REIGNING Premier Senior Hurling champions St Finbarr’s remain unbeaten in the RedFM Division 2 League following a comfortable home win over Mallow on St Patrick’s Day.
Ger Cunningham’s team were understrength, with only four players that started in the county final last year featuring in this one, but they still had too much. Eoghan Finn was rock solid at centre-back, while up front Colm Keane, Sam Cunningham, Jack Cahalane and Brian Ramsey were integral.
A tough day at the office for Mallow though Pa Herlihy stood out with four sweet points from play.
There were only three points between the teams after 15 minutes, with the Barrs ahead 0-7 to 0-4, but once Ramsey scored a goal from close-range after 17 minutes the winners never looked back.
Pádraig Buggy pointed before Séamus Buckley and a long-range Fionn O’Neill effort did keep Mallow in touch, before a Cahalane free and a Ramsey effort extended the advantage, 1-10 to 0-6. The seven-point cushion was still intact after 28 minutes, 1-12 to 0-8, until Buggy and Ramsey added two more. Herlihy and a Simon Lenighan free did cut the deficit before the break, 1-14 to 0-10 at half-time.
The Barrs hit two of the first three points of the new half until the lively Cahalane raised a green flag. The sides exchanged points, before the impressive Cunningham, son of manager Ger, scored an excellent goal from a difficult angle, 3-17 to 0-12 after 45 minutes.
Credit must go to Mallow, who battled gamely right to the very end. The beaten team hit four of the next five points, with Fionn O’Neill’s effort the pick of the bunch, 3-18 to 0-16. Cunningham got his second and the Barrs' fourth goal with eight minutes remaining.
Mallow did get three of the last five points, but they have now suffered a second consecutive defeat. Last year’s premier SHC winners St Finbarr’s remain unbeaten with three points from the first two games.
S Cunningham 2-3, J Cahalane 1-5 (0-2 f), B Ramsey 1-4, C Keane 0-4, P Buggy 0-2, E Finn, J O’Kelly 0-1 each.
S Lenighan (0-3 f), P Herlihy 0-4 each, R Sheehan 0-3 (0-2f), D Buckley, F O’Neill, S Buckley 0-2 each, B Murphy, M Kelleher 0-1 each.
S Hurley; C Walsh, D Scannell, S Kennedy; C Steele, E Finn, C Crowley; R Doyle, C Barrett; A Buckley, C Keane, P Buggy; B Ramsey, S Cunningham, J Cahalane.
J O’Kelly for A Buckley (h-t).
C Carroll; J Healy, B Kingston, D Copps; S Copps, N O’Riordan, P Healy; S Buckley, S O’Callaghan; S Lenighan, F O’Neill, P Herlihy; R Sheehan, S O’Leary, D Buckley.
M Kelleher for S Buckley (23), B Murphy for S O’Callaghan (36). S Buckley for S Lenighan (35).
Brian Coniry (Crosshaven).