Murphy, who popped it to Richmond to blast the ball to the net from close range.
On the kick-out, Kevin O'Leary won possession and after Murphy was fouled, Miskella nailed a tricky free to give the Collig a five-point lead which put them in firm control as we approached the final quarter.
Douglas, who had won counties at U12 and U14, refused to yield and showed great character to get back in contention.
Marquee forward Mark O’Brien clipped over three points to trim the gap with the finishing line in sight.
Ballincollig dug deep.
Miskella and Richmond linked up for a critical score, and while O'Brien responded with a free, Miskella clipped over another pressure free to seal the win after Collig had held possession to run down the clock.
The full-time whistle was greeted by jubilant scenes of celebration from Ballincollig players and management alike, following up on the club's U15 P1 county victory last season too.
S Richmond 1-2, D Miskella 0-4 f, F Jozefowski 1-0, C Ahern, P McCarthy 0-1 each.
J O’Brien, M O’Brien (0-2 f) 0-3 each, K Kavanagh 0-2, E Gibson, P McGrath 0-1 each.
C Walsh; E Lynch, E O’Donovan, C Ward; A Rose, C O’Connor, P Rose; D Miskella (c), F Jozefowski; K O’Leary, C Ahern, T Murphy; P McCarthy, S Richmond, M Thompson.
C Duggan for Thompson (50).
J O’Flaherty; T Hayes C O’Donoghue, K O’Callaghan; J Mouret, L Kelleher (c), R Sweeney; K Kavanagh, J O’Brien; D Burke, M O’Brien, R O’Connor; E Gibson, O Healy, P McGrath.
R Maher for O’Callaghan (42), B O’Sullivan for O’Connor (45), W Banks for Burke (59).
Alec Gibbons (Nemo Rangers).