On this day in 1980: Barrs footballers landed their first All-Ireland crown

On this day in 1980: Barrs footballers landed their first All-Ireland crown
St Finbarr's minor captain Christy Ryan leading a lap of honour after their 1975 victory. From left: James O'Callaghan, Pat Russell, Anthony Lyons, Bar Long, Tom O'Connor, Liam O'Sullivan. Ryan was midfield and O'Callaghan hit 2-3 five years later.

JOY for the Barrs, but Rockies’ woe! 

That was the experience of Cork’s football and hurling champions on this day 40 years ago in the All-Ireland club series.

The Togher club carved out their slice of history by lifting the football title for the first time following their 3-9 to 0-8 win over St Grillain’s from Ballinasloe in the final at Tipperary Town.

But, Blackrock’s hopes of reaching a fourth decider went west as Galway’s Castlegar had two goals to spare, 2-9 to 0-9, in the semi-final in Athenry.

The Barrs had a couple of national hurling titles in the bag by the time the footballers joined the greats.

Despite playing with the wind from the start the Cork and Munster champions struggled at midfield, where Barry Brennan and Paul McGettigan got a grip.

Four points on the spin shoved the Connacht champions in front and the Barrs were grateful for Donal O’Grady’s astute reading of the play at the back.

But, the game changed completely approaching half-time, when the imperious Jimmy Barry-Murphy set-up Jamesie O’Callaghan for a critical goal and a 1-5 to 0-4 lead.

Barry-Murphy was at his brilliant best even if St Grillain’s tried four different players on him and it was all ’Barr’s on the resumption.

Mick Lynch and Finny Twomey took over at midfield, Christy Ryan shored up the defence from centre-back and the forwards did the rest.

Five minutes into the second-half, O’Callaghan turned provider for Finny O’Mahony to score goal number two and the crossbar denied Barry-Murphy and John Allen, too.

The Barrs had already wrapped up the title, when substitute Dave Barry dribbled through the middle before passing to Barry-Murphy, who, in turn, fed O’Callaghan for his second and his side’s third goal.

Scorers for St Finbarr’s: J O’Callaghan 2-3 (0-1 f), F O’Mahony 1-0, R Kenny and J Allen 0-2 each, M Lynch and C Ryan 0-1 each

ST FINBARR’S: B O’Brien; D O’Grady, G Desmond, N Ahern; D Brosnan, M Lynch, M Carey; C Ryan, D Philpott; F Twomey, R Kenny, F O’Mahony; J Barry-Murphy, J Allen, J O’Callaghan.

Sub: D Barry for Philpott injured.

The St Finbarr's county winners from 1985, including a number of players who featured five years earlier as well. Back: Mick Slocum, Christy Ryan, Jimmy Barry Murphy, John Kerins, Kevin Scanlan, Declan O'Mahony, Brendan Searls, Damian Philpott, Tony Leahy. Front: Paddy Hayes, John Cremin, Gene Desmond (c), Dave Barry, John Meyler, Mick Carey. (Examiner photo)
The St Finbarr's county winners from 1985, including a number of players who featured five years earlier as well. Back: Mick Slocum, Christy Ryan, Jimmy Barry Murphy, John Kerins, Kevin Scanlan, Declan O'Mahony, Brendan Searls, Damian Philpott, Tony Leahy. Front: Paddy Hayes, John Cremin, Gene Desmond (c), Dave Barry, John Meyler, Mick Carey. (Examiner photo)

Meanwhile, the famous Connolly brothers combined to end Blackrock’s run in the hurling championship.

The Cork club’s prospects took a turn for the worse on Thursday night, when Tom Cashman broke a thumb in training.

Yet, there was no denying Castlegar’s victory and the importance of the Connollys, John at centre-back, Joe on the ’40 and Michael at full-forward. Joe bagged the first of his pair of goals after 19 minutes, Michael the supplier, for a 1-5 to 0-5 interval advantage.

In the second-half a monster free from John dropped tantalisingly in front of goal, where Rockies keeper Timmy Murphy denied Michael with a timely save.

However, the rebound fell to Joe, who dispatched it to the back of the net and Blackrock’s afternoon wasn’t getting any better.

Offaly referee Pat Moylan didn’t help either approaching the 50th minute, when he called back play to award them a penalty after Ray Cummins had stuck the ball in the net.

Frank Cummins stood over the penalty, but his shot carried the crossbar and while the Rockies reduced the margin to four points, 2-7 to 0-9, with as many minutes remaining, Castlegar defended magnificently to advance to the final.

Scorers for Blackrock: D Buckley 0-2 f, D Collins, R Cummins, J O’Grady, E O’Sullivan, P Moylan, D MacCurtain 0-1 each, F Cummins 0-1 f,

BLACKROCK: T Murphy; F Norberg, C O’Brien, J Horgan; D MacCurtain, captain, F Cummins, J O’Grady; A Creagh, P Moylan; D Collins, T Lyons, D Buckley; E O’Sullivan, R Cummins, E O’Donoghue.

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