Sherlock delivers for St Finbarr's in epic climax to deny gallant Clonakilty

The championship's leading scorer came up trumps with the winning point near the end of injury-time.
Sherlock delivers for St Finbarr's in epic climax to deny gallant Clonakilty

St Finbarr's captain Ian Maguire and Michael Shields, with his daughter Jamie, raise the Andy Scannell Cup at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

St Finbarr's 0-14 Clonakilty 0-13 

HOW fitting that Steven Sherlock should be the St Finbarr's match-winner at the end of a gripping Bonn Secours Premier Senior Football Championship final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday.

All season long the competition's hottest sharp-shooter has been at the centre of his side's progress and Sherlock delivered once again when it mattered most.

The sides were level for the eighth time after Gearoid Barry nailed a beauty from the right two minutes into four added on for stoppages.

But, there was still time for Sherlock to do what he does best, finding the target after substitute Adam Lyne presented him with the opportunity to stitch his name into Barrs folklore.

And yet, Clonakilty, who contributed generously to a magnificent decider, had one chance to force a replay, but keeper Mark White's difficult effort from distance drifted wide at the far post, only the team's second wide.

It was an edge-of-the-seat thriller in which both teams showed courage in abundance with the Barrs just about deserving their success.

Clon led by 0-4 to 0-2 at the first water-break after settling quicker, Ross Mannix opening the scoring after four minutes as the Blues kicked a couple of wides and dropped two more into Mark White's grateful arms.

The West Cork club could have goaled after 11 minutes when midfielder Ben Ridgeway was sent clear by Sean White only for John Kerins to deny him with a fine save and Billy Hennessy completed the clearance.

Less than a minute later the Barrs were level with Ian Maguire's left-footer and Brian Hayes nudged them in front for the first time moments later.

Clon responded well with three unanswered scores courtesy of Maurice Shanley's dash from the back, Sean McEvoy and Dara Ó Sé.

The water-break disrupted their flow, however, as the Barrs took over on the resumption, keeping their opponents scoreless and adding four of their own to lead 0-6 to 0-4 at the interval.

Sherlock opened his account with a 20th minute free, followed by an outstanding Denis O'Brien effort on the right as Sherlock kicked two more.

Clon had a second chance of a goal after 24 minutes, Joe Grimes firing low at Kerins, following a pass from Odhran Bancroft, but the keeper controlled it impressively.

The Barrs registered half-a-dozen wides in the period compared to Clon's one and that came just before injury-time.

The third quarter was rip-roaring, Clon edging it 0-5 to 0-4 to leave only the minimum between the sides at the second water-break, the Barrs 0-10 to 0-9 in front, but the outcome looked like going the distance.

Little did we know that it was only warming up for a quite breath-taking closing quarter when it ebbed one way and then the other.

Clon restored parity through McEvoy and an Ó Sé free edged them 0-11 to 0-10 ahead after 48 minutes only for the Barrs to repeat the dose via substitute Cillian Myers-Murray and Conor McCrickard. Then Ó Sé levelled from a free, 0-12 each on the hour.

Enter injury-time. First, Lyne was fouled for Sherlock to convert before Barry's magnificent score levelled once again before Sherlock engineered enough room and time to pop over the winner.

St Finbarr's Brian Hayes celebrates the win over Clon. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
St Finbarr's Brian Hayes celebrates the win over Clon. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Scorers for St Finbarr's: S Sherlock 0-7 (0-4 f), I Maguire, D O'Brien 0-2 each, B Hayes, C McCrickard, C Myers-Murray 0-1 each.

Clonakilty: D Ó Sé 0-6 (0-5 f), S McEvoy, R Mannix 0-2 each, G Barry, J O'Mahony, M Shanley 0-1 each.

ST FINBARR'S: J Kerins; S Ryan, J Burns, C Scully; C Lyons, B Hennessy, A O'Connor; I Maguire, captain, B Hayes; D O'Brien, C McCrickard, C Barrett; E Comyns, S Sherlock, E Dennehy.

Subs: C Myers-Murray for Hayes 43, M Shields for O'Brien E McGreevey for Dennehy 47, B O'Connell for Barrett 56, A Lynne for McCrickard 59.

CLONAKILTY: M White; M Shanley, T Clancy, D Peet; D Lowney, E Deasy, S White; B Ridgeway, J Grimes; G Barry, D Ó Sé, S McEvoy; R Mannix, J O'Mahony, O Bancroft.

Sub: C Daly for Mannix 53.

Referee: D Murnane (Macroom)

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