Ballincollig take final spot
County IHC semi-final: Ballincollig 0-20 Mayfield 0-17
Mayfield's dreams of promotion to the Premier grade of Cork championship hurling will need to wait for another year at least after the city side went down to Ballincollig in a tough, uncompromising and highly entertaining clash as Páirc Uí Rinn last Saturday night.
This last four clash had all the attributes of a real hum-dinger without providing a goal for either side to cheer but that lack of a major was never going to deflect from what was a competitive game throughout.
From the off this one had tough clash written all over it with Luke Fahy, Robbie Bourke, Ian Coughlan and sub Conor Kinsella all putting in very credible shifts from a Ballincollig attacking point of view.
While the 20 points is a very credible final tally much of the credit for the win must go to the Ballincollig rear who between them put in some serious hits and halted plenty promising Mayfield attacks.
Liam Jennings, JP Murphy and Conor Sexton provided a solid line at the rear with keeper Ronan Cambridge also doing his bit to keep the green flags planted by the posts.
From a Mayfield standpoint the star of the show was David O'Neill who kept the scoreboard ticking over with his half dozen points from play. Nicky Kelly was another charged with scoring and the club that won the All Ireland Junior Hurling Club in 2017 should be happy with their tally, even though on this day it proved a little short.
Others to impress were Shane O'Donovan, Shane Kelly and David Malone as Mayfield really did throw everything they had at a Ballincollig side that looked good for the win.
Ballincollig led this one from the off but were just two points up at the break (0-10 - 0-08). That closeness continued throughout and despite Ballincollig pulling four clear on 50 minutes the men in red dug in and got it back to a brace heading into seven minutes of injury time however that would be as good as it would get as Rory O'Doherty finished the game with a late point sending the spoils the way of the men in green.
While this was a close enough game for the majority there was a sense, even when Mayfield had it down to two points in injury time, that this one wasn't going to get away from Ballincollig - who on the night it must be said did deserve the win and their chance to go up Premier which would be a great achievement for the club.
The win sees Ballincollig back in the showpiece game for the first time in almost 20 years (19 to be precise) and if they defend in the same manner while still managing to slot over 20 scores they will be hard to beat.
For Mayfield, this loss is another big blow to a club that continues to punch above its weight. Mayfield have been battling at the business end in both codes for a number of seasons now and secured the All Ireland Junior hurling title in 2017, so they definitely are doing something right and with some very talented young players making their way through their system, this is a club that is likely to taste success again sooner rather than later.
BALLINCOLLIG: R O'Donovan, M Prendergast, C Sexton; C O'Sullivan, L Jennings, JP Murphy; C Moore, K Spillane 0-2; R Bourke 0-3, I Coughlan 0-2, P O'Neill; D Bowen, C Dorgan 0-7 (2f, 0-1 pen), L Fahy 0-2 Subs: C Kinsella for Prendergast (41), S Walsh 0-3 for Moore (49), R O'Doherty 0-1 for Fahy (60
MAYFIELD: R O'Keeffe; B O'Leary, K Brosnan, P Condon, D Hayes; S O'Donovan, S Crowley; G Lehane, D O'Neill 0-6; K Punch, N Kelly 0-7 (6f), S Kelly 0-1; S Duggan 0-1, MJ Coffey, P Duggan Subs: D Malone 0-2 for Punch (40), K Walsh for Coffey (49), D Lucey for S Duggan (53)
Referee: G Scully (Killeagh/St Ita's)