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Glen steady the ship after shaky start

Glen Rovers 3-18 St. Finbarr’s 2-15
Satisfaction for Glen Rovers players and management in last night’s first-round game in the Cork senior hurling championship at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

Stung by a poor display in the corresponding game 12 months ago, they made no mistake this time. And, they achieved it through overall dominance for the greater part of the hour after falling behind for the only time to Ian Lordan’s first-minute score for the ‘Barrs.

Manager Tony Wall was especially delighted with their good start, commenting: "It was important, in that we were so flat and so disappointing last year. It was critical for us (to win). Last year we went down the back door route......and it’s not a nice place to be."

The Glen seized the initiative with a third minute goal from Paul Virgo, which came from a free struck from the half-back line by Brian Moylan. And, for the opening 20 minutes they were the stronger side.

Cork star Patrick Horgan’s sole contribution was from free-taking (finishing with seven points from placed balls and one from a free), after he started at left half-forward. Later in the half he moved to full-forward — followed by county footballer Damien Cahalane, who was quite comfortable marking him. However, it was more a case of the Glen star not being involved in the play and the situation wasn’t to change much in the second half.

The key element in the Glen establishing a half-time lead of 1-11 to 0-8 was superior forward play, with Paul Virgo prominent in the right corner, Dean Brosnan and David Busteed also contributing and the experienced Graham Callanan forceful at half-back.

The ‘Barrs were limited to a second score in the fifth minute from Robert O’Mahony before they added to their total 10 minutes later. There was much to admire in their improved play overall, when Eoin Keane found his form at centre-back (in his first game back after injury) and both Lordan and John Crowley showed up well in the full-forward line.

Lordan gave them fresh hope when he goaled within 40 seconds of the resumption – Cahalane being the supplier with a long clearance — but they came under pressure straight away with another Glen goal. This time the scorer was David Busteed after Dean Brosnan’s shot came back off the crossbar.

By and large, the game remained competitive all the way to the finish, with the ‘Barrs never relaxing their effort and showing promise of a recovery on a few occasions. However, this seemed improbable after Paul Virgo goaled for the Glen in the 48th minute, following which Patrick Horgan got his only score from play to leave a gap of 12 points between them.

In remaining time, the ‘Barrs benefited from Keane’s strong play at the heart of defence and the contribution of substitute Eoin Maher.

A minor melee led to two players from each side being yellow-carded before Maher goaled in injury time to add a layer of consolation to it.

Scorers for Glen Rovers: P. Virgo 2-2; P. Horgan 0-8 (0-6f, 0-1 ’65); D. Busteed 1-1; D. Brosnan and C. Healy 0-2 each; B. Phelan, G. Callanan and D. O’Callaghan 0-1 each.

Scorers for St. Finbarr’s: I. Lordan 1-4 (0-1f); E. Maher 1-1; E. Keane (0-1f) and R. O’Mahony 0-3 each; J. Crowley 0-2; G. O’Connor and P. O’Brien 0-1 each.

GLEN ROVERS: C. Hickey; S. Kennefick, G. Callanan, D. O’Callaghan; P. O’Brien, B. Moylan, S. McDonnell; D. Cronin, C. Healy; D. Brosnan, B. Phelan, P. Horgan (capt.); P. Virgo, D. Cunningham, D. Busteed.

Subs: D. Noonan for Kennefick (46); B. Hackett for Cunningham (52).

ST. FINBARR’S: D. O’Gorman; J. Neville, J. Burns, C. O’Mahony; D. Cahalane, E. Keane, J. Goggin; P. Kelleher, P. Wiley; R. O’Mahony, G. O’Connor, J. Crowley; I. Lordan, E. Dennehy, P. O’Brien. Subs: R. McCarthy for O’Mahony (18); S. Callinan for Dennehy (37); E. Maher for Crowley (50).

Referee: David Copps (Ballyhea).