1981 Football County was the culmination of a 15 game win Streak
The 1981 Junior Football County Title was such a huge boost for a much smaller Ballincollig Village of the time. It was also viewed in historical terms as a turning point in the club where once Hurling had dominated as the preferred of the two GAA games, Football was now making a comeback. The Buzz around the village at the time was superb with the place completely deserted for teh game and it had Mary O'Connells Bar ( as the main meeting place of the club ) packed for weeks.
The following is report from the Examiner of the time and mentions some long time club members and activists to this very day and even had Conor Counihan playing on the other side.. Geat Times....
29th November 1981 - County Junior Football Final
Aghada 2-7 Ballincollig 2-11
Amidst great excitement Ballincollig junior footballers regained the cork county junior football championship at Carrigtwohill on Sunday last This was a great final as both sides set out to play open football and the stronger finish of the Mid Cork men gave them the spoils.
Ballincollig’s credentials facing Sunday’s final were impressive as fifteen wins it succession in competitive games was an intimidating record confronting any opponents in a final, but some patrons had reservations about their ability to come from behind as the bulk of their victories to date were gained by having the advantage in the start and leading from the beginning. Any doubts with regard to Ballincollig’s spirit, however, were dispelled on Sunday last as they had a disastrous start. Aghada making their first appearance in a junior football final opened impressively, racing into a lead of one goal and four points after ten minutes play as Ballincollig struggled to put their game together.
Displaying real championship character however the Mid Cork men came to grips with the situation. Frank O’ Donovan opened their account with, a point in the 11th minute and realizing that they had the ability to pierce the Aghada rearguard. They were – a transformed team for the remainder of the match and were worthy winners at the full-time whistle. Tradition certainly plays a major part in finals as Ballincollig always appeared to have the greater belief in themselves on Sunday last, displaying a. determination to regain a title that the club last held in 1940.
A major factor In Aghada’s early period of dominance was the control at midfield by Martin Hennessey and Brendan Counihan Thriving on this good supply from the middle, the eager Aghada forwards made life uncomfortable for the Ballincollig defence end they tacked on the scores in impressive fashion.
Their big full-forward Christy Hennessy opened their account with points in the first and fourth minutes. They had two more from Anthony Ahern and Kevin O’Connell, respectively, in as - many minutes and when Ahern punched home their first, goal after an O’Connell centre in the tenth minute they appeared to be heading for a facile victory.
Frank O’Donovan opened Ballincollig’s account in the eleventh minute with a point and even though Jimmy O’Leary, the Aghada right half back, quickly replied when he moved up field for a point, a major transformation: in Ballincollig’s form was clear to be seen. the centerfielders Eugene O’Connor and Paul Coomey came to grips with the situation in this sector with O’Connor being particularly impressive for the remainder of the game, their defence also improved, while their forwards, now getting an adequate supply of ball, left their mark on the proceedings in no on certain fashion.
Points from Denis O’Driscoll, O’Donovan again and Eugene O’Connor raised their hopes considerably and they were back in the game in a big way in the 20th minute when Brian McCarthy had their first goat when he puts the finishing touches to a Frank Daly cross. Aghada came again after this however and points from “John Fleming. and Billy Ahern put them three points ahead at the interval.
The second half was hectic, Ballincollig went on; the offensive from the re-start and points from Frank Daly: and Eamonn. Keating reduced the ~arrears to, the minimum and they took the, lead for the first time In the 37th minute when Frank O’Donovan won possession after Tom Weste sent a ‘45’ ‘into the square and he found the net from close range.
Ballincollig were now in the driving seat and Brian McCarthy put them a goal ahead when he had their seventh point in the 42nd minute. The Aghada defence was now exceptionally vulnerable as many of their clearances were sent over the sideline and Ballincollig surged forward for addition scores to clinch the issue.
A break-down in an attacking movement let the losers off tire hook however and gaining respite from it, they, got back on the offensive for John Fleming to score their second goal, thus putting them on level terms. Their performance lifted subsequently and they mounted a couple of additional attacks on the Ballincollig citadel, the winners’ rearguard was now equal to the challenge .however and they weathered this temporary storm. Returning to the attack they missed a couple of scoring opportunities before Brian McCarthy regained the led for them in the 54th minute. This score was quickly followed by further points from Frank O’ Donovan and Paul and Kenneth Coomey got the insurance point two minutes from time when he capitalised on a misplaced free by an Aghada defender. This score brought the curtain down on an outstanding county final in which both teams displayed a high degree of sportsmanship.
The concentration on the ball is clearly indicated by the fact that all of the. 22 scores with the exception of an Aghada point from Billy Ahern came from play.
Ballincollig’s man of the match in the writer’s opinion was Brian McCarthy closely followed by Kieran Barry Murphy and frank O’Donovan and the others to make major contributions over the hour were Eugene O’Connor, Denis O’Driscoll and Paul Coomey. For Aghada Conor Counihan and Donie Morrissey played well in defence, Martin Hennessy had an outstanding opening quarter at centerfield and Christy Hennessey and Anthony Ahern were in top form in attack.
Ballincollig: Frank O’Donovan (1-3), Brian McCarthy (l~2), Deals O’Driscoll, Frank Daly,
Eugene O’Connor, Paul Coomey. Eammon Keating and Kenneth Coomey (0.1 each)
Aghada: John Fleming (1-1), Anthony Ahern (1-1),Christy Hennessey (0-2), Kevin O’Connell (0-1), Billy Ahern (0.1, free), Jim O’Leary (0-I).
Referee: Eddie Porter (Brian Dillon’s)