ST. FINBARR’S regained their senior status after just one year when they had five points to spare over St. Vincent’s in a hugely entertaining Evening Echo Premier IFC final replay at Páirc Uí Chaoimh yesterday.
The old adage that goals win matches once again rang true. Barr’s scored two in the opening half which kept them in front from the ninth minute and while Vincent’s couldn’t be faulted for effort, they never threatened a goal.
While this was essentially a team effort, the winners had a number of outstanding performers. Michael Ryan was rock solid at centre-back; Tim O’Donoghue sparkled at wing forward; Ronan Curran was everywhere when the need arose, but the contribution of Robert O’Mahony at corner-forward was immense.
He contributed a goal and five points, set up Roy Leahy for his goal and surely must be recalled to the county panel for the 2009 season on the strength of this display.
Vincent’s got off to the perfect start with three points inside the opening five minutes. Barr’s hadn’t been out of their own half in that time as John Paul Murphy showed his class with two of those three points, both from play.
The Barr’s took until the seventh minute to open their account with a Robert O’Mahony point, and then they began to take a grip around the middle. Jim O’Donoghue, chosen at midfield but operating at wing forward, linked brilliantly with his forward colleagues and the scores began to flow.
Busy Robert O’Mahony set up Roy Leahy for a goal to give the Barr’s the lead.The Blues played superb football and a some excellent points had them 1-6 to 0-4 up after 20 minutes.
Vincent’s were in real danger of being cleaned out and it took some great defending by Philip Cunningham, Wayne Murphy and Anthony Fenton to keep the Barr’s out.
The northsiders needed a score and John Paul Murphy obliged with a pointed free, sparking a great five minute spell for Vincent’s as they added three more points to leave the minimum between them coming to half-time.
Then Robert O’Mahony fisted a goal after Jim O’Donoghue made a great run, giving the Barrs a 2-6 to 0-8 half-time lead; hard on Vincent’s, given how well they’d played.
Vincent’s threw the gauntlet down to the Barr’s on the changeover with two quick points from John Paul Murphy but then the Barr’s hit back with a brace themselves. Robert O’Mahony added two more points and by the 40th minute the Barr’s were still five ahead.
Vincent’s refused to roll over but they were almost totally dependent on John Paul Murphy, who scored two points to leave just a goal between the teams at the three-quarter stage.
Vincent’s needed a goal, however, to have any chance but that never looked like coming as Michael Shields and Rory McCarthy protected their keeper well.
As time ticked away Vincent’s came forward more and more, but that left gaps at the back which the experienced Barr’s forwards exploited to the full. After a great Roy Leahy point, it was fitting that Robert O’Mahony should have the final score, a point, of this hugely entertaining game.
Scorers for St. Finbarr’s: R. O’Mahony 1-5 (0-2 frees); R. Leahy 1-2; F. Murray 0-2 (frees); R. Curran, C. O’Sullivan, J. O’Donoghue, G. Leahy 0-1 each.
Scorers for St. Vincent’s: JP Murphy 0-10 (0-7 frees); J. Buckley 0-2; P. O’Sullivan, C. Barry 0-1 each.
ST. FINBARR’S: K. McTiernan; G. O’Connor, M. Shields, R. O’Dwyer; C. Lyons, M. Ryan, R. McCarthy; J. O’Donoghue, A. O’Shea; C. O’Sullivan, R. Leahy, E. Keane; R. O’Mahony, R. Curran, F. Murray.
Subs: C. McCarthy for O’Shea (45th); G. Leahy for O’Sullivan (47th).
ST. VINCENT’S: P. O’Shea; D. O’Regan, P. Cunningham, W. Murphy; J. O’Callaghan, A. Fenton, T. O’Connell; S. Rea, D. O’Connell; P. Sullivan, J. Buckley, J. Canniffe; C. Barry, JP Murphy, D. O’Connor.
Subs: K. Goulding for O’Connell (19th); P. Aherne for Goulding (37th); J. Canniffe for G. O’Connor (44th); T. O’Mahony for O’Sullivan (55th).
Referee: N. Barrett (Carrigtwohill).
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