Despite a very spirited performance, Aghada went down to Ballincollig in this U21 hurling championship which was played in Pairc Ui Rinn on Sunday night last. Ballincollig, no doubt still buoyed by their Intermediate hurling County title, hit the opening point in the opening minute. Kevin O’Hanlon used his pace to equalise a minute later, but after that Ballincollig took over completely. With just over 10 minutes on the clock they had raced into a 6 points to 1 lead, and had the Aghada rearguard in all sorts of bother. At that point it looked like a long night was ahead for Aghada. But credit to this young team, they rallied (and not for the last time in the match). The O’Hanlon brothers were causing problems up front and as the half back line of Jordan Tynan, Mark Healy and Tommy O’Donoghue got to grips with proceedings, along with Kyle O’Shea helping to seal up the full back line, Aghada had a purple spell of their own. First Jamie O’Hanlon was fouled bearing down on goals. Aghada’s best player on the night, Danny Creedon, pointed the free. Next Jamie pointed from play, before big brother Kevin earned the next scorable free, which Creedon again duly converted. When Charlie Terry strode through the Collig defence for a fine score on the run, Aghada had reduced the deficit to just one point with 17 minutes now on the clock. Next the sides exchanged frees, before Ballincollig buried a great goal after the corner forward ran in from the left hand side. Tyler burst forward from wing back on 27 minutes and earned a ’65 which Danny converted and at the short whistle it was 1-7 v 0-7 in the Muskerry outfits favour.
The second half started with a wealth of goalmouth action. From the throw in Ciaran O’Shea was called on to make a save in the Aghada goal. But just a minute later, Ballincollig attacked again, and this time rifled home their second goal. A minute later Ciaran had to save again. This time a great stop by the Aghada ‘keeper led to a ’65 which was pointed. In the blink of an eye Aghada were 7 points down and needed to rally again. Creedon plucked the puck out from the sky. He fed Jamie O’Hanlon, who in turn played in Charlie, and Cha made no mistake with an unstoppable shot to the Ballincollig net. It could have been even better a minute later, when Charlie returned the compliment, with a pass to Jamie who was in goal scoring position, but the opposition defence quickly snuffed out the chance. A Creedon point from play on 39 minutes made it a one goal game. As the rain came down, Ballincollig scored two in two minutes on the 45th and 46th minutes, to again open up a 5 point lead. Never say die Aghada came back again and 2 Creedon frees had just a puck of the ball between the sides again. Crucially however, Aghada were reduced to 14 men in between these scores. With 6 minutes to play, Ballincollig hit a super point from way out on the right hand sideline, and they followed this 2 minutes later with another from play. This time, short a man, Aghada couldn’t respond, and it was Ballincollig who had the last score of the game in injury time to run out deserving winners. Well done however to the Aghada players and management, who gave it their all on the night.
Aghada Team and scorers – Ciaran O’Shea, Aaron Butler, Dara Murphy, Luke Foley, Tommy O’Donoghue, Mark Healy, Jordan Tynan, Mark Mc Carthy, Aaron Berry, Mathew Leahy, Daniel Creedon(0-7, 5f,1 ’65), Charlie Terry(1-1), Jamie O’Hanlon(0-1), Kevin O’Hanlon(0-1), Marcus Leahy. Subs Used Kyle O’Shea, Craig Hogan and Conor O’Keeffe.