A Steven Sherlock point in the third minute of second-half injury-time delivered St Finbarr’s a 10th Cork senior football title.
And how fitting it was that Sherlock landed the winner given he was both the top-scorer (3-41) and outstanding performer in this year’s county championship.
The 24-year-old had edged the Barrs in front on the hour mark following a dubious free awarded to sub Adam Lyne. Clon, to their credit, worked an equaliser through Gearoid Barry two minutes later to tee up a thoroughly gripping finish.
Lyne and Sherlock again teamed up for the winner, the former delivering a perfectly weighted pass to the in-form forward who held his nerve to fire the Barrs to a second county title in four seasons.
It was a victory Paul O’Keeffe’s charges just about deserved, the men from the city creating the greater number of chances throughout, as evidenced by the wides count of nine to two. The platform for the creation of the majority of these chances was the outstanding midfield performance of Ian Maguire and Brian Hayes, the latter forced off with injury in the second-half.
This county final caught fire during an end-to-end third quarter where both sides strung together superb passages of play. The point-taking was equally impressive, with Denis O'Brien for the Barrs and Clon’s Ross Mannix each throwing over marvellous scores.
The same as in the first-half, the men from the West began the second period more purposefully and with more intent than their city opponents. The tireless Sean White was twice fouled for frees that Dara Ó Sé converted, with a third placed-ball from the Kerry native inside the opening eight minutes of the restart squaring matters at 0-7 all.
The Barrs manufactured their best score of the game in the play following O Sé’s third free of the half as Brian Hayes pulled down the subsequent restart, off-loaded to the onrushing Ian Maguire who in turn fed Sherlock and he confidently split the posts.
Sherlock was then fouled for a free which he converted to restore their two-point advantage, which Clon had sliced in half come the second water break, 0-10 to 0-9.
Back-to-back points from Sean McEvoy and Ó Sé upon the resumption of play nudged Clon in front for the first time since the 21st minute.
It was their opponents, though, who produced the stronger and more composed finish, Cillian Myers Murray and Conor McCrickard kicking vital points.
Clon ‘keeper Mark White did try for an equaliser in the fourth and final minute of second-half stoppages, but his shot drifted left and wide.
In a first-half where the Barrs were very slow in finding any semblance of rhythm and where they operated with too few bodies inside the opposition ‘45 metre line, particularly so early on, Paul O’Keeffe’s charges grew sufficiently into proceedings to turn a 0-4 to 0-2 deficit at the first water break into a 0-6 to 0-4 interval advantage.
Despite their sluggish opening, the Barrs, who didn’t open their account until the 12th minute, would have been cradling a sense of regret at half-time that they should have been more than two clear as Stephen Sherlock was off target with four placed-ball efforts, with Brian Hayes and Enda Dennehy also missing chances to bring their first-half wides tally to six.
Clonakikty, mind, had their own wasted opportunities, midfielders Ben Ridgeway and Joe Grimes both seeing their goal drives repelled by Barrs ‘keeper John Kerins on 11 and 24 minutes respectively.
Driven forward by the excellent Sean White, Clon were the more assertive side in the opening quarter, at the end of which they led 0-4 to 0-2 thanks to points from Ross Mannix, corner-back Maurice Shanley, Sean McEvoy, and Dara Ó Sé (free).
The problem for Clon was that scores dried up altogether during the second quarter, Haulie O’Neill charges unable to add to their tally.
That was an issue they rectified early in the second-half but they were overtaken once more late on as no repeat of 2009 materialised.
S Sherlock (0-7, 0-4 frees); I Maguire, D O’Brien (0-2 each); B Hayes, C McCrickard, C Myers Murray (0-1 each).
D Ó Sé (0-6, 0-5 frees); S McEvoy, R Mannix (0-2 each); M Shanley, J O’Mahony, G Barry (0-1 each).
J Kerins; A O’Connor, S Ryan, B Hennesy; C Scully, J Burns, C Lyons; I Maguire, B Hayes; D O’Brien, E Comyns, C Barrett; E Dennehy, S Sherlock, C McCrickard.
C Myers Murray for Hayes (43 mins, inj); E McGreevey for Dennehy, M Shields for O’Brien (48); B O’Connell for Barrett (56); A Lyne for McCrickard (59).
M White; M Shanley, T Clancy, D Peet; S White, E Deasy, O Bancroft; B Ridgeway, J Grimes; D Lowney, J O’Mahony, G Barry; R Mannix, D Ó Sé, S McEvoy.
C Daly for Mannix (53).