St Finbarr's v Éire Óg: Injury rules dual star Brian Hayes out

St Finbarr's v Éire Óg: Injury rules dual star Brian Hayes out

St Finbarr's Brian Hayes celebrates the win over Clonakilty in the Bon Secours Cork Premier SFC final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

ST FINBARR’S will be without Brian Hayes for their Munster Club football semi-final against Éire Óg, Ennis, at Páirc Uí Rinn on Sunday at 1.30pm.

The dual Cork U20 star, who won an All-Ireland hurling medal during the year, limped out of the county final win over Clonakilty after suffering a hamstring injury 

“It’s not a serious injury, but it hasn’t responded to treatment, though we’d be hoping he’d back if we do progress,” said manager Paul O’Keeffe.

Hayes had a very busy 2021, captaining Cork U20 footballers to Munster glory and going all the way with the hurlers before teaming up with the Barrs in both codes, too.

I’m actually amazed Brian lasted this long without getting a niggle. He was flat for about a month when he came back to us after inter-county before becoming a very important player again.

“Every game he played in seemed to be important and there’s no doubt he’s a serious loss for us on Sunday. Still, there are plenty of fellows putting their hands up to fill the position and it should work out okay.”

It’s three weeks since the Clon game and Éire Óg have also played a quarter-final against dual Tipperary champions, Loughmore-Castleiney.

“The lads are training well, having been back in the groove again since last week. They did their partying for a few days, but they are very focused for this. I saw Éire Óg against Loughmore-Castleiney and I was impressed. They’re a good side.

“They are well organised, set up defensively, a bit like Clonakilty, and then try to hit you on the counter-attack.

“Éire Óg look to have some decent forwards and the one thing about the Munster Club is that you’re playing teams who are champions in their own right.

“And the fact that they’re already after a game in the championship will help blow off the cobwebs.

“They are probably a bit ahead of us in that regard and if you drop your guard at all you’ll get done. Every team is tried and tested in their own county so there will be that challenge for us.

“When I was involved with College in 2011 you certainly couldn’t take any team for granted.”

The Barrs return to provincial action for the first time since 2018 when a crack Dr Croke’s side taught them a lesson in Killarney.

“The lads felt they let themselves down at the time and yet it was probably unavoidable because there had been such an outpouring of emotion after the winning the county for the first time in over 30 years.

“You were playing a Croke’s team at their peak and while it might have been different if we had a game going into it, there’s certainly a feeling of unfinished business.

“The lads want to prove themselves at Munster Club level and there is an appetite for it this year which is great."

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