Ballinhassig 1-11, Shamrocks 1-9
Shamrocks came agonisingly close to a first South East Football title in 21 years in Riverstick on Sunday but in the end, it was the all conquering Ballinhassig who took home the honours for the 2nd time in 4 years.
Shamrocks had high hopes going into this game that they would end their drought and confidence was high but it was plainly obvious that Shamrocks lost this game in the 14 minutes after half time. Leading 0-7 to 0-5 at the break, Ballinhassig took over completely at midfield and won every ball in the air. They suffocated Shamrocks and scored 4 points from 4 kickouts between the 35th and 39th minutes to move 0-9 to 0-7 ahead. They continued to dominate and Shamrocks couldn’t even get the ball out of their own half. As if things couldn’t get any worse, their burst of dominance was underlined when a high ball into the Shamrocks square was spilled and the Ballinhassig full forward toe pocked home the easiest goal he’ll ever score. Talk about a hammer blow. That made it 1-9 to 0-7 with 15 left.
Earlier on, the first half belonged to Shamrocks and their patient (sometimes slow) hand passing build up play began to pay off coming up to HT. The 2 sides were evenly matched for the first 20 minutes with the teams swopping points at regular intervals. Barry Mulqueen, Darragh O’Sullivan, Philip Brady from a free and Cannice Caffrey with 3 great points from play were the Shamrocks scorers. Shamrocks dominated the last 10 minutes of the half with loads of possession and felt confident going in at HT with the 2 point lead.
However, Ballinhassig came out determined to reverse things and cleaned up at midfield until Shamrocks brought on Brian Sweeney. His introduction stemmed the tide and settled Shamrocks somewhat and after the Ballinhassig goal to put them 5 points up, Joe Shanahan collected the ball out on the 45 yard line and went on a mazy run around and through defenders before crashing home a low shot to the Ballinhassig net from the 21 yard line. Shamrocks were back in the game with 13 minutes left.
Ballinhassig worked the ball upfield and stretched the lead to 3 points again before Shamrocks responded with 2 points, one a magnificent effort from Brian Sweeney from way out the field, them other from Darragh O’Sullivan. The score read Ballinhassig 1-10, Shamrocks 1-9 with 5 minutes to go. This was as close as they got as a few fumbling errors cost Shamrocks when they desperately needed to get the ball into the forwards. Ballinhassig remained calm and broke upfield to kick what would be the insurance point. Shamrocks didn’t get an opportunity to fashion a goal chance in the 2 minutes of injury time. Referee Alan O’Connor blew the final whistle and Shamrocks were left to ponder another final defeat. Such a pain!
The team, players and management deserve great credit for their displays this year. Nobody gave them a chance at all and its hoped that all the players will stay on next year to give it another go. Also, well done to the magnificent supporters who were in tremendous voice today. The roar for the goal was massive! Best of luck to Ballinhassig in the county.
Team/Panel: F. O’Neill, S. Andrews, R. Harrington, C. Kidney, J. Browne, C. O’Neill, J. Tuohy, A. McCarthy, B. Mulqueen, D. Hayes, J. Shanahan, M. Prout, D. O’Sullivan, P. Brady, C. Caffrey. Subs used – S. Kidney, B. Sweeney, D. Scriven, M. Hitchmough, R. Twomey. Others: J. Wilson, S. Collins, A. Boland, R. Murphy, S. Hurley, C. O’Grady, S. Downey.