Austin Stacks 0-15 Ballincollig 1-9 (after extra-time)
Kerry kingpins Austin Stacks eventually got past a dogged Ballincollig side in this competitive Munster club SFC semi-final in Tralee, but it should never have gone to extra time, as Stacks after a slow start, took over but never killed off the visitors.
Ballincollig made a perfect start, dominating around the middle of the field and winning breaking ball, with attacking wing-back Cian Kiely particularly effective.
The Cork champions got an early breakthrough in the sixth minute when county star Patrick Kelly goaled. A 45 dropped short and Kelly took his chance with a clinical finish.
Stacks were dependent on All Star Kieran Donaghy to gain possession up front, but the supply of ball into him was poor.
Ballincollig were hunting in packs, winning breaking ball at midfield and with Sean Kiely, Kelly, former Cork player John Miskella and John Kelly driving them forward and moving with menace, they caused the Stacks rearguard all sorts of problems.
Stacks were relying on sporadic attacks and Ballincollig added a fine point from corner-forward Kelly after a Stacks defender failed to hold on to the ball.
Stacks opened their account in the 13th minute after Donaghy was fouled and Shane Carroll converted the free, but at the other end Ballincollig replied through Cian Dorgan.
Dorgan added another point and after 16 minutes the Cork side led 1-3 to 0-1, with only one team at the races.
Then came a metamorphosis when Stacks switched Donaghy to midfield, and from that point on, though at times they huffed and they puffed, Stacks dominated the game.
Shane Carroll, Pa McCarthy and David Mannix (2) added points and with 24 minutes gone, the Tralee side trailed by just two.
On the stroke of half-time, Stacks' Shane O’Callaghan pointed to leave one between the sides at the interval, Ballincollig 1-4 to Stacks 0-6.
Stacks suffered a body blow when they lost their best defender Ronan Shanahan after a high tackle, but still had the momentum and Carroll levelled the scores in the 33rd minute.
The same player put them in front for the first time minutes later, converting another free though, Cork star Miskella levelled to minutes later after a good pass from Patrick Kelly.
Stacks were defending well with Donaghy a massive influence around the middle third; they took over and looked the more likely side to win.
With Greg Horan kicking a mighty point after a good run from midfield Ballincollig were unable to breach a strong Stacks rearguard, while at the other end Stacks were guilty of dropping too many balls into the Ballincollig keeper’s hands.
The experienced Miskella was playing a Donaghy-type role as he swept up a lot of breaking ball in his own defence.
In the 48th minute Stacks wing-back Denis McElligott kicked a great score to give his side a two-point lead, but they failed to drive home their advantage with some poor shooting and tendency to play the ball laterally.
This was to come back to haunt them as Ballincollig landed a fine point by midfielder John Kiely in the 50th minute, and then grabbed an equaliser through Miskella with the final action of normal time.
Stacks dominated the opening period of extra-time and added three points from Darragh Long, McCarthy and a superb effort from Mannix.
Ballincollig tried hard in the second period and added two points but in truth, with Donaghy conducting matters, they never looked like getting the goal they required.
Austin Stacks: S Carroll 0-4 (0-3 frees ) , D Long 0-2 frees, P McCarthy, G Horan and D Mannix 0-2 each, S O Callaghan, K Donaghy and D McElligott 0-1 each.
Ballincollig: P Kelly 1-0, C Dorgan 0-3 (0-1’45, 0-1 free), J Miskella 0-3, C Kiely, S Kiely and J Kelly 0-1 each
Austin Stacks: D O’Brien; R Shanahan, F McNamara, C Jordan; P McCarthy, B Shanahan, D McElligott; W Guthrie, G Horan; S O’Callaghan, S Carroll, D Bohan, D Mannix, K Donaghy, M Collins.
Subs: J Dennis for R Shanahan (31 inj), D Long for S Carroll (55), C O Connell for D Bohan (55), W Kirby for G Horan (59), G Horan for D McElligott ( e/t) M Collins for D Mannix ( e/t) D Bohan for F McNamara ( e/t) , M Collins ( B/C e/t ) no sub:
Ballincollig: D Lordan, L Prendergast, L Jennings, N Galvin, JP Murphy, S O’Donoghue, C Kiely; S Kiely, C O’Sullivan; G Durrant, P Kelly, N Allen; J Kelly, C Dorgan, J Miskella.
Subs: P O Neill for C O Sullivan (29), C Moore for L Prendergast (h/t), D Tobin for N Allen (40), I Coughlan for J Kelly (47) D Kerstein for J P Murphy (55), J P Murphy for P O’Neill (e/t)
Referee: Rory Hickey (Clare)