Barrs rise from the ashes to record remarkable win over the Rockies in thriller

They found themseves nine points adrift early in the game, but rallied to win by a point in dramatic climax
Barrs rise from the ashes to record remarkable win over the Rockies in thriller

Stephen Murphy, Blackrock, tries to block down St Finbarr's midfielder Ethan Twomey, in the Premier SHC game at Páirc Uí Rinn. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

St Finbarr’s 0-24 Blackrock 1-20 

ST FINBARR’S produced one of the greatest comebacks in their long and illustrious history by edging great rivals Blackrock in a thrilling Co-Op Superstores county PSHC tie at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday evening.

They overturned an early nine-point deficit to somehow surge five clear in second-half injury-time when the Rockies sensed a second get-out-of-jail scenario.

Ninety seconds from the end of four added-on minutes, Shane O’Keeffe bundled in a goal to make it a two-point game.

Then, substitute John O’Sullivan pointed moments later to add to the tension and when Mark O’Keeffe shaped up for an equaliser in almost the closing act, a hushed silence descended on the ground.

His effort from distance on the right veered wide, though, the Rockies’ 19th, and with went their immediate hopes of emerging from the Group of Death.

That pleasure still awaits, but it’s sure to be fraught with anxiety as they face Charleville and the ’Barr’s battle Sarsfields in an exciting climax.

To describe the transformation as remarkable wouldn’t even go close because the Rockies could only add three points on the resumption before Tadhg Deasy chipped in with another approaching the hour.

The Barrs, though, grew in confidence, inspired by youngsters Ben O’Connor, Ethan Twomey, Jack Cahalane, Brian Hayes and Ben Cunningham.

They were level for the fifth time at 0-18 apiece via Twomey’s excellent third point in the 43rd minute and it triggered a train reaction from those around him.

Five more scores flowed from the sticks of the boys in blue, Conor Cahalane joining the others to register crucial points as the Barrs swept 0-23 to 0-18 in front before the Rockies rallied.

At the outset, the Rockies looked like a side intent on getting their business finished quickly and effectively.

Having escaped with a late flourish in their opening round win over Sars, Blackrock carried on from where they left by racing into an 0-11 to 0-2 lead after only 10 minutes.

It was an extraordinary opening by any standards as all six forwards nailed scores from play and the Barrs defence was dragged all over the pitch.

The Rockies could do little wrong even though Cunningham opened the scoring because they claimed the next four points in as many minutes, Michael O’Halloran (2), Tadhg Deasy and Alan Connolly hitting the target.

Twomey claimed the Barrs' second point only for the Rockies to nail seven without response in a game that threatened to move out of their opponents’ reach, despite the game’s infancy.

 Conor O'Brien, Blackrock, is fouled by Glenn O'Connor, St Finbarr's. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Conor O'Brien, Blackrock, is fouled by Glenn O'Connor, St Finbarr's. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Mark O’Keeffe and Robbie Cotter joined the growing list of scorers and the Barrs were grateful for keeper Shane Hurley getting down smartly to divert Connolly’s low shot away for a 65, which he converted, after nine minutes.

A goal then might have killed the ’Barr’s chances and yet seconds later Shane O’Keeffe ensured all Rockies forwards had troubled the scoreboard operator.

Then, slowly, but surely, the ’Barr’s managed to stem the bleeding, young O’Connor thundering into the contest and gradually eroding the lead.

Cunninghan’s accuracy from frees was critical as was a super effort from Jack Cahalane after 18 minutes left it 0-13 to 0-7, but the Barrs had settled.

By the break, they had cut it to the minimum, 0-15 to 0-14, and even took the lead for only the second time with a Cunningham free early in the second-half.

Little did we know the game was still just warming up.

Scorers for St Finbarr’s: B Cunningham 0-12 (0-10 f), B Hayes, E Twomey, J Cahalane 0-3 each, B O’Connor, E Finn, C Cahalane 0-1 each.

Blackrock: A Connolly 0-9 (0-6 f, 0-1 65), S O’Keeffe 1-1, R Cotter 0-3, M O’Keeffe, M O’Halloran, T Deasy 0-2 each, J O’Sullivan 0-1.

ST FINBARR’S: S Hurley; E Keane, J Burns, C Walsh; B O’Connor, D Cahalane, B Hennessy; G O’Connor, E Twomey; B Cunningham, E Finn, C Cahalane; B Hayes, P Buggy, J Cahalane.

Subs: W Buckley for Buggy 43, C Doolan for G O’Connor 59.

BLACKROCK: G Connolly; S Murphy, C O’Brien, A O’Callaghan; C Cormack, J Cashman, N Cashman; D Meaney, C McCarthy; M O’Keeffe, S O’Keeffe, M O’Halloran; T Deasy, A Connolly, R Cotter.

Subs: J O’Sullivan for McCarthy half-time, C Cormack for Meaney 50.

Referee: N O’Neill (Midleton).

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