Keeper Kerins the hero as Barrs reach another county football final

The Togher club avenge last season's penalty shoot-out after epic contest with brilliant Castlehaven
Keeper Kerins the hero as Barrs reach another county football final

Super keeper! St Finbarr's penalty hero John Kerins after their win over Castlehaven at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Larry Cummins

St Finbarr's 3-16 Castlehaven 3-16 (after extra-time)

(St Finbarr's win 5-4 on penalties) 

KEEPER John Kerins emerged as the St Finbarr's hero by saving a penalty and then converting the winning kick in a dramatic penalty shoot-out at the end of a memorable Bon Secours county PSFC semi-final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday.

Kerins brilliantly saved Rory Maguire's effort, Castlehaven's fourth, before he turned scorer with an emphatic finish to the right of his opposite number Anthony Seymour.

The winners converted all five kicks, Eoghan McGreevey, Brian Hayes, Michael Shields, Steven Sherlock and Kerins while Brian Hurley, Mark Collins, Damien Cahalane and Michael Hurley all scored for the Haven.

Sherlock assured penalties by remaining the coolest player on the pitch when nailing a 35m free from the left to minutes into injury-time in the second half of extra-time.

The Haven led 3-16 to 3-13 following points from Shane Nolan, Cathal Maguire and Brian Hurley, but the Barrs responded through three Sherlock points.

The rivals couldn't be separated at the end of the first period of extra-time, all square at 3-13 apiece following superb points from Cian Walsh and Steven Sherlock with Brian Hurley and Shane Nolan replying for the Haven.

Brian Hurley had forced extra-time in extraordinary circumstances in the closing act deep in injury-time by kicking a sweet 45.

His effort from play was initially signalled wide despite Haven claims it was touched and the decision was changed on the advice of linesman Dave Murnane.

It finished 3-11 apiece after a breath-taking hour-plus of football during which the Barrs accumulated 14 wides to the Haven's six.

The west Cork side edged 3-9 to 2-8 in front by the second water-break only for their opponents to respond with 1-2, Conor McCrickard's 49th-minute goal re-igniting their challenge.

 Cathal Maguire, Castlehaven, with possession. Picture: Larry Cummins
Cathal Maguire, Castlehaven, with possession. Picture: Larry Cummins

In the first half, the Barrs couldn't have asked for a better start with Sherlock goaling after 90 seconds following a move involving Brian Hayes, Ian Maguire and Enda Dennehy.

Sherlock, who was being marked by Damien Cahalane, added a superb point moments later before it was the Haven's turn to create a goal-scoring opportunity.

Michael Hurley cut in from the left and although his shot was saved by keeper John Kerins, the Haven were awarded a free which Brian Hurley converted.

It was end-to-end action as scores flowed freely and by the first water-break, the Haven had sneaked in front by 1-4 to 1-3 with Conor O'Driscoll also prominent.

 Eoin Comyns, Barrs, and Robbie Minihane, Castlehaven, challenge in the air. Picture: Larry Cummins
Eoin Comyns, Barrs, and Robbie Minihane, Castlehaven, challenge in the air. Picture: Larry Cummins

The Barrs should have had a second goal on 16 minutes, but Conor McCrickard opted for a pass to Ian Maguire instead of pulling the trigger himself.

Thirty seconds later, the west Cork side surged up field for Michael Hurley to score with a cracking shot high into the net.

Yet, immediately on the resumption, the Barrs did manage a second goal, Colm Scully sweeping through from deep to set up Sherlock, who finished confidently for 2-3 to 1-4.

And that goal separated the sides at the interval, the Togher club 2-7 to 1-7 ahead though they needed Kerins to be at his best in the third minute of injury-time when he stopped a strong Michael Hurley shot.

The threat posed by Sherlock and Brian Hurley in front of the opposition goal was already building up to be a determining factor.

Picture: Larry Cummins
Picture: Larry Cummins

Scorers for St Finbarr's: S Sherlock 2-10 (0-4 f), C McCrickard 1-2, D O'Brien, B Hayes, C Myers-Murray, C Walsh 0-1 each.

Castlehaven: B Hurley 2-9 (0-3 f, 0-2 45, 0-1 m), M Hurley 1-1, C O'Driscoll, S Nolan 0-2 each, M Collins, C Maguire 0-1 each.

ST FINBARR'S: J Kerins; S Ryan, J Burns, B Hennessy; C Lyons, A O'Connor, C Scully; I Maguire (c), E Dennehy; D O'Brien, C McCrickard, B Hayes; C Barrett, S Sherlock, C Myers-Murray.

Subs: E Comyns for O'Brien 38, E McGreevey for Myers-Murray 39, M Shields for Dennehy 47, C Walsh for Barrett 60, D Callanan for McCrickard 67, B O'Connell for Scully 70.

CASTLEHAVEN: A Seymour; J O'Regan, R Maguire, R Walsh; D Whelton, D Cahalane, D McCarthy; J Walsh, M Collins (c); C Maguire, B Hurley, C Cahalane; C O'Driscoll, J Cahalane, M Hurley.

Subs: R Whelton for Maguire 38, R Minihane for Walsh 52, A Whelton for M Hurley 58, S Nolan for C O'Driscoll 60, D Cahalane for C Cahalane 70.

Referee: J Ryan (Macroom).

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