Junior B joy for Ballyhea hurlers despite St Finbarr's comeback in nine-goal thriller

The Barrs raised three green flags in the closing stages but Owen O'Sullivan lifted the cup after former Cork star Neil Ronan bagged 2-8
Junior B joy for Ballyhea hurlers despite St Finbarr's comeback in nine-goal thriller

Ballyhea captain Owen O'Sullivan raises the Dan Hoare Cup. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Ballyhea 5-10 St Finbarr’s 4-8 

THIRD time lucky for Ballyhea who have claimed the Co-Op Superstores Cork County Junior B Inter-Divisional Hurling championship title following victory over St Finbarr’s in the final at a wet Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday afternoon. 

The North Cork side were defeated in the final in 2019 and 2020 and were determined not to suffer a third final defeat in four seasons.

Ballyhea players and supporters celebrate after defeating St. Finbarr's at Páirc Uí Rinn. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Ballyhea players and supporters celebrate after defeating St. Finbarr's at Páirc Uí Rinn. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Ballyhea’s second string made the better start leading 0-3 to 0-1 thanks to the vastly experienced Neil Ronan, with Dylan Byrne pointing for the Barrs. Ballyhea then rattled off 1-1 through Ronan as the sharpshooter finished his goal very well after a defensive error.

St Finbarr’s fourth team were listless in the first half but they did score a goal after 19 minutes, from a bursting Andrew Turner run. 

They traded points until the Avondhu outfit scored 1-1 in 80 seconds, Mikey Mortell with the green flag. The evergreen Robert O’Mahony converted a free on the stroke of the half-time whistle but the Togher team trailed 2-6 to 1-4.

On the resumption, James Goggin landed a free but three consecutive points put Ballyhea 2-9 to 1-5 up after 45 minutes.

The winners were awarded a penalty with 13 minutes remaining when James Horgan was pulled down and Ronan made no mistake to finish high into the left corner: 3-9 to 1-5. 

O’Mahony pointed a free before Ballyhea scored two goals from Stephen Walsh and Horgan. It looked game over until the Barrs back with 3-2, the three goals were scored between the 56th and 61st minute, from O’Mahony, Faolan Linnane and Goggin.

That made it 5-9 to 4-8 but Ronan converted a late free as his team hung on.

Ballyhea's Neil Ronan is tackled by St Finbarr's Shane Dwane and Sean O'Leary. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Ballyhea's Neil Ronan is tackled by St Finbarr's Shane Dwane and Sean O'Leary. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Scorers for Ballyhea: N Ronan 2-8 (1-6 f), J Horgan 1-1, Mikey Mortell 1-0, S Walsh 1-0, J Morrissey 0-1.

St Finbarr’s: R O’Mahony 1-3 (0-3 f), J Goggin 1-2 (0-1 f) A Turner 1-0, F Linnane 1-0, D Byrne 0-2, G McCann 0-1.

BALLYHEA: G O’Shea; M Crowley, C Crowley, O O’Sullivan (c); W Shanahan, K Hanley, A Ó hÓráin; W Carroll, E O’Sullivan; Mikey Mortell, L O’Connor, J Morrissey; S O’Kelly, N Ronan, J Horgan.

Subs: J O’Leary for W Shanahan (31), K Copps for O O’Sullivan (36), Michael Mortell for J Morrissey (40), S Walsh for S O’Kelly (51), S Dennehy for M Crowley (57).

St FINBARR'S: P Kenneally (c); L Twomey, P O’Brien, R McCarthy; B Mannion, J Goggin, P Buckley; S Dwane, C O’Mahony; F Linnane, D Byrne, A Turner; E Maher, R O’Mahony, E Mulcahy.

Subs: S O’Leary for R McCarthy (20), M Russell for P Buckley (h-t), M Ryan for E Mulcahy, J O’Kelly for C O’Mahony (38), G McCann for M Russell (47).

Referee: Jim McEvoy (Blarney).

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