Leading by six at the break, an impressive St. Finbarr’s outfit never looked back once Adrian Murphy found the net after 34 minutes. Stephen Sherlock contributed 11 points of his team’s winning total and proved a constant threat whenever in possession on a night Ian Maguire, Jamie Burns and Conor Dennehy also stood out for the Barr’s.
Despite a richly deserved win and impressive winning margin, St. Finbarr’s bainisteoir Ray Keane wasn’t getting carried away and appeared content just to get over his side’s first hurdle.
“The main thing I was concerned about was coming down here to Bantry and just getting over the line. That’s what championship football is all about,” Keane said.
“It doesn’t matter how you win games as long as you are on the victorious side when the final whistle goes. We will take every game as it comes from here on in and, despite tonight’s win, we are still way behind the curve of where I want this group to be.”
St. Finbarr’s led 0-4 to 0-3 at the end of a frantic opening quarter which featured a pair of Stephen Sherlock frees. The Cork U21 player would go on to have a terrific game and his influence, along with full- forward Adrian Murphy and an attack-minded half-back line, were pivotal.
Beara struggled to keep pace with their opponents for much of the game, repeatedly giving away frees and relying on Conor Lowney’s personal haul of 1-2, plus additional Andrew O’Sullivan and Gary Murphy efforts to stay in touch.
Losing Lorcán Harrington to a black card inside the opening 30 seconds didn’t help the divisional side’s cause and neither did errant shooting that meant Beara were playing catch-up for the entire tie.
The Barr’s moved up a gear in the second quarter and rattled off four unanswered points, Sherlock and Murphy again to the fore, with a Conor Lowney free Beara’s solitary response. Sherlock made his mark with a sensational point from an acute angle and then converted a free to send the Barr’s in 0-10 to 0-4 ahead at the interval.
Adrian Murphy’s goal extended the lead to nine points shortly after the resumption, an advantage the Seandún side were never likely to relinquish, especially with Sherlock keeping the scoreboard ticking over from placed balls.
Conor Lowney’s late goal was of scant consolation to an out-of-sorts Beara that have little time to lick their wounds with a daunting round 2B clash against Ballincollig looming large on the horizon.
There are tougher tests ahead for this vibrant St. Finbarr’s side, not least a round 2A clash with Carbery in the near future. Ray Keane has already consigned his club’s 10-point victory to the history books and is fully focused on the next challenge.
“We have a young team and a huge amount of work still to do. Stephen (Sherlock) was the guy who just happened to finish off most of our moves tonight but as a team, I thought we worked really hard. This is only the start as far as I’m concerned as we have atough battle ahead of us the next day against Carbery.”
S. Sherlock (0-11, 7 frees); A. Murphy (1-3, 3 frees); D. O’Brien (0-2); A. Lyne (0-1)
C. Lowney (1-2, 2 frees); A. O’Sullivan (0-3); G. Murphy, S. O’Sullivan (0-1 each)
J. McDonnell; P. Kennedy, A. O’Connor, D. Quinn; C. Lyons, M. Shields, C. Dennehy; J. Burns, I. Maguire; D. O’Brien, E. Dennehy, E. Comyns; A. Lyne, A. Murphy, S. Sherlock.
R. O’Dwyer for D. Quinn (14, blood), R. Leahy for D O’Brien (51, black card).
W. O’Sullivan (Adrigole); T. Collins (Castletownbere), L. Harrington (Castletownbere), S. O’Shea (Adrigole); E. Murphy (Garnish), J. Harrington (Garnish), S. McCarthy (Castletownbere); A. O’Sullivan (Castletownbere), B. O’Sullivan (Garnish); C. Lowney (Urhan), M. McCarthy (Urhan), S. O’Sullivan (Garnish); G. Murphy (Castletownbere), D. Fenton (Castletownbere), P. O’Shea (Urhan).
D. Dunne (Castletownbere) for L. Harrington (1, black card), P. O’Neill (Garnish) for G. Murphy (46), K. J. O’Sullivan (Adrigole) for D. Fenton (46), D, Murphy (Castletownbere) for J. Harrington (47), K. Goggin (Adrigole) for M. McCarthy (55), C. McElhinney (Glengarriff) for P. O’Shea (59).
D. Murnane (Macroom).