BALLYHEA are through to the Coughlan Cup final after they held out for a close win over Charleville (Intermediate Hurling semi final) at Charleville on Sunday.
With three minutes remaining it looked like this encounter would go to extra-time but it was the winners who finished well adding two minors by Maurice O'Sullivan and Neil Ronan that proved decisive. It was a game where very little separated the sides who were level on five occasions over the hour. Following a tense and entertaining game both teams had their moments. The opening sequences saw respective sides quick to settle.
They exchanged two points each by Neil Ronan (free) James O'Brien (free) Derry Murphy and Pa O'Callaghan. By the 10th minute the home side had a chance to take the lead when they were awarded a penalty with Brendan Dennehy's effort being well saved by Ballyhea wing back Timmy Shanahan with the rebound going out for a 65 that was converted by Dennehy.
Charleville continued to set the early pace aided by the stiff breeze with Derry Murphy, Danny O'Flynn, James O'Brien and the Dennehy brothers to the fore and by the end of the first period they opened up a two point lead 0-4 to 0-2.
The winners gradually, came more into the fray and helped by minors by Neil Ronan and John Morrissey they tied matters for the third time. Good play out of defence by Michael O'Flynn led to James O'Brien who set up Danny O'Flynn for his second point after 26 minutes. Neil Ronan had two more points from here to the break while Charleville scored a vital goal two minutes before half-time when good play by Jack Buckley and Derry Murphy led to James O'Brien who finished a powerful shot to the net and they held a 1-5 to 0-6 lead at the shortwhistle.
On the resumption, the winners hit a purple patch and inside the opening five minutes hit the front for the second-time when Neil Ronan scored 1-3 without reply. Over the next few sequences of play both teams had a number of wides and Charleville responded in determined manner scoring three points on the trot by Brendan Dennehy (frees) and Andrew Cagney to force parity at 1-9 each with ten minutes remaining.
The turning point came moments later when James O'Brien's solo run effort was excellently saved on the line by Ballyhea keeper Mikey Browne. The winners finished well with Neil Ronan, Pa O'Callaghan, Maurice O'Sullivan, James Hennessy, Eoin and Trevor O Sullivan.
They had two late points by Maurice O'Sullivan and Neil Ronan that proved vital and sets up a final meeting with Kilworth or Fermoy.
BALLYHEA: M Browne, E O'Sullivan, J Hennessy, T O'Sullivan, M Morrissey, E Morrissey, T Shanahan, A O'Connor, M O'Sullivan 0-1, J O'Sullivan, G Morrissey, C Hanley, J Morrissey 0-1, P O'Callaghan 0-1, N Ronan 1-8 (0-5f) Subs: K Hanley for C Hanley, K Morrissey for J O'Sullivan, D Copps for A O'Connor
CHARLEVILLE: N O'Keeffe, M O'Flynn, C Fitzgerald, G Kelleher, A Dennehy, B Dennehy 0-3 (0-2f, 0-1'65), J Buckley, D O'Flynn 0-2, M Kavanagh, D Murphy 0-1, J Casey, A O'Connor, J O'Brien 1-2 (0-2f), J O'Sullivan, D Casey. Subs: A Cagney 0-1 for D Casey, S Butler for G Kelleher, B Casey for M Kavanagh
Referee: Simon Stokes (Tullylease)