ST FINBARR'S captain, Ian Maguire, praised Stephen Sherlock's 10-point contribution to their county senior football championship victory over Carbery Rangers at Páirc Uí Chaoimh at the weekend.
The star forward kicked six crucial points against the wind in the second-half after mixing the good with the bad in an erratic opening half display, which summed up the 'Barr's display in the period.
Sherlock scored all four points from placed balls, but missed a number of other chances from play and frees to leave the 'Barr's trailing by 0-8 to 0-4 after playing with the wind.
“I am very hard on Stephen,” said Maguire. “We've great time for him at the club. If he doesn't deliver we're under pressure and he knows that.
“Things weren't going right for him in the first-half, but Stephen really stood up in the second.
“The sign of any good forward, be it at inter-county or club level, is that they stick at it and Stephen went for it no matter what.
“People must remember he's only 22 and I thought he stood up to be counted, leading the forward line.” Maguire was also quick to compliment others, like youngster Eoghan McGreevey, who also did very well.
“Conor Dennehy came on and did a great job on marking John O'Rourke, sticking with him throughout while Sam Ryan did his usual good job on John Hayes.
“And I must mention John Kerins, who had his first senior start and did very well. He managed the game superbly.
“Eric Barrett, the goalkeeping coach, Declan Murphy, James McDonnell and John are a tight group who've worked hard all year and I'm just delighted it well for John.”
The 'Barr's are now in their third county final in 12 months, having lost to Nemo Rangers in a replay last season.
“We were a bit nervous coming in, but quietly confident at the same time. Clearly, we were in a bad position at half-time though only four points down at the same time.
“There was no panic because we had two good goal-scoring opportunities in the first-half and we still hadn't clicked into gear.
“We knew we had to up the gears a small bit. In the first-half I just couldn't get my hands on the ball.
“In the second, we had to work harder, support the runners and I think people saw our running game at its best.
“I just don't know why we can't put 60 minutes together. It's either 30, 45 or 15 and we seem to be stumbling our way to the finishing line this year.
“There are lessons there. Carbery Rangers play at their own pace and we needed to turn the screw.
“Stephen started converting tough frees and suddenly we were up and motoring.
“It's a good sign of our team that whatever about talent we do have courage in abundance.”
Maguire and company await the result of the other semi-final between Duhallow and Castlehaven which ended level.
The skipper doesn't believe it's an advantage that they can keep an eye on their final opponents.
“We saw Carbery Rangers against Clonakilty in the quarter-final and they hardly put a foot wrong in the first-half.
“But, it was only when we looked at the video that we noticed other aspects. Either way both Duhallow and the Haven are very experienced teams,” Maguire concluded.
The final is on Sunday, the 28th, preceded by the intermediate decider.