St Finbarr's 3-18
St FINBARR'S began their Rebel Og Coiste Premier 1 Minor Hurling Championship Round Robin Section 1 campaign in style as they defeated a spirited Blackrock side by 3-18 to 2-15 at Church Road on Wednesday evening.
Two sensational individual performances from the Barrs corner-forward pairing of William Buckley, who claimed 0-12 of their total (including 10 frees), and Johnny Barrett, who scored a hat-trick of goals, was enough to earn their side a deserved six-point win in their opening game.
But it was Blackrock who started the game the better side and led by their number eight Ryan Sweeney, they raced into a three-point lead inside six minutes with the midfielder grabbing two superb scores from play shortly after his converted 65 broke the deadlock.
The home side could have and maybe even should have been further ahead but they were quality of spurning a number of good opportunities with five of their seven first-half wides coming before the tenth minute.
The Barrs eventually settled into the contest and amazingly they soon levelled the scores thanks to a sensational solo goal from Johnny Barrett.
The right corner-forward gathered possession, skipped past his marker, and expertly drilled the sliotar into the roof of the net when bearing down on goal, 0-3 to 1-0.
The visitors were also guilty of missing chances to add to their tally as they hit nine wides in total during the first half.
But they would take the lead for the first time in this competitive encounter with 11 minutes on the clock when the excellent Ben O’Connor raised a white flag and that was quickly followed by another through William Buckley, his first of two points he notched from play.
The side’s soon swapped three points apiece as Finbarrs remained in front either side of the much-needed water break, the scoreboard reading 1-5 to 0-6 with eight minutes to go before the proper half-time break.
The Rockies would twice split the uprights before the interval but the frees of Buckley and a brilliant long-range point from a tight angle by centre-back Ben O’Connor was enough to see the Barrs hold a 1-8 to 0-8 advantage at half-time.
Buckley added another to his impressive tally but the Rockies soon got themselves right back into contention as they raised a green flag for the first time with Luke O’Herlihy’s strike from a long, long way out deceived the goalkeeper and dropped into the back of his net to put them within the minimum of their rivals, 1-9 to 1-8.
But Buckley and the rest of his Barrs teammates again showed their character and their quality as they scored four points without a replay, three from the man with number 13 on his back and a great effort by Ryan Bennett again giving them control of proceedings, 1-13 to 1-9.
The yellow and greens weren’t going to give up without a fight and shortly after Lee O’Sullivan sent a free from distance over the black spot, full forward Mickey O’Connell fired an unstoppable shot under it to give his team hope.
The twice got the score back to level terms heading into the final ten minutes of this frantic match and a Rory Shaughnessy point actually had them ahead 2-13 to 1-15.
But the talent in the Barrs forward line proved to be too much and two more powerfully finished goals by Johnny Barrett, to complete his treble, helped them secure the win by six points.
Blackrock’s next fixture in this competition sees them travel to Na Piarsaigh on Sunday afternoon while St Finbarrs host Bride Rovers at Togher at the same time, 12pm throw-in.
Scorers for St Finbarr's: W Buckley 0-12 (0-10 frees), J Barrett 3-1, R Bennett 0-3, B O’Connor 0-2.
Blackrock: M O’Connell 1-3 (0-3 frees), R Sweeney 0-4 (0-1 frees, 0-1 65), L O’Herlihy 1-1, R O’Shaughnessy 0-3 (0-1 frees), L O’Sullivan 0-2 (0-1 free), J O’Sullivan and F Leahy 0-1 each.
ST FINBARR'S: A Baker; C Collins, S Kennedy, J Kennefick; C Hegarty, B O’Connor, C Hurley; R O’Donovan, D Dwane; J Twomey, R Bennett, L O’Shea; W Buckley, C Buckley, J Barrett.
Subs: T O’Keefe for D Dwane (7).
BLACKROCK: E Coughlan; J O'Brien, S Healy, R Cashman; M O'Connell, C Coakley, C McCaffrey; R Sweeney, L O'Sullivan; J O'Sullivan, R O'Shaughnessy, D Browne; F Leahy, M O'Connell, L O'Herlihy.
Subs: V Ryan for J O’Sullivan (ht), O McAdoo for M O’Connell (36), J O’Farrell for F Leahy (56).
Referee: Nathan Wall (Carrigaline).