Glen Rovers 2-17 St Finbarr’s 1-14
THE spirit of the Glen rose to new heights on Saturday when they dethroned St Finbarr’s in a highly entertaining semi-final of the Premier Minor Hurling Championship.
The Barrs went into this game as slight favourites but they can have few complaints as they were defeated by a better-balanced side who has eye-catching performances from Stephen Lynam, scorer of 1-6 from play, and Cork minor Eoin O’Leary. The Glen now take on Bride Rovers in a unique final pairing.
The Barrs got off to a good start with a magnificent Ben O’Connor in the opening minute. However, the Glen sprung into life and the energetic Lynam spilt the uprights with a superb strike.
On the next possession, Lynam picked up a loose ball before unleashing a magnificent shot to the roof of the net. The Glen scoring avalanche continued and three unanswered points edged the Glen into a 1-5 to 0-2 lead.
The Blues responded to the wake-up call and with William Buckley excelling they responded with four unanswered points. Buckley then broke through the Glen defence in the 14th minute but his sublime strike was parried.
The Barrs shooting was poor in this period as they amassed nine wides up to the 25th minute and trailed 1-7 to 0-7.
The hosts dropped their intensity coming up to the break, and the shooting from both sides was letting them down. O’Leary ended the Glen drought with a point in the closing minute of the first half.
On the next possession, Lynam made another impressive run but his well-struck shot was stopped by Ali Baker.
In added time the Barrs ended a 10-minute scoreless period when Buckley finished the half with another point following a free but the Glen were still up by a goal.
After accumulating 11 wides in the first half the Barrs needed a good start but it was the home side who returned to the fray with real focus, as points from Zach Lynch and a monstrous strike from O’Leary that extended the Glen lead to five by the 37th minute.
On the next possession, O’Leary showed coolness personified to strike a beauty to the corner of the net as the Barrs title aspirations were slipping away from them.
The Togher side got a chance to get back in the game three minutes later when Luke O’Shea slipped in behind the Glen defence but his shot hit the side-netting.
When Charlie Hurley struck over an opportunist point in the 44th minute the Glen increased their lead to 10 points 2-12 to 0-8.
Finally, the Barrs got up and running a minute later when Ryan Bennet raised a white flag and then William and Cian Buckley added consecutive points to give them a ray of hope.
John Barrett got another chance to reduce the deficit further just before the water break but again the Glen keeper Ben Heffernan produced another top-class save.
In the closing minutes, the Barrs pushed forward and again Heffernan was on hand to thwart a classy Ben O’Connor shot.
William Buckley gave his all to the final whistle and contributed 10 points over the hour but the balance of the Glen in key departments set the tone for this win.
Going forward the Glen have skilled forwards and that’s what broke the hearts of the champions as they couldn’t restrict their movement and ability to score.
The cheer at the final whistle from the Glen faithful was loud and clear as they can now set their sights on the final against Bride Rovers next week.