Although Nemo got off to a flying start with a point from wing forward Ian Nolan, the Capwell hopefuls subsequently flattered to deceive as St Finbarr’s resolutely took control.
Indeed St Finbarr’s six-points winning margin could have assumed much greater proportions but for two agonising goal misses by corner-back Paul Kennedy just before half-time and man-of-the-match O’Sullivan shortly after the resumption.
Following Nolan’s electrifying start for Nemo, the Barr’s — with Eoin Keane and Cillian O’Connor on top at midfield — grew in ascendancy and four pointed frees from Jason Sexton, David Sweeney and Ian Leahy propelled the holders in front after the first quarter.
Nemo pegged one back when wing forward Shane Martin kicked over a point in the 18th minute but the Barr’s, with a delightful score from impressive wing forward Cian Lougheed, led 0-5 to 0-2 at the half time.
The Barr’s, with lightning fast points from substitute Denis O’Brien and classy corner-forward Jason Sexton, extended their lead following the change of ends but then Nemo were thrown a life-line when ace forward Barry O’Driscoll pounced to score a peach of a breakaway goal in the 39th minute to leave just three points between them.
But St Finbarr’s brushed aside this brief setback and crucial scores from Sexton and O’Sullivan, now operating at full-forward, gave them a four-point lead at the end of the third quarter.
And there was still a four-points difference before O’Sullivan, with a sweet left-footed drive, sealed it for the Blues a minute from the end of a normal time.
Nemo strove energetically to pull it out of the fire but when a blistering drive from Philip Hogan was brilliantly saved by Barr’s goalkeeper David Haines it was all over bar the shouting.
C. O’Sullivan 1-3; J. Sexton 0-4 (0-3 frees); D. Sweeney 0-2 (frees); C. Lougheed, D. O’Brien and I. Leahy (free) 0-1 each.
B. O’Driscoll 1-2; I. Nolan 0-2; S. Martin and E. Hearne 0-1 each.
D. Haines; P. Kennedy, R. O’Dwyer, G. O’Connor; D. Bracken, T. McCarthy, J. Neville; E. Keane, C. O’Connor; C. O’Sullivan, D. Sweeney, C. Lougheed; J. Sexton, B. Newman, I. Leahy.
D. O’Brien for Newman.
R. Heaphy; I. Foley, D. Mehighan, M. O’Shea; R. O’Keeffe, P. Hogan, C. O’Brien; M. Hayes, E. Hearne; I. Nolan, S. Horgan, S. Martin; B. O’Driscoll, R. Kenny, D. Kearney.
E. De Lowry for Horgan.
J. Kearney (Na Piarsaigh).