St Finbarr’s 5-12 Courcey Rovers 1-5
FOUR first-half goals lay the foundations for a strong St Finbarr’s victory in their quarter-final championship clash with Courcey Rovers on Sunday.
It was going to take something special from Courceys to get back into the game, but they couldn’t find it.
Courceys were only a shadow of how they can play and that was primarily down to two reasons. One, the work rate and hunger of a Barr’s team that has significantly improved and second, the loss for Courcey Rovers of Jacinta Crowley ruled out with a back injury and star forward Fiona Keating with Glandular fever.
Jacinta’s loss around the middle of the park was sorely felt while Linda Collins was missing the support of Keating up front.
But let’s not take from the excellent Barr’s performance. Stephanie Punch and Aoife O’Neill were very solid in the defensive corners. Gemma O’Connor, named at midfield dropped back and lorded it, brilliantly assisted by the teak-tough Lynda O’Connell in the middle of the park.
Based on that, the Barrs forwards got a plentiful supply and the on-fire Keeva McCarthy, stalwart Rachel Myers, Eimear Ryan and youngster Nicole Olden made the most of it.
Aided by the wind, which wasn’t that strong in the opening half, the Barrs led by 2-3 to 0-1 after the end of the first quarter, Rachel Myers and Eimear Ryan hitting the net. Myers again seemed to get the final touch in the goalmouth on 26 minutes before the impressive Nicole Olden pulled on the bounce to blast the net and it was getting harder to see a way back for Rovers.
The wind picked up for the second half but despite Linda Collins goaling after 42 minutes it was the Barrs who continued to pile on the pressure. O’Connor cleaned up in defence, Meabh Cahalane launched a few attacks and Keeva McCarthy picked off a further three points, all from play.
Courceys never gave up the chase and had their good moments but didn’t have the spread of forwards to make it count against a firm Barrs defence.
The game was long over before McCarthy struck the Barrs’ fifth goal with 11 minutes remaining.
St Finbarr’s versus Sarsfields now makes for a great semi-final.
Scorers for St. Finbarrs: K McCarthy 1-6 (0-2 f), Olden 1-2, R Myers 2-0, E Ryan 1-0, E Olden 0-2, G Cahalane, G Olden 0-1 each.
Courcey Rovers: L Collins 1-4, S McCarthy 0-1.
ST FINBARR’S: E Hurley; S Punch, A Egan, A O’Neill; C Ryan, L O’Connell, M Cahalane; G O’Connor, R Finn; N Olden, E Olden, A Shannon; K McCarthy, E Ryan, R Myers.
Subs: C Golden for R Myers (38), G Cahalane for E Ryan (52), E Wigginton Barrett for L O’Connell (56).
COURCEY ROVERS: S O’Reilly; S O’Sullivan, C Hayes, E O’Regan; O Twomey, A Moloney, A O’Reilly; E O’Reilly, S McCarthy; L Collins, E O’Reilly, C O’Neill; G Hannon, L Collins, C O’Reilly.
Subs: E Maguire for C O’Reilly (25), G O’Reilly for G Hannon (h-t), A M Collins for E O’Reilly (47), L Helbrow for S McCarthy (48).
Referee: Cathal McAllister (Aghada).