Impressive Barr’s tame Vincent’s to escape relegation

DESPITE the absence of dual-star Ronan Curran, St Finbarr’s scorched to an emphatic seven-points victory over city rivals St Vincent’s in the Evening Echo Cork County SFC relegation play-off battle at Páirc Uí Rinn last night.

The loss of Curran, who has opted out of the football scene to concentrate his energies with the Blues’ hurlers, was scarcely felt as the Barr’s dominated from start to finish and rarely gave their opponents a look-in.

With full-back Michael Shields in outstanding form and Jim O’Donoghue and Aidan O’Shea lording it at midfield, the Barr’s took the game by the scruff of the neck from the word go. And with the Leahy brothers, Roy and Greg sparkling up front, they rarely looked in danger of slipping up.

Indeed if their shooting had been more accurate — they kicked 12 wides to their opponents three — their victory margin would have been greater.

St Vincent’s, with a goal disallowed after substitute Trevor O’Sullivan was penalised for punching the ball from his hand to the net in the second-half, did manage to come within two points of the winners after the resumption. But, unfortunately, they could not put it up to the Blues when it mattered.

Two points apiece from the Leahy brothers, operating at right half forward and centre-forward, respectively, gave the Barr’s the perfect start before St Vincent’s most skilful forward Derek O’Connor broke his side’s duck with a point in the 12th minute.

The Barr’s, playing some superb, combined football, with backs and forwards linking effectively, led 0-5 to 0-2 at the end of the opening quarter. They increased their advantage to 0-7 to 0-4 at the break. But had they availed of their point-scoring opportunities they would have been almost out of sight at the interval.

As it was St Vincent’s were allowed to hang on and a pointed free conversion from full-forward Gavin O’Connor five minutes after the resumption left just two points between them.

But the Blues showed no signs of panic as St Vincent’s lacked the power and confidence to put it up to them. St Vincent’s only managed to score a further point in the second-half, another pointed effort from O’Connor in the 43rd minute.

The northside ‘saints’ did receive one last chance to rescue themselves from what always appeared to be an inevitable defeat.

St Finbarr’s were leading 0-11 to 0-6 when wing back Jonathan O’Callaghan, now operating up front, broke through the St Finbarr’s defensive cover 12 minutes from time but his shot for goal was tamely directed straight at goalkeeper Kevin McTiernan.

This signalled the end of the road for St Vincent’s and two points from Greg Leahy and Robert O’Mahony, who kicked over a free, sealed a comprehensive triumph for St Finbarr’s.

Scorers: St Finbarr’s: F Murphy 0-4 (0-3f); R Leahy 0-3; G Leahy 0-3; R O’Mahony 0-2 (0-1f); J O’Donoghue 0-1.

St Vincent’s: G O’Connor 0-3 (0-2f); D O’Connor, P O’Sullivan, C Barry 0-1 each.

ST FINBARR’S: K McTiernan; P O’Brien, S Shields, R O’Dwyer, C Lyons, M Ryan, S Fuller, A O’Shea, J O’Donoghue, R Leahy, G Leahy, C McCarthy, T Guiheen, R O’Mahony, F Murray.

ST VINCENT’S: P O’Shea, D O’Regan, T O’Mahony, A Fenton, P Ahern, W McCarthy, J O’Callaghan, S Ray, K Goulding, J Canniffe, D O’Connor, P O’Sullivan, C Barry, G O’Connor, D Duggan.

Subs: T O’Sullivan for Duggan; P Cunningham for O’Mahony, P Cullinane for O’Sullivan, Duggan for T O’Sullivan.

Referee: N Barrett (Carrigtwohill).

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