When it mattered most, they had the strength to get on top and weren’t unduly concerned after failing to convert a penalty 12 minutes into the second half.
Winning manager Tony Leahy felt the conditions made it difficult against ‘a big, strong’ Aghada side, commenting: “we missed a lot of scores and had some bad wides.
“But we knew we were going to get a battle and we battled. In the first half we were slowing the ball down instead of moving it quickly and .when we were trying to get it into our full-forward line, they had two and three fellows around and the ball was coming back out. We missed frees and we missed a penalty. We kept battling and we came under a bit of pressure in the second half.”
Aghada manager Darren Lee also acknowledged his side’s battling qualities: “The conditions were like the Dohenys game and we had to hang in for long periods at times. We created chances with fellows that are coming on the scene and with young fellows and we were probably unlucky not to get a penalty. It looked like it was to us.
“It’s a young team but the lifeblood of the club is the under-age and young lads coming through and they’ll get their chance again the next day.”
Finishing the first half with nine wides, St. Finbarr’s had to wait until the 27th minute to take the lead for the first time. But, it could have been a different story if Cian Madden had not been denied a goal after six minutes by goalkeeper Andrew O’Donoghue – with support player Enda Dennehy missing the chance of goaling the rebound.
The city side were winning more possession but had to contend with a strong showing in the opening quarter in particular from Pearse O’Neill and his brother Tom at midfield before their own pairing of Jamie Burns and Colin Lyons began to make headway regularly.
Aghada coped well under pressure at the heart of the defence, with experienced campaigner Kieran O’Connor, but the reality was that they would have conceded scores more regularly if the finishing and quality of ball coming into the Barr’s attack was of a higher standard.
Aghada did well to lead three times up to the 22nd minute when an Enda Dennehy point engineered by Eoghan Finn levelled scores at 0-3 each. In quick succession Madden, from a free, and a well-worked score from Eoin Comyns had the ‘Barrs in front before an injury-time free from Aaron Berry left the half-time score 0-5-0-4 in their favour.
With a gradual improvement overall andgreater penetration in an attack in which the hard-working Roy Leahy was to finish top scorer from play.
St. Finbarr’s seized the initiative and for most of the second half looked much more likely to come out on top. And, after Leahy had his penalty saved when substitute Shane Wall had fouled Lyons, they opened up a three point advantage. To Aghada’s credit they maintained a strong challenge and might have had a penalty in the 46th minute when John Looney appeared to be impeded. But any chance of a recovery was lost when he made a strong run down the centre with a goal looming but kicked wide.
Scorers for St. Finbarr’s: C. Madden 0-3 frees; R. Leahy 0-3; C. Lyons 0-2; E. Dennehy, E. Comyns and J. Burns 0-1 each.
Scorers for Aghada: A. Berry 0-2 frees; C. O’Neill 0-2 frees; T. Hartnett, T. O’Neill, J. Looney and C. Power 0-1 each.
St. FINBARR’S: J. McDonnell; P. Kennedy, M. Shields, G. O’Connor; A. O’Connor, C. Holland, D. Quinn; J. Burns, C. Lyons; E. Dennehy, E. Comyns, A. Lyne; E. Finn, R. Leahy, C. Madden.
Subs: R. O’Dwyer for Quinn (inj. 32); S. Sherlock for Finn (49); C. O’Sullivan for Madden (inj. 55); N. Horgan for Dennehy (58); D. O’Brien for Lyons (inj. 62) and C. Walsh for Comyns (inj. 62).
AGHADA: A. O’Donoghue; K. O’Connor, B. Hennessy, E. Leahy; A. O’Connell, J.P. O’Connor, R. Power; P. O’Neill, T. O’Neill; T. Hartnett, S. O’Keeffe, C. Power; A. Berry, A. Stafford, J. Looney.
Subs: S. Wall for O’Connell (36); J. Farmer for Power (44); M. O’Connor for O’Keeffe (46); C. O’Driscoll for T. O’Neill (50).
Referee: Eamonn Sheehy (Newcestown).