St Finbarr’s 2-11 Bride Rovers 2-10
HAPPY times for St Finbarr’s in Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday night as they claimed the Cork County U21 Premier 2 HC title.
In difficult conditions, it was a victory that had to be dug out. And that is exactly what they did.
They went into the ascendancy midway through the opening half but battling Bride Rovers drew level at the three-quarter mark. The teams went toe-to-toe thereafter with the winning score coming from Jack Cahalane in the third minute of stoppage.
Bride Rovers tried hard; but failed to fashion an equaliser. In their final attack, St Finbarr’s goalkeeper Jack McCarthy and full-back Michael Aherne held firm and cleared the sliotar to safety.
St Finbarr’s settled when full-forward Brian Hayes found the net in the fourth minute after a fantastic high catch. Ethan Twomey added a point, and they were 1-3 to 0-5 to the good.
Bride Rovers having done well to steady ship with points from Cian Hogan (2), Conor Barry (2) and Brian Roche. Hayes got in for a second goal when he was put through by Cahalane and then Twomey notched his third point and Bill O’Connell his second free for St Finbarr’s to go six up.
It all changed three minutes from the interval when Brian Roche landed a goal for Bride Rovers and they went to the dressing-room 2-5 to 1-5 in arrears.
Bride Rovers, probably, should have been closer as some chances came and went. However, the same could be said of the Barrs when they returned for the second half. They were intent on going for goal as Bride Rovers closed the gap.
Terrific points from Ryan and Barry cut the lead to the minimum. Crucially the Barrs answered with the next three points from O’Connell, Twomey and Jack O’Brien.
Bride Rovers were right back in the game when Ryan goaled in the 42nd minute after Shane O’Connor had opened up the defence. A Patrick O’Flynn point from a free followed, 2-8 apiece.
All set up for a helter-skelter conclusion.
The contribution from free-taker O’Connell was immense. Out near the sideline, he defied the elements to land a marvellous point. Hogan replied from play for Bride Rovers. Deadlock again.
O’Connell repeated the feat from almost the same position, his fifth point overall. In the 62nd minute, the east Cork men responded through a Barry free.
With two minutes of the allotted four played, Cahalane produced the winning point and St Finbarr’s held out for victory.
Scorers for St Finbarr’s: B Hayes 2-0, B O’Connell 0-5 f, E Twomey 0-4, J Cahalane, J O’Brien 0-1 each
Bride Rovers: B Roche and C Ryan 1-1 each, C Barry 0-4 (0-3 f), C Hogan 0-3, P O’Flynn 0-1 f.
St FINBARR'S: J McCarthy; E O’Regan, M Aherne, J Ryan; E Healy, C McCarthy, C Barrett (Capt); E Twomey, J Buttimer; J O’Kelly, L Hannigan, J O’Brien; J Cahalane, B Hayes, B O’Connell.
BRIDE ROVERS: B Hogan; M Quinn, J Mannix, J Connor; G O’Keeney, P O’Flynn, E Roche; K Kearney, S O’Connor (Capt); B Roche, C Hogan, C Ryan; C Barry, DJ Cahill, S Knox.
Subs: S Ahern for J Connor (half time), J O’Keeffe for G O’Keeney (42 inj).
Referee: Ciarán O’Regan (Ballyhea).