In short, the Barr’s ability to get goals kept them in the picture, with Joey Fitzpatrick always a menace up front. Whites Cross, for their part, kicked some great points, particularly Conor and Edwin Buckley, and with Denis O’Regan hugely influential around midfield they were always able to keep the scoreboard busy.
Certainly Whites Cross, going for a hat-trick of titles, will need to put the shackles on Fitzpatrick in the replay. Both he and Adrian Callanan did miss good early chances for the Barr’s, but Fitzpatrick showed great composure in the ninth minute when Fionán Murray’s long ball was broken down by Trevor Olden and the youngster was in like a shot to beat Billy Sheahan all ends up.
Edward and Conor Buckley and Ken O’Keeffe with a peach of a sideline pointed for Whites Cross but it was the Barr’s who led 1-1 to 0-2 after the opening quarter.
The holders knuckled down to it in the second quarter though, moving the ball quickly, with O’Regan mighty at midfield. Conor Buckley, O’Keeffe and Edwin Buckley fired over fine points to put their side in control and all the Barr’s could muster was a second pointed free from Callanan as Whites Cross led 0-8 to 1-2 at the break.
The Barrs’s exploded into action after the break and it took only 38 seconds for Olden to get their second goal after good work by Fitzpatrick and Darren O’Leary. Substitute Denis O’Brien should have had another, but after Cian Lougheed added a 45, they had their third goal, O’Leary setting up Fitzpatrick for his second and the Barrs’s were 3-3 to 0-8 ahead.
Whites Cross responded in style though as points from Edward Buckley, a brace from Paul O’Sullivan, and Edward Buckley tied the game up 3-3 to 0-12.
In a cracking finale the Barr’s took off again. Olden had an outrageous point from out on the sideline and Murray, though carrying a leg injury, followed with another beauty.
But the Cross were always menacing, the superb O’Regan an inspiration firing over two great points. Sub Conor Kelleher did have one last chance to win it for Whites Cross but it was a difficult one and no-one in the good sized crowd was quibbling when John Kearney blew the final whistle.
Scorers for St Finbarr’s: J Fitzpatrick 2-0, T Olden 1-1, A Callanan (2f) & F Murray (1f) 0-2 each, C Lougheed 0-1 (45).
Scorers for Whites Cross: E Buckley 0-4 (2f), K O’Keeffe (1s/l, 2f), C Buckley, P O’Sullivan 0-3 each, D O’Regan 0-2.
ST FINBARR’S: D Murphy; J Neville, C O’Sullivan, C Holland ; C Lougheed, R McCarthy, C Nagle; P Wiley, B Newman; D O’Leary, F Murray, G Neff; A Callanan, T Olden, J Fitzpatrick.
Subs: Denis O’Brien for Newman (29), R Browner for Callanan (34), Dave O’Brien for Lougheed (44), P Murphy for Neff (56).
WHITES CROSS: B Sheahan; J O’Connell, J Cooney, B Murphy; D Kiely, E Murnane , D Murnane; M Kelleher, D O’Regan; C Buckley, K Buckley, E Buckley; P O’Sullivan, K O’Keeffe, S Keane.
Subs: S Kiely for K Buckley (12), C Kelleher for Keane (56).
Referee: J Kearney (Na Piarsaigh).