After playing against the wind, they were only a point behind at half-time and with St Catherine’s not reaching the heights of previous rounds, the mid Cork outfit pulled away with two Ciarán Sheehan’s goals proving crucial.
St Catherine’s struggled to get any momentum – with the exception of a 10 minute spell before the break – while Éire Óg grew into a game, especially in the second-half.
Éire Óg mentor Kevin Murray was delighted with the win, but not the performance. He admitted: “We have a lot to do before the county final. We tried fierce hard but we had a lot of wides and a lot of misses. We never put St Catherine’s away. Only for the two great goals we just weren’t putting the scores on the board.
“At half-time we had only 1-6 given away against the wind and we were very happy with that. But we should have kept the scoreboard going a bit better. We will have to work on that. But this is new territory for us. It is a big occasion and we are not going to get everything right. We had four weeks since the Aghada game (quarter-final). It is hard to judge the training. But, we will keep it going now for the final.”
The merit of the win couldn’t be questioned. Ciarán Sheehan gave them a timely boost when he whipped an excellent ground shot to the net after 18 minutes. A strong backline coupled with Kevin Hallissey’s free-taking pushed them 1-4 to 0-3 ahead.
However, St Catherine’s took control with a pair of Brian Mulcahy points, a couple of Shane O’Brien frees and a penalty conversion from Sean O’Farrell after he was fouled. This yielded an interval advantage of 1-6 to 1-5.
The second half was barely a minute old when Sheehan broke free for his second goal. Effectively, St Catherine’s didn’t recover from this setback and of their three points only one came from play. Matters weren’t helped either when Conor Hegarty was forced off with a leg injury.
As Éire Óg pushed on, their defence especially half-backs Fionn O’Rourke, Alan O’Mahony and Dermot Herlihy, stood tall. While their shooting left them down at times, they finished in style.
Scorers for Éire Óg: C Sheehan (2-0), K Hallissey (0-8, seven frees), P McDonagh, D Herlihy, C Murphy, D O’Connor, J Dineen and D Goulding (0-1 each).
Scorers for St Catherine’s: S O’Brien (0-6, frees), S O’Farrell (1-0, pen), B Mulcahy (0-2), S Cotter (0-1).
ÉIRE ÓG: P Ryan; E Lowney, T O’Leary, J Kelleher; F O’Rourke, A O’Mahony (Capt), D Herlihy; C O’Mahony, P McDonagh; D O’Connor, L Murphy, D Goulding; K Hallissey, C Sheehan, J Dineen.
Subs: M O’Shea for L Murphy (half-time), C Murphy for D O’Connor (57).
ST CATHERINE’S: E Aherne; L O’Connor, S O’Brien, J Neville; C Aherne, C Hegarty, S Fitzgerald; D Mangan, S Cotter (Capt); M Mulcahy, S Kearney, E Condon; B Mulcahy, S O’Farrell, S O’Brien.
Subs: P O’Connor for E Condon (half-time), E Kenneally for C Hegarty (52 inj), P O’Connor for M Mulcahy (53).
Referee: Derek Carroll (Kanturk).