Barrs savour Munster triumph: 'We don't do anything without drama'

St Finbarr's have to survive a storming Austin Stacks' comeback to lift the provincial title for the first time since 1986
Barrs savour Munster triumph: 'We don't do anything without drama'

Young St Finbarr's supporters at Semple Stadium. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

ST FINBARR’S claimed their fifth Munster club football title and their first since 1986 following a thrilling 2-9 to 1-10 win over Kerry champions Austin Stacks in Thurles on Sunday.

There was a dramatic second-half as Stacks reeled a six-point deficit down to the bare minimum and the kept the crowd of 3,848 glued to their seats.

A goal after 20 seconds from Cillian Myers-Murray and a second near the end from substitute Enda Dennehy were critical in the victory.

St Finbarr's Ian Maguire lifts the trophy after the club's sixth Munster success. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
St Finbarr's Ian Maguire lifts the trophy after the club's sixth Munster success. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Manager Paul O’Keeffe, like everyone else wearing blue, went through the wringer before saluting a memorable success.

“It was an epic win, phenomenal, and it’s something what we’ve been doing all season,” he said.

“We don’t do anything without drama, which is great for the supporters, but a nightmare on the line.

“I thought our first-half was brilliant and the early goal was something we had planned.

“We put Brian Hayes in at full-forward because there’s nobody in the country capable of making him one-on-one on the edge of the square.

“It worked out. Brian got a touch for Cillian to score and that was the difference really for the rest of the game.

“It not only gave us that kind of cushion even though Stacks got it back to one point in the second half, but it gave us a lot of self-belief, too, and settled nerves straight away.” 

Young St Finbarr's supporters celebrate an early goal. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Young St Finbarr's supporters celebrate an early goal. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

The Togher club led by 1-7 to 0-4 at half-time and were in pole position.

“I thought six points ahead at half-time was a great lead and we spoke about adding a couple of points at the start of the second half.

“But, typically, we did the exact opposite and we will get caught someday at the higher levels.

“No matter how times I say it, the boys do what they do and it’s probably them reacting to a very intense opening half.”

BENCH PRESS

The bench played a significant role, too, with veteran Michael Shields pivotal in those dramatic closing stages.

He created the opportunity for Enda Dennehy to claim the second goal and then was fouled for the clinching Steven Sherlock free.

“Surely we will close it out now, five points up with five minutes to go, but Stacks come up and get a goal and it’s back to the usual drama.

It was a great game to win, but if we had lost it we’d have been sickened.

“You can bring on that bit of pace, when the opposition are lagging, the likes of Enda and Colm Barrett adding fierce pace.

“Shields is a rock, never spills the ball, never gives it away and the leadership he brings on the field is just fantastic,” O’Keeffe concluded.

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