Ballyhea return to the County Senior hurling championship after a lapse of 12 years on Sunday next at Fermoy when they face Blackrock. This will be the 7th meeting of the clubs in the Senior hurling championship. The first meeting was on the 8th of September 1889, in Mallow with the City side winning a low scoring contest 1-2 to 0-1.The Ballyhea side was Sim Flaherty, P Dahill, J Casey, P Quinn, J Connell, P Bartley, P Daly, J O’Connell, M Lehane, P Clancy,  J Herlihy, J McMahon, P Foley, N Foley, P Burke, T Reidy, M Boddy, J Barrett, J McCarthy, J Downey and J Murphy.  The sides met again 6 years later in the County Final in Mallow Town Park on the 3rd November 1895. This day has always been referred to as The Foggy Sunday. Blackrock came out on top 1-2 to 1-1 with a goal very late in the game. The Ballyhea panel was J Murphy (capt), B Mooney, M Flaherty, J Flaherty, M Flaherty, P Bartley, J McMahon, M Reidy, J Roche, P Daly, P O’Gorman, T O’Gorman, J Walshe, J J O’Connell, M Boddy, W  Fennessy,  D Higgins. The next meeting was 86 years later in 1981 in the second round of the championship, with Blackrock winning 4-13 to 3-5. The next outing was in 1986 in the County semi final and after an incident packed game the Rockies with a late scoring burst won 3-11 to 1-13 at Fermoy. Ballyhea’s lineout was David O’Keeffe, Eamonn Crowley, Mike Morrissey, Neil Ronan, Phil Ryan (capt) (0-1), Johnny O’Callaghan (0-2), Mossie O’Sullivan, Connie Brassill (0-1), Mikey O’Callaghan (0-1), Gerard O’Connor (0-2), Paul O’Halloran (0-1), Alec Morrissey (1-1), Liam Crowley, Willie Shanahan (0-1), John Grogan ( 0-2). Subs used: Diarmuid O’Flynn , Dave Ryan (0-1).
The sides were to meet again 2 years later in 1988 and was played in dreadful weather conditions, 3 goals in the last ten minutes helped Blackrock to victory 4-8 to 1-6 at Fermoy. Ballyhea’s team was David O’Keeffe, John Mortell, Mike Morrissey, Eamonn Crowley, Phil Ryan, Johnny O’Callaghan (capt) (0-1), Mike Browne, Tom Brassill, Dom Hanley, Alec Morrissey (1-0), Gerard O’Connor, Noel Hanley, Liam Crowley, Mikey O’Callaghan (0-3), and Dave Ryan (0-2). Sub used Mossie O’Sullivan. Our last meeting in the championship was in 1991 in the County Quarter Final when Ballyhea defeated Blackrock for the first time 0-16 to 0-8 at Fermoy. Ballyhea’s  line out that day was David O’Keeffe, Eamonn Crowley, Mike Morrissey, Connie Brassill, Christy Hanley, Johnny O’Callaghan (0-1), Mossie O’Sullivan, Tomas O’Riordan, Tom Brassill (0-1), Mikey O’Callaghan (0-1), Alec Morrissey (capt) (0-10), Eamon Morrissey (0-1), Ian Ronan (0-1), Phil Ryan , Diarmuid O’Flynn(0-1). Subs used: Donal O’Riordan and Johnny O’Sullivan.
Ballyhea have had a very sound league campaign so far in their return to Senior, losing just one of the 6 games played and currently lie joint 3rd in the league. Ballyhea are captained by Maurice O’Sullivan who has been an every present since his debut in 2002 and has played in 41 consecutive championship games for the club. The lads have prepared well under Clem Smith (coach), Adrian Gilligan (trainer), Mike Morrissey and Henry Greensmith.We will be without the services  of James Hennessy and Kieran Morrissey ( both injured) and also Aidan O'Connor who has retired from first team action. Best of luck to everyone involved and hopefully it will be a winning return to senior ranks on Sunday. The game is timed for 2.30 with Newtown and Sarsfields at 4.00.


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