Ger Cunningham: big-game experience invaluable for Barrs youngsters

Togher side move forward to a semi-final meeting with Newtownshandrum
Ger Cunningham: big-game experience invaluable for Barrs youngsters

St Finbarr's Ben Cunningham shoots from Douglas' Eoin Cadogan during the Co-Op Superstores Premier SHC quarter-final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Having topped the 'group of death', St Finbarr's added another notch to their belt as victory over Douglas earned them a place in the semi-finals of the Co-op SuperStores Cork Premier SHC.

At Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday, the Barrs came out on top of a 0-22 to 0-18 scoreline. They now face Newtownshandrum and manager Ger Cunningham was delighted to have kept the momentum going.

“It was heart-stopping stuff,” he said.

“It was a great battle, a great contest, it swung both ways. There was nothing in it until the last ten minutes when we tacked on a couple of scores to give us a small bit of a window but they came back at us again.

“It was point for point and then Douglas went two up but we got six on the run and that was crucial. It calmed our nerves on the sideline and some of our defenders were outstanding.

“I’m thrilled for our fellas, they worked really hard. They put a lot of effort in – some of those guys are going week on week and there’s great credit due to them to put up a performance like that when the questions were asked.

“I’m thrilled we’re in a semi-final. Our first objective was to get out of the group and we’re taking it game by game now.”

With the Barrs footballers having taken top seeding in the Premier SFC, the club now have a rare weekend off.

“Some of our lads have a weekend off, but the three Cahalanes have a football quarter-final to play as well,” Cunningham said.

“It’s a great place to be. We’re delighted to be here, it was great to see the Barrs supporters down here in great numbers and cheering the team off afterwards.

“It’s been a long year and a challenging year with the split season. The conditions really changed in the last week or so with the weather, so it’s a big difference compared to a rock-hard pitch two weeks ago.

“Fair play to everyone for getting the game played, in the morning it was looking doubtful. We’re delighted to be in a semi-final and we’re looking forward to it.”

And, given that they have so many young players, this run can only benefit them.

“They’ll get massive experience from this, this is knockout hurling,” Cunningham said.

“In the group stages, you have the safety net in the context that if you lose a game you’re not out.

“Now, it’s all knockout and it’s where we want to be. They’ll learn hugely from this and that’ll bring them on and be part of their development going forward.”

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