St Finbarr’s 2-17 Castlehaven 1-16
NO need for the usual drama on this occasion as the holders St Finbarr’s set up an all-city final in the Bon Secours county PSFC with a deserved win over Castlehaven at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday.
Though the rivals were level on a dozen occasions-the last via Steven Sherlock’s brilliant point off the top of the crossbar under fierce pressure in the 43rd minute-there was no disputing the defending champions were the better side.
They squandered enough goal-scoring opportunities, notably in the first half, to have won two games, but their second, four minutes from the end of regulation time, finally killed the Haven’s brave bid.
Captain Ian Maguire spotted a lung-bursting dash through the middle by Brian Hayes, who steadied to round keeper Anthony Seymour before crashing in the game-clinching goal and a 2-16 to 1-14 advantage.
Even then, the Haven still didn’t give up the chase, ’Barr’s keeper John Kerins under-hitting a short clearance only to be rescued by Sam Ryan blocking Mark Collins’s shot on the goal-line as the game entered six minutes of injury-time.
From there to the final whistle, the Togher club ran down the clock without any undue bother to book their place against rivals Nemo Rangers in what should be an intriguing final.
Still, the signs were ominous from an early stage that this was boiling up to be another close affair as the sides were level nine times during an exciting opening half and couldn’t be separated at the break, 1-8 to 0-11, the Haven providing the lone goal.
And, yet, how the Barrs didn’t grab a goal and more of their own was another chapter in a remarkable first-half story because they created opportunities with some enterprising approach play only to fail to finish them off.
Brian Hayes soloed through in the sixth minute, but could only hammer the ball off the legs of keeper Anthony Seymour, and then Cillian Myers-Murray flashed a shot wide of the target from a good position after 18 minutes.
Sherlock blasted over for his side’s eighth point in the 24th minute, latching onto the rebound from an Ian Maguire shot, which struck an upright, and could easily have been a Barrs goal.
Yet, two minutes later the Haven showed how. Brian Hurley picking out brother Michael with a fine pass and the finish was low and hard past John Kerins’s right post, 1-8 to 0-8.
The champions, though, reeled it with three points, the equaliser coming from an unlikely source in defender Jamie Burns, who fisted over, when a goal was there for the taking.
The Barrs continued in the same vein on the resumption, adding three more points in as many minutes with Hayes, Enda Dennehy and a fine Myers-Murray effort helping them to a 0-14 to 1-8 lead and seemingly getting on top.
But, the west Cork side rallied in kind, nailing four points of their own as Cathal Maguire became an influential figure with Damien Cahalane levelling matters for a 10th time with a rousing score in the 37th minute.
Back came the Barrs for another equaliser, courtesy of Myers-Murray, before they finally broke through for a goal, the outstanding Colm Scully sending Sherlock into space for a cracking finish and a 1-16 to 1-13 lead after 47 minutes.
And while substitute Ben O’Connor was denied by Seymour, Hayes showed how to clinch the deal.
S Sherlock 1-6, B Hayes 1-2 (0-1 m), C Myers-Murray, E McGreevey 0-3 each, E Dennehy 0-2, J Burns 0-1.
B Hurley 0-8 (0-6 f), M Hurley 1-2, C Maguire 0-3, R Minihane, D Cahalane, A Whelton 0-1 each.
J Kerins; S Ryan, J Burns, C Scully; C Dennehy, B Hennessy, A O’Connor; I Maguire, captain, E Comyns; E Twomey, S Sherlock, B Hayes; C Myers-Murray, E McGreevey, E Dennehy.
B O’Connor for Twomey and D Quinn for C Dennehy 42, B O’Connell for E Dennehy 58, D O’Brien for Myers-Murray 61.
A Seymour; J O’Regan, R Maguire, R Walsh; C Nolan, D Cahalane, T O’Mahony; M Collins, captain, C Cahalane; R Minihane, B Hurley, A Whelton; J Cahalane, M Hurley, C Maguire.
R Whelton for A Whelton injured 52, C O’Driscoll for J Cahalane 53.
C Lane (Banteer).