Superbly led by Gearóid O’Leary at centre-forward and Brian O’Shea at full-forward, the Sem played some great football and would have won with a lot more to spare but for their wides tally that amounted to 12 and two magnificent saves by Skibb netminder Patrick Rossiter.
Defeat for Fachtnas means they must beat Coláiste Chríost Rí in their remaining group game in a fortnight’s time to make the last eight and that will be a tall order as they must play without county minor Dara McEoin, who received a straight red card.
The game was shaping up to be a close affair as the sides were level twice in the opening quarter. But, once St. Brendan’s took control at midfield, where the high fielding of Sean Keane and Ciarán Murphy was superb, there was an air of inevitability about the outcome.
County minor Gearóid O’Leary led the Sem attack in tremendous style, scoring freely himself and creating chances for his colleagues, and at half time the champions were full value for their 0-7 to 0-4 lead.
Fachtna’s opted to play Dara McEoin too far out from the Sem goal with the result their attack lacked any real bite and, but for the industrious Brian O’Driscoll.
O’Driscoll kept the Skibbereen side in touch with two of his side’s four first-half points, but he could never break the dominance of the St. Brendan’s pair with the result their defence was under constant pressure.
McEoin was back at full-forward for the second-half but Brendan’s were a class apart, and despite some poor finishing they stretched their lead to four points by the end of the third quarter.
Fachtna’s did have a goal chance in that period, but Damien O’Brien’s effort went inches over the bar with only the keeper to beat. It was a let off for the Sem and they took full advantage.
With Brian O’Shea giving his marker a torrid time at full-forward, St. Brendan’s peppered the Fachtna’s defence, but Noel Duggan and Aidan Slattery were denied goals by the brilliance of keeper Patrick Rossiter.
Content to pick off their points, Brendan’s stretched their lead to six by the 55th minute with a brace by Sean Keane. And when Fachtna’s lost the services of McEoin, who lost his rag with the referee after being clearly fouled and wasn’t given a free, there was no way back for the Skibbereen school.
The classy Gearóid O’Leary tacked on two late points to give the Killarney side a comfortable victory and on the evidence of this display, it will take a good team to dethrone them.
Scorers for St. Brendan’s: G. O’Leary 0-6 (0-3 frees); B. O’Shea 0-3; S. Keane 0-2; A. Slattery, D. O’Leary, N. Duggan. C. Horan, C. Keane 0-1 each.
St. Fachtna’s: B. O’Driscoll 0-3 (0-1 free); D. McEoin (0-1 free), D. O’Brien 0-2 each; T. Hegarty 0-1.
ST. BRENDANS: D. Cronin; M. Egan, D. O’Leary, S. Devane; C. Horan, C. Tobin, C. Fitzgerald; S. Keane, C. Murphy; N. Duggan, G. O’Leary, D. O’Donoghue; A. Slattery, B. O’Shea, D. Stack.
Subs: K. McCarthy for Stack (half time); C. Keane for K. McCarthy (45); B. Walsh for Slattery (55); M. Moynihan for Murphy (55).
ST. FACHTNA’S: P. Rossiter; B. Nolan, S. Hourihan, B. Leonard; P. O’Brien, K. O’Driscoll, K. Healy; B. O’Driscoll, K. Newman; T. Hegarty, K. Lynch, D. O’Brien; J. Cahalane, D. McEoin, J. Bushe.
Sub: M. O’Driscoll for Newman (40).
Referee:, K. Walsh (Clare).