ST FINBARR’S produced a strong finish to get the better of Erin’s Own in the opening round of the Cork County SHC at Páirc Uí Chaoimh last night.
With 12 minutes of this game left, Erin’s Own led by a point, 0-16 to 1-12, after an Eoin Murphy free, but a brilliant individual goal from Joe Fitzpatrick swung the momentum the way of the city club and from there to the end they drove on to leave their opponents bewildered.
Fitzpatrick’s performance in the second half, as well as the free-taking of Cathal McCarthy, were vital to the Barr’s resurgence, while a solid defence ensured that no late goal-chances were converted by Erin’s Own, wing-back Eoin Keane painfully saving a Murphy penalty in injury-time.
By then the game was more or less wrapped up, Fitzpatrick having rounded off a good team move with an insurance point to push his team five clear, fittingly as his goal was the catalyst for the big turnaround.
After a Fergal O’Mahony puckout broke 50 metres from goal, Fitzpatrick scooped the ball up amid a forest of players and having waltzed through the defence, got his shot away just as it looked as if he had taken too much out of the ball.
While goalkeeper Shay Bowen was beaten with the poked effort, the ball just had enough pace to cross the line as defenders scrambled to keep it out.
After that, McCarthy’s frees helped to provide a cushion, and even though corner-back Paul Kennedy was sent off for a second yellow card, the Barr’s were not going to be denied.
It was a different story in the first half, though, as Erin’s Own had a five-point lead of their own, 0-13 to 0-8, four minutes before half time, but a Fitzpatrick free and two beauties from Ronan Curran gave the Barr’s a fighting chance for the second half.
Named at midfield in the match programme, Curran took up the centre-forward berth and was impressive once he settled.
His placement was the guideline for O’Mahony to aim his puckouts, and his clever use of the ball provided an air of calm in the forwards even when they were swimming against the tide.
Glen O’Connor is one of the long-term candidates to succeed Curran as the Barr’s centre-back and the number six jersey didn’t look too big for him in the first half, playing well despite Erin’s Own centre-forward Shane Murphy scoring three points.
Eoin Murphy was another in flying form in the Glounthaune side’s forward division and he had six points to his name by the interval, neither side having created anything in the way of goal chances.
Within four minutes of the restart, however, a green flag had arrived, putting the Barr’s into the lead for the first time. After David O’Leary’s fizzing ball in was batted away by goalkeeper Shay Bowen, Joe Fitzpatrick retrieved it and played a clever low ball across goal for his namesake Aidan to divert home.
Two Murphy frees restored Erin’s Own’s lead, however, but too often he was the only attacker troubling the Barr’s defence, however had Alan Bowen’s low goal attempt found the net on 46, the Caherlag club would surely have won.
Instead they were overhauled, a clash in the second round against Bride Rovers their chance to get back on track.
Scorers for St Finbarr’s: J Fitzpatrick 1-2, C McCarthy 0-4, A Fitzpatrick 1-1, R O’Mahony, R Curran 0-3 each, D O’Leary 0-2, M Ryan 0-1.
Scorers for Erin’s Own: E Murphy 0-10 (8f), S Murphy 0-3, B Clifford 0-2, C O’Connor, A Bowen 0-1 each.
ST FINBARR’S: F O’Mahony; R McCarthy, D Cahalane, P Kennedy; P Wiley, G O’Connor, E Keane; C McCarthy, E Maher; D O’Leary, R Curran, M Ryan; R O’Mahony, A Fitzpatrick, J Fitzpatrick.
ERIN’S OWN: S Bowen; P Fenton, P Fitzgerald, D Dennehy; S Cronin, C O’Connor, N Scanlon; B Clifford, A Bowen; J Sheehan, S Murphy, M O’Carroll; C Coakley, M O’Connor, E Murphy.
Subs: P Kelly for Scanlon (h-t), K Murphy for M O’Connor (38), A Power for Sheehan (60).
Referee: G Harrington (Erin’s Own).
Picture: St Finbarr's Joe Fitzpatrick and Eire Og's Daire Dennehy. Picture: Richard Mills