Classy Castlehaven give St Finbarr’s the blues

Castlehaven 2-9 St Finbarr’s 1-7

Striking words from Castlehaven coach James McCarthy after seeing his charges win the battle of the blues at a super Clonakilty venue on Saturday to reach the semi-final stage of the Cork SFC for the first time since 2003.

After firing 12 wides over the hour and dominating the contest, Castlehaven certainly made hard work of putting St Finbarr’s away. Maybe that was on McCarthy’s mind. On another day Seanie Cahalane, who was excellent all through, would have scored a hatful of points. This time though his radar was way off, although he did find the net in the 39th minute, after great work by Brian Hurley, who got their opening goal from the penalty spot just before the half-time break.

It was easy to see why McCarthy was pleased.

“The players were fantastic tonight, you could see the drive in them. They made space, worked for each other and played great football.”

The secret? “We just played football in training almost the whole time, football only, plain simple football. Yes there was fitness work, but mostly football, and the lads showed the benefit tonight.”

No question, the ‘Haven were charged up and went about their business from the throw-in and are serious title contenders now. Many players can stick their chests out. Wing back Chris Hayes was super, Damien Cahalane steady as a rock at centre-back. Sean Dineen was mighty at midfield and Brian Hurley and Seanie Cahalane energetic and tantalising up front. But Mark Collins was the power player. Winning most of the ball that came his way, both his distribution and movement were sublime. He kept Michael Shields from playing any significant part.

Barr’s wing backs Colin Lyons and Neal Horgan were also unable to raid, a marauding ‘Haven side on top of their game, and it only took David Burns two minutes to open their account. Quickly, though, Eoin Keane fired over a might point and Robert O’Mahony — easily the best Barr’s forward – then put the city side in front.

Castlehaven keeper Paudie Hurley then got on the scoreboard with the first of his two pointed 45s and it was 0-3 to 0-2 to Castlehaven after the opening quarter, Mark Collins pointing a free after Seanie Cahalane was taken down.

Then a couple of goal misses. Colin O’Sullivan failed to trouble Hurley with a weak shot and, at the other end, Darren Haynes had to make a fabulous save to deny Brian Hurley. The long ball was proving troublesome for the Barr’s defence. Brian Hurley took advantage of David Burns’ delivery to open his account and then, the opening goal in the 28th minute. Damien Cahalane’s long delivery looked harmless enough, but, when Paul Kennedy gave Bernie Collins a nudge, referee Conor Lane pointed to the penalty spot and Brian Hurley dispatched the kick. It took 25 more minutes for the Barr’s to get their third point and again it came from O’Mahony, who was giving corner-back Thomas O’Leary a torrid time.

Trailing 1-4 to 0-3 at the break, the Barr’s needed to up the ante and, for a while, they did, Eoin Keane, who had a fine match, and Pa Wiley looking a far better combination at midfield.

After Bernie Collins and Seanie Cahalane added to the ‘Haven’s growing wides tally, the Barr’s served notice they were no pushovers as two frees from Roy Leahy and a third point by O’Mahony made it a one-point game by the 37th minute.

But the ‘Haven struck again. First Hurley pointed, and when Dineen won Haynes’ kick-out he put Hurley clear and the corner forward set up Seanie Cahalane for a punishing goal.

Amazingly, the Barr’s hit back again, Ronan Curran setting up substitute Darren O’Leary for a goal and, entering the final quarter, it was 2-6 to 1-6 to the ‘Haven, who always looked the more polished side, Mark Collins adding a gem of a point.

Roy Leahy’s third free made it a two-point game again in the 46th minute and indeed it took a great save from Hurley to deny the Barr’s what would have been a lead goal two minutes later, an effort Roy Leahy really should have buried.

It spurred the ‘Haven into action and they finished the game in style. First Hurley pointed – it should have been a goal. Them came Paudie Hurley’s second 45 conversion and, for good measure, a sweet effort from the tireless Dineen.

The ‘Haven were back in the territory they love – a semi-final date, a mouth-watering west Cork derby against either Carbery Rangers or Newcestown.

Scorers for Castlehaven: B Hurley 1-3 (1-0 pen), S Cahalane 1-0, P Hurley (2 45s), M Collins (1f) 0-2 each, J Burns, S Dineen 0-1 each.

St Finbarr’s scorers: D O’Leary 1-0, R O’Mahony, R Leahy (3fs) 0-3 each, E Keane 0-1.

CASTLEHAVEN: P Hurley; D Limerick, L Collins, T O’Leary; M Cahalane, D Cahalane, C Hayes; D Hurley, S Dineen; D Burns, M Collins, A Cahalane; B Hurley, S Cahalane, B Collins.

Subs: R Whelton for Burns (49), M Dineen for A Cahalane (58), D Hegarty for B Collins (60), J Davis for Hayes (60).

ST FINBARR’S: D Haynes; G O’Connor, R O’Dwyer, P Kennedy; N Horgan, M Shields, C Lyons; E Keane, I Leahy; C O’Sullivan, R Curran, P Wiley; R O’Mahony, R Leahy, J O’Donoghue.

Subs: D O’Leary for I Leahy (21), J Fitzpatrick for O’Leary (51), J Goggin for Lyons (56).

Referee: C Lane (Banteer).

More in this section

Puzzles logo

Puzzles hub

Sport Push Notifications

By clicking on 'Sign Up' you will be the first to know about our latest and best sporting content on this browser.

Sign Up

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
Puzzles logo

Puzzles hub

Cookie Policy Privacy Policy FAQ Help Contact Us Terms and Conditions

© Irish Examiner Ltd