St Finbarr’s hold off 12-point Ballincollig comeback to win by the minimum

Cillian Myers Murray's goals proved crucial for St Finbarr's as Ballincollig stormed back to nearly grab a dramatic win, having trailed by 13 at one stage
St Finbarr’s hold off 12-point Ballincollig comeback to win by the minimum

Dylan Quinn, St Finbarr's, tries to shake off a challenge from Luke Fahy, Ballincollig. Pic: Larry Cummins

ST FINBARR’S 2-15 BALLINCOLLIG 1-17 

St Finbarr’s hit two second-half goals to take the initiative in this Bon Secours Premier SFC Round 1 game at Páirc Uí Rinn, holding Ballincollig off as the Mid Cork side stormed back to nearly grab a dramatic win, having trailed by 13 at one stage.

Both sides began with significant absences - Cork senior football captain Ian Maguire out for St Finbarr’s, as was former Cork captain Michael Shields, while Shields’ old county colleague Patrick Kelly missed out for Ballincollig.

The Barrs defended the scoreboard end in the first half, with Stephen Sherlock going in to full-forward and Cork U20 captain Brian Hayes moving to centre-forward. On the other side, Ballincollig withdrew Noel Galvin to the middle of the field.

Darren Murphy showed up well for Ballincollig early on, helping them to a 0-2 to 0-1 lead - both sides struggled to find their range, though a Sherlock 45 levelled the game on 10 minutes.

Hayes blazed wide when a goal looked likely on 13 minutes but Cillian Myers Murray and Colm Barrett pushed the Barrs two clear; Ballincollig’s Cian Kiely hit back before the first water-break, 0-4 to 0-3 with 19 minutes played.

Myers Murray and Cian Dorgan swapped points on the resumption before Denis O’Brien had a good long-range effort for the city side: 0-6 to 0-4.

Cian Kiely had his second point for Ballincollig before Sherlock came close to a goal, Jack Gibbons saving well. Sherlock converted the resulting 45.

He and Myers Murray then added points from play before corner-back Conor Dennehy came upfield for an inspirational score, pushing the Barrs five ahead.

Sherlock had a free in injury time and then popped up at the end of a flowing move to put the Barrs firmly in the driving seat, 0-12 to 0-5 at the break.

The city side restarted with a Colin Lyons point and when Myers Murray goaled on 33 minutes it made Ballincollig’s task all the harder as they trailed 1-13 to 0-5.

Sub Paddy Kelly responded with a point for the westerners but Myers Murray had another goal on 35 minutes from a Sherlock pass: 2-13 to 0-6. Sean Kiely came close to a Ballincollig goal directly from the kick-out, but the ball skittered wide.

Credit Ballincollig, they hit the next five points in a row to stay in the hunt, though Denis O’Brien broke their momentum with a Barrs point, making it 2-14 to 0-11 at the second water break.

Ballincollig came looking for goals on the resumption and the Barrs had to look smart, though Ballincollig got two points out of the attacks. The Barrs swept upfield and Myers Murray hit the post; then Ballincollig surged to the other end of the field and Marc Oldham goaled from a Kelly pass - 2-14 to 1-14 and seven minutes left.

The Barrs then lost Colin Lyons to a black card and Dorgan’s free made it a two-point game. When a late Sherlock point reassured the Barrs, Dorgan (free) replied, then Cian Kiely reduced it to the minimum.

More drama then: Barrs sub Colm Scully got up to fist the ball to the net only for the goal to be ruled out for a square ball. Ballincollig attacked but the Barrs managed to hold out for a dramatic win.

Scorers for St Finbarr’s: S. Sherlock (2 45s, frees)(0-7); C. Myers Murray (2-3); D. O’Brien (0-2); C. Barrett, C. Lyons, C. Dennehy (0-1 each).

Scorers for Ballincollig: C. Dorgan (3 frees, 2 45s)(0-8); M. Oldham (1-0); D. Murphy, C. Kiely (0-3 each); P. O’Neill (0-2); P. Kelly (0-1).

ST FINBARR’S: J. Kerins; D. Quinn, S. Ryan, C. Dennehy; C. Lyons, J. Burns, A. O’Connor; L. Hannigan, E. Comyns (c); D. O’Brien, S. Sherlock, B. Hayes; C. Barrett, I. O’Callaghan, C. Myers Murray.

Subs: C. Scully for Quinn (38); M. Shields for Comyns (45); I. Maguire for Hannigan (54).

BALLINCOLLIG: J. Gibbons; S. Murphy, S. O’Neill, JP Murphy; K. Browne, L. Jennings (c), C. Kiely; S. Kiely, C. O’Sullivan; M. Oldham, R. Noonan, L. Fahy; N. Galvin, C. Dorgan, D. Murphy.

Subs: P. O’Neill for Browne and P. Kelly for Noonan (both HT); G. O’Donoghue for O’Neill (33); C. Moore for S. Murphy (inj, 40); D. O’Mahony for C. O’Sullivan (59). 

Referee: A. Long (Argideen Rangers)

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