Sarsfields 2-9 St Finbarr’s 1-8
A GREATER strength in depth and a greater spread of scorers led Sarsfields into the SE Systems Senior County Championship final for the first time in 30 years.
Trailing by two points after 40 minutes, the final 20 belonged to Sars. Impact substitute Ciara Irwin brought the sides level with 10 minutes to go and from there Michelle Barry, Lucy Allen, Molly Lynch (penalty) and Claire Mullins shot over for Sars to win by four.
St Finbarr’s were up 0-6 to 1-2 at the break, after initially trailing by four points after 10 minutes. Hollie Herlihy hit the net on 11 to add to Emer Fennell’s two points with Sars failing to score for the remainder of the half, while Keeva McCarthy struck all of the Barr’s six points, a statistic which would continue.
It was an enthralling game from two fully committed sides. Barr’s keeper Eimear Hurley was busy in the opening half.
They played deep, Claire Mullins dropping back and winning good ball around the middle. Stephanie Punch was handed the task of marking Emer Fennell while Gemma O’Connor maintained a half-back role.
The Barrs had the strong swirling wind in the opening half. You felt they hadn’t done enough and when Michelle Barry hit the net for Sars’ second goal within two minutes of the restart it looked as if the feeling was justified. The Barrs attacked more without it.
Keeva McCarthy struck two frees before she rattled the net with a great strike to give the Barrs a three point advantage. The Barrs hit a strong patch with Meabh Cahalane making some good runs down the middle and should have got more of a return but the Sars defence, in particular Emma Casey and full-back Katie Barry, made sure there was no way through.
Sars upped the intensity. All over the field they started to win the hard battles. Chloe Casey (f) and Emer Fennell (45) struck two before Irwin brought Sars level. When you have a side where so many players can find the target it takes pressure off any individual.
Scorers for Sarsfields: M Barry 1-1, E Fennell 0-3 (0-1 45), H Herlihy 1-0, C Casey 0-1 (f), M Lynch 0-1 (pen), C Irwin, L Allen, C Mullins 0-1 each.
St Finbarr’s: K McCarthy 1-8 (0-6 f, 0-1 45).
SARSFIELDS: M Lynch; K Walsh, K Barry, N O’Callaghan; E Casey, M Mullins, E Murphy; L Kelly, C Casey; C Mullins, H Herlihy; O McAllen; E Fennell, L Allen, M Barry.
Subs: E Lonergan for K Walsh (27), C Irwin for C Casey (49), M McCarthy for H Herlihy (53), R O’Mahony for C Mullins (32).
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 (h-t), E B Ryan for E Olden (41), G Cahalane for C Ryan (55).
Referee: John Horgan (Glenn na Laoi).