The game was destined to be won by the Rathcormac side once James O’Driscoll got the second of their goals ten minutes into the second half.
“That was probably a heartbreak for them,’’ commented selector Liam Barry. “After that, they started going for goals, but our backs were outstanding. It was a very disciplined performance by all six.’’
Ger Cunningham, managing the ‘Barrs for the first time, is glad of the opportunity ‘to redeem themselves’ (against the losers of the Douglas/Cloyne round).
“That’s not the team I have been training with for the last six months. We never got off the ground. We were beaten by a sharper team, but we will be back.’’
Ironically, St. Finbarr’s made the better start, leading 0-5 to 0-3 after 13 minutes. Three of their scores came from Kevin Murray (two frees) and was causing Bride Rovers problems. However, once Cork defender Brian Murphy came to grips with him, the threat was greatly minimised. Over the next 45 minutes the strength and consistency of the Rovers defence was to prove highly influential.
Scores were level (for the only time) in the 16th minute and Bride Rovers — now coached by former Limerick player Pat Heffernan — strengthened their challenge considerably after a re-arrangement of their forward line. After Michael Collins earlier had a ‘goal’ correctly disallowed for a square infringement, he had the satisfaction of putting the ball in the net again in the 20th minute. Ronan Curran was quite effective for the ‘Barrs after an early switch to midfield, but his immediate opponent Barry Johnston was also prominent. At the break it was 1-9 to 0-6.
For a while on the resumption, there was the expectation of a ‘Barrs recovery, especially after full-forward Ger McCarthy threatened a goal until ‘keeper Denis Fitzgerald stopped his shot (at the expense of a ‘65 which Curran hit wide). That was in the 38th minute and in another two minutes, his opposite number Jerome O’Driscoll had scored Bride Rovers’ second goal to open a gap of eight points. After that, it was a case of holding out against an often ineffective ‘Barrs attack, with Brian Murphy giving good leadership and Barry Murphy in control in the centre. Additionally, Barry Johnson hit over three terrific long-range frees.
On the other hand, the best the ‘Barrs had to offer was some stubborn defensive play, with Curran a bit contributor after reverting to the centre and team captained Eddie Burke also prominent.
*Anthony Cummins refereed firmly but sensibly.
Scorers for Bride Rovers: J. O’Driscoll 1-3 (0-3 frees); M. Collins 1-1; B. Johnson 0-4 (0-3 frees); S. Ryan 0-3; T. Broderick 0-2.
St. Finbarr’s: K. Murray 0-4 (0-3 frees); C. McCarthy 0-3; P. Cronin and R. Curran 0-1 each.
BRIDE ROVERS: D. Fitzgerald; B. Walsh, B. Murphy (capt), J. Murphy; T. Moloney, B. Murphy, P. Walsh; P. Murphy, B. Johnson; J. O’Driscoll, R. Cahill, S. Ryan; M. Collins, D. Ryan, T. Broderick.
Sub: B. Hazelwood for D. Ryan (52nd minute).
ST. FINBARR’S: S. Barry; A. Fitzpatrick, E. Burke (capt), P. Buckley; G. O’Connor, R. Curran, P. Cronin; M. Ryan, P. Harte; B. O’Driscoll, J. Crowley, C. Duffy; C. McCarthy, K. Murray, G. McCarthy.
Subs: R. O’Mahony for Harte (36m); E. O’Callaghan for Crowley (43m); R. McCarthy for Duffy (45m).
Referee: A. Cummins (Ballymartle).