Narrow win sees Ballyhea top of hurling league
Cavanagh's Fermoy Division 2 HL: Ballyhea 3-15 Mallow 1-20
The meeting of Ballyhea and Mallow in the concluding round of the Division 2 HL at Mallow on Friday was to determine who would top the group and be in second place. Following a highly entertaining contest Ballyhea emerged victors by the narrowest of margins and they now face Liscarroll/Churchtown Gaels with Mallow facing Fermoy in the semi-finals.
During the opening half they were level four times by the 20th minute when Sean Glynn, Jonathan McCarthy, Rory Downey, Shaun Murphy, Jonathan O'Sullivan, Daniel Relihan, Fergal McCormack, Seamus Buckley and Brian O'Riordan were on target with some well taken points.
In the run up to the break three pointed frees by Fergal McCormack opened up a three point lead for the home side. Jonathan McCarthy responded with a long range point for Ballyhea before they hit the front when Neil Ronan drilled a 21 yard free to the net in the 26th minute 1-6 to 0-8. In the closing moments the lead changed hands. Fergal McCormack with two points moved Mallow in front again with Jonathan O'Sullivan replying with a brace of point for Ballyhea who held a 1-8 to 0-10 interval lead.
On the changeover Mallow had the better start. Fergal McCormack with a point had the sides level for the seventh time in the 31st minute. In Mallow's next attack Brian Murphy set up Kieran Byrne for a goal and it helped them move 1-13 to 1-9 clear by the 37th minute.
Ballyhea regrouped well and had the lead back to a point two minutes later when a delivery by Jonathan McCarthy was finished to the net by Diarmuid O'Shaughnessy. As the game entered the last quarter it was evenly poised at 1-14 to 2-11.
In a thrilling finish Mallow looked to have weathered their opponents revival when Fergal McCormack (2) and Jimmy Glynn with minors moved them three clear.
Ballyhea who now had Neil Ronan at full forward finished very strongly. In the 55th minute good work by Jonathan O'Sullivan resulted in a cracking goal by Neil Ronan that moved them ahead 3-13 to 1-18. Jonathan McCarthy followed with a long range point to move two points clear soon after.
Mallow battled back well. They forced Ballyhea to concede two frees that were punished by Fergal McCormack to force parity 3-14 to 1-20. With a share of the spoils the most likest of results Ballyhea struck for the winning score in injury time courtesy of Jonathan McCarthy to emerge victors.
BALLYHEA: TJ Garvey, M Crowley, L Barrett, L O'Shea, N Crowley, N Ronan 2-1 (1-0f), D O'Riordan, J McCarthy 0-4, D Gould, D O'Shaughnessy 1-0, J O'Sullivan 0-7 (6f), D Relihan 0-1, S Murphy 0-2, E Rea, M Mortell. Sub: J O'Leary for D Gould,
MALLOW: P Buckley, F Moynihan, R Mills, E Crowley, B O'Riordan 0-1, J Healy, R Downey 0-1 M Maher, J Glynn 0-1, S Buckley 0-1, S Glynn 0-1, K Byrne 1-0, B Murphy, F McCormack 0-14 (9f, 1 '65'), B J Ryan 0-1. Subs: M Roche for S Buckley, M McGrath for K Byrne.
Referee: Alec Morrissey (Newtownshandrum)