Sarsfields 0-15 St Finbarr’s 1-10
SARSFIELDS took home an early Christmas present to their base in Riverstown after retaining the Red FM Cork County SHL title at Páirc Uí Rinn last night.
On a very raw night for hurling, they edged out St Finbarr’s in a very competitive encounter that went right to the wire before the issue was resolved.
Sars put a lot of store into the secondary competition each year and they were rewarded here for that effort with a well-balanced return from the 15 on duty.
They lined out without two of their brightest, young players, Eoghan Murphy and Jack O’Connor and just about deserved their victory in the end.
However, the Barrs could just as easily have secured the spoils and they went very close to snatching it at the end with a last-gasp goal attempt that was thwarted by the Sars defence.
The sides were level numerous times over the course of the hour with the Barrs going in at the interval two points to the good, 1-5 to 0-6.
In that opening half, the city side had a few tasty points from Bill O’Connell, Eoghan Finn, Glenn O’Connor and Conor Cahalane with a brace.
Their goal arrived in the 19th minute from O’Connell after a superb sideline puck delivery from young Cahalane.
Sars had points from James Sweeney, Daniel Roche, Eoin O’Sullivan, Cian Darcy and Danny Kearney in the opening half and it was obvious at the juncture that there would be very little between the sides at the end.
The strong wind throughout made it difficult for both teams but the surface was again very good.
When the sides resumed, Sars sub-Tadgh Óg Murphy fired over a point and that was followed by another from Luke Hackett who finished the game with a hat-trick of points from open play.
James Sweeney’s point in the 47th minute had Sars a point clear and Hackett embellished the advantage with another pointed effort.
O’Connell made it a one-point game again after 50 minutes but Sars managed to stay in front as the clock began its countdown.
However, points from Conor Cahalane and O’Connell again for the Barrs had the issue back in the melting pot after 58 minutes and the stage was now set for a grandstanding finish.
Both sides were now going at it hammer and tongs but Sars were not about to surrender in their title retention bid.
Eoin O’Sullivan pointed another free to put his side two clear again and the Barrs were now looking for a goal to salvage the operation.
Sars lost Eoin O’Sullivan to a straight red card going into stoppage time, for a heavy challenge on the Barrs Cian Walsh.
But in a frenetic finish, the Riverstown team held their nerve and held out for the victory.
They were the more economical side over the course of the game and in total, they had nine players contributing on the scoresheet.
James Sweeney, Eoin O’Sullivan and Hackett all ended up with hat-tricks alongside their name and their wide count was much better than their opponents who shot 10 in total against just three for the East Cork team.
The trophy at the end was presented to the winning captain Eoin O’Sullivan after a game that finally brought the curtain down on a protracted season So the Denis Conroy trophy stays in Riverstown for another year and the hope must be that next time this competition will be concluded much earlier in the year.
Scorers for Sarsfields: J Sweeney, E O’Sullivan (0-2 frees) and L Hackett (0-3 each), D Kearney, D Roche, C Darcy, T Óg Murphy, C Duggan and A Myers (0-1 each).
St Finbarr’s: B O’Connell (1-5, 0-4 frees), C Cahalane (0-3), E Finn and G O’Connor (0-1 each).
SARSFIELDS: A Kennedy; W Kearney, C Leahy, C Roche; K Crowley, P Leopold, G Grey; C O’Sullivan, D Kearney; D Roche, J Sweeney, C Darcy; L Hackett, E O’Sullivan (capt), A Myers.
Subs: T Óg Murphy for K Crowley (half-time), C Duggan for C Darcy (45).
ST FINBARR’S: S Hurley; O Murphy, J Burns, C Walsh; G O’Connor, E Keane, J Goggin; C Barrett, C Cahalane; S Callanan, D Cahalane, E Finn; B O’Connell, R O’Mahony, B Beckett (capt).
Subs: I Lordan for B Beckett (half-time), C Keane for S Callanan (42), P Kelleher for O Murphy (51).
Referee: Nathan Wall (Carrigaline).