PRESIDENT’S CUP semi-final
Ballincollig 2 Postal Celtic 0
AUL newcomers Postal Celtic promised much in the first half of their Murphy’s Stout President’s Cup semi-final but it was hosts Ballincollig (in white) who delivered in the second to clinch a place in the final of the third division knockout championship.
Ballincollig had their scoring heroes in defender Philip Sullivan and striker Alan Flynn, both on target with second half headers. Each played well all through and so too did Darren Forde, close in the first half before getting in the cross for the late clincher.
Keeper Killian Mohally handled well during a brief period of intense Postal pressure between the scores and he also made a crucial intervention midway through the first half.
In the 22nd minute, his defence, calling in vain for offside, had allowed Postal striker Dan Kenneally chase after a neat ball over the top by Paul Dorney. But Mohally didn’t wait; he raced from his line and won the clash for the ball just outside his 18-yard area.
It was a vital moment in the game and another arrived in the 37th minute. Postal’s Michael Moynihan made a strong run to the end line and crossed from the right. The unmarked Anthony Dorney raced in but his header flew over the bar from close range. It was a great chance spurned and Ballincollig would go on to profit from the miss.
Ballincollig had a few chances in the first half also, quite a good one in the 11th minute. Then, Forde got his head to an incoming free by Sullivan but he couldn't quite get enough power into it and, in any event, it went straight to the arms of the visiting keeper.
Chances dried up for the opening fifteen minutes of the second half. Neither side could establish an advantage and, with passes regularly going astray and a series of other unenforced errors, it looked as if the tie would end without a goal.
The breakthrough came in the 63rd minute and followed intense Ballincollig pressure. The move seemed to have broken down but Noel Hogan met the clearance and his well placed ball over the top found Greg Hallissey whose teasing cross forced keeper Mick Brosnan to tip over.
Striker Flynn drove his corner to the far post and home defender Sullivan rose above everyone to power in a header. Kenneally rose to stop it on the line but it went in off his head and Ballincollig were in front.
Then Sullivan took a free and hit a terrific shot from just outside the box but it was a shade too high.
Postal piled on the pressure but to no avail.
Ballincollig made sure of their spot in the final with a second goal some seven minutes from time. The hard–working Forde made the breakthrough on the right and used all his strength to get to the end-line and send over a teasing cross. It eluded the keeper and Flynn rose above his marker at the far post to head in the clincher.
Saturday wasn't the best of days at the Regional Park and rain overnight and in the morning had washed out the markings. Ballincollig were naturally delighted that referee Tom Tully gave the fixture the green light. Had it been postponed, they would have had lost home advantage in any re-fixture.
Ballincollig: Killian Mohally, Conor Farrell, Colm Healy, Philip Sullivan, Alan Kenneally, George Mullane, Evan Mohally, Noel Hogan, Greg Hallissey, Alan Flynn and Darren Forde. Subs: Gary Foolkes for Hallissey (75th minute), Terry Donovan, Dominic Mullins, Killian Murphy and Alan O’Mahony.
Postal Celtic: Mick Brosnan, Michael Burke, Derek Walsh, Tony Madden, Brian Newman, John Naughton, Jeff Barrett, Michael Moynihan, Dan Kenneally, Anthony Dorney and Paul Dorney. Subs: Sean Guiheen for Naughton (48th minute), Greg Morrissey for P. Dorney (66th) and Mark Horgan for Madden (81st).
Referee: Tom Tully.