Paul O’Keeffe: 'There is a massive hunger in St Finbarr's to achieve more'

Paul O’Keeffe was delighted for his players as they doubled their medal haul and cemented their status as the outstanding club team in Cork, alongside Nemo Rangers
Paul O’Keeffe: 'There is a massive hunger in St Finbarr's to achieve more'

St Finbarr's manager Paul O'Keeffe celebrates the win over Clonakilty in the Bon Secours Cork Premier SFC final at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

That Steven Sherlock would kick the winning score of the county final was “written in the stars”, according to St Finbarr's manager Paul O’Keeffe.

In irresistible form all season, Sherlock had put the Barrs 0-13 to 0-12 in front as the clock spilled past the hour mark and into time added on. But with Clon subsequently locating an equaliser, the 24-year-old had to step up to the mark for a second time when swinging over the game’s decisive point on 63 minutes.

“When I saw him get the ball, I said it is surely written in the stars. And his finish to win it was brilliant,” said victorious boss O’Keeffe.

Supplying the pass to Sherlock deep in injury-time was sub Eoghan McGreevey, with another second-half sub, Adam Lyne, having won the free which Sherlock converted for the aforementioned lead score on 60 minutes.

Throw in Cillian Myers Murray’s 52nd-minute point and the experience brought to bear by Michael Shields and it was some return O’Keeffe’s bench provided.

“We got a huge return off our bench. We had 44 in the panel as a whole today. There is massive depth there in the background, that you have to have. It is not a 15-man game, you have to have more. We had five or six guys to come on today and a few more who we were thinking about, so that's what kinda got us over the line.”

This was a sentiment echoed by team captain and man of the match Ian Maguire.

“Our bench made a huge contribution. McGreevy, Shieldsy, Bill O’Connell came on, did well, Cillian Myers Murray kicked a point. [He was] disappointed not to start but again showed his character,” said Maguire.

The other outstanding factor in their one-point win, according to O’Keeffe, was the panel’s collective belief.

“We have spoken all the time about coming down the home straight and if it was tight just to believe in ourselves. And that's what we did. It is that never-say-die attitude that has been there with us all year. We showed it against the Haven and Éire Óg, it has been phenomenal," the manager remarked.

“Today was a real test of character. Yet again, Clon brought an unbelievable passion to the game, which is what we expected, so just great to get over the line.”

Having told this newspaper during the week that this Barrs group would have underachieved if they never added to the 2018 triumph, O’Keeffe was delighted for his players as they doubled their medal haul and cemented their status as the outstanding club team in Cork, alongside Nemo Rangers, of recent years.

“I always say deserve doesn't come into it in sport, but we would have felt over the last three years since we took over that we were unlucky in parts. There was that sense that we could achieve more and that is the spirit within the camp, as well, that we want to go on to bigger and better things. There is a massive hunger within this squad to achieve more.”

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