Finn’s penalty crucial as Barr’s end Na Piarsaigh’s season

Finn’s penalty crucial as Barr’s end Na Piarsaigh’s season
Na Piarsaigh corner-back Cian Buckley gets the ball away under pressure from St Finbarr’s midfielder Cian Walsh in their Cork SHC clash at Páirc Uí Rinn. Picture: Jim Coughlan

St Finbarr’s 1-16 - 0-16 Na Piarsaigh

When the going got tough in this competitive Cork SHC city derby at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday, battle-hardened St Finbarr’s warhorses Eoin Keane and Glenn O’Connor stood up and showed their mettle, resulting in the southsiders edging past northside rivals Na Piarsaigh and into the quarter-final draw.

With Na Piarsaigh leading 0-11 to 0-9 and threatening to ease away, the steely tough defenders fired over two inspirational points to get the Barr’s back on track and when Damien Cahahane sent over a real beauty right on the three-quarter mark to put his side ahead 0-12 to 0-11 there was only going to be one winner.

And the killer blow came in the 48th minute when Philip Kelleher was upended by Na Piarsaigh defender Pa Rourke when driving through for a goal and Eoghan Finn delightfully blasted home the resultant penalty.

Barr’s boss Ronan Curran was pleased. 

“It was tricky out there as the wind was causing havoc blowing right down and across the pitch. I was real disappointed that we trailed at the break by three points as I felt we were the better team.

I expected a tough game from Na Piarsaigh and we certainly got it. They have some fine players but, in the end, our defence was magnificent tonight and Damien showed what he can do when the chips are down. I hope this win will bring us on now.

Barr’s opened with a superb point from Finn after good work by Cian Walsh and Kelleher but it did not take long for Na Piarsaigh to settle. They were so wasteful early on with Shane Forde missing a goal chance and Craig Hannifin and Daire Connery also off target. But once Evan Sheehan got them level they began to settle.

It was still the Barr’s who were doing the scoring though with Finn and Kelleher pushing them two clear, but Na Piarsaigh were always menacing as corner back Cian Buckley and Craig Hannifin levelled the scoring, and after an even enough first quarter it was 0-4 apiece after Damien Cahalane and Dayne Lee exchanged points.

Despite going two clear early in the second quarter with two excellent points from Conor Cahalane the Barr’s failed to press on. 

It was Na Piarsaigh who were playing all the hurling now with Eddie Gunning excellent at full-back and Eoin Sheehan impressing around midfield. 

They held the Barr’s scoreless for the rest of the half while shooting three clear at the break 0-9 to 0-6 with fine efforts from Daire Connery, Eoin Moynihan, Padraig Guest, Craig Hannifin and Evan Sheehan.

Finn and Eoin Moynihan exchanged quick points on the restart but it was still Na Piarsaigh who were keeping their noses in front as they led 0-11 to 0-8 after 37 minutes. 

But then the Barr’s showed their mettle as they hit Na Piarsaigh hard. Conor Cahalane, who had another fine outing along with his brother Damien, was first to strike with a super point and then came those two points par excellence from the outstanding Keane and O’Connor and it was level pegging.

Then Cork hurler Damien worked his magic and the Barr’s were a point clear entering the final quarter 0-12 to 0-11. Although Craig Hannifin again tied up the scores, Finn’s penalty proved the crucial blow, St Finbarr’s were through, Na Piarsaigh’s season all over.

Scorers for St. Finbarr’s:

E. Finn 1-6 {1-0 pen, 0-3 frees), C. Cahalane 0-3, D. Cahalane 0-2, P. Kelleher, E. Keane, G. O’Connor, R. O’Mahony, B. Hennessy 0-1 each.

Scorers for Na Piarsaigh:

C. Hannifin 0-5 {0-3 frees}, Evan Sheehan 0-3 (0-1 free), E. Moynihan (frees) and D. Lee 0-2 each, C. Buckley, D. Connery, P. Guest, P. Rourke 0-1 each.

ST. FINBARR’S:

S. Hurley; O. Murphy, J. Burns, J. Neville; G. O’Connor, E. Keane, B. Hennessy; C. Walsh, D. Cahalane; C. Cahalane, C. Keane, E. Finn; B. O’Connell, R. O’Mahony, P. Kelleher.

Subs:

C. Buckley for C. Keane (43m), C. Barrett for Kelleher (51m), S. Callanan for O’Connell (61m).

NA PIARSAIGH:

L. Donovan; C. Buckley, E. Gunning, E. Moynihan; A. Hogan, P. Rourke, D. Connery; D. Gunning, D. Lee; Eoin Sheehan, C. Hannifin, S. Forde; P. Guest, Evan Sheehan, E. Hannifin.

Subs:

K. Buckley for E. Hannifin (46m), K. Moynihan for Guest (50m).

Referee:

C. McAllister (Aghada).

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