Minor hurling talking points: Young Barrs and Sars talent lights up Páirc Uí Rinn

Minor hurling talking points: Young Barrs and Sars talent lights up Páirc Uí Rinn

William Buckley, St Finbarr’s, breaking through the Sars defence in their Rebel Óg Premier 1 Minor Hurling final win at Páirc Uí Rinn. Picture: Dan Linehan

THE Premier 1 Minor Hurling final was hyped up a potential classic beforehand and, while St Finbarr's were immense in the second half to beat Sarsfields by seven points, the game delivered on many levels.

Here we look at some three talking points from the showpiece of the Rebel Óg season.

1. INDIVIDUAL BRILLIANCE: 

Daniel Hogan had some moments of magic for Sars, Ben Nodwell and Flynn O'Brien got terrific goals, and Luke Elliot and Cathal McCarthy battled resolutely in defence.

 Luke Elliott getting in a tackle on Jack Cahalane. Picture: Dan Linehan
Luke Elliott getting in a tackle on Jack Cahalane. Picture: Dan Linehan

Yet the Barrs' big guns all fired: Jack Cahalane pilfered 2-2, just like he did in the semi-final against the Glen, Ethan Twomey's move to centre-forward was match-winning, Ben Cunningham arched over a stunning seven points from play, William Buckley was dynamite roving around the middle third and Ben O'Connor a colossus at centre-back.

Add in two critical first-half saves from Dylan McSweeney, Shane Kennedy's tenacious shadowing of Hogan, Ciarán Doolan's energy and there was no shortage of star performers. 

If you measure hurlers on how they play on the big occasions, plenty of young lads did themselves and their families proud here. On a side note, referee Cathal McAllister, yet again, did an excellent job in the middle by letting it flow as much as possible.

2. THE BARRS' SWAGGER:

Both clubs needed a victory. Sars' seniors were stunned by Erin's Own in the quarter-finals, while the Barrs' top team had flirted with relegation. The key difference was Sars have three P1 minor titles since 2007, while the Blues hadn't managed that feat since 1997.

The Barrs' snarling attitude and savage work-rate after half-time, when they trailed by three points, reminded everyone why they're one of the great clubs on Leeside. They were tough but disciplined, nailed some amazing scores but also moved the sliotar as a unit.

This is Brian Hurley's first year with the group, having been involved with Cork teams more recently, and the club's U21s who landed a second-tier U21 crown in 2019. With the likes of Jimmy Barry-Murphy, Diarmuid Hurley, Der Edwards and Pat Keane on board too, the Barrs had a crafty management team in place.

 Barrs legend JBM. Picture: Dan Linehan
Barrs legend JBM. Picture: Dan Linehan

Their experience and the club's tradition was very much in evidence at Páirc Uí Rinn. 

While they lost here, Sars, having only won an U14 county in the past week, and on the back of last year's U21 triumph, will continue to produce accomplished hurlers and be in the mix for the Seán Óg Murphy Cup at senior every season.

3. INTER-COUNTY PEDIGREE: 

Cahalane and Twomey, along with Sars' Colm McCarthy and Daniel Horgan, were Cork minors last year, as the grade is now U17, and their ability was very much in evidence.

Four more are involved with Donal Óg Cusack's extended minor squad now, Sars' Ben Nodwell, who fired 1-1, and Barrs' trio Ben O'Connor, Ben Cunningham and William Buckley.

O'Connor and Buckley are actually U16, but all four hurlers will be in the mix to feature come October even after the current 40-player squad is culled. 

O'Connor has that bit of cockiness about him, white socks and red helmet, that defines the best city hurlers. Buckley is ridiculously skillful in taking points and as clever in creating them too.

Nodwell is a consistent scorer with Harty Cup experience from St Colman's while Cunningham seems to have it all, athleticism, pace, height and immaculate striking.

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