Late goals eventually see St Finbarr's past stubborn Castlehaven

Goals from Cork stars Steven Sherlock and Brian Hayes in the final quarter eventually helped the Barrs book a date with their neighbours from Nemo Rangers in the final
Late goals eventually see St Finbarr's past stubborn Castlehaven

POINT BLANK: St. Finbarr's Brian Hayes has his shot saved by Castlehaven's Anthony Seymour during the Bon Secours Cork Premier SFC semi-final at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Pic: Eddie O'Hare

St Finbarr’s 2-17 Castlehaven 1-16 

St Finbarr’s booked their place in the final of the Bons Secours Cork PSFC after they defeated Castlehaven in Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday afternoon. 

In a highly entertaining contest, that saw the sides level on twelve occasions, it was goals from Cork stars Steven Sherlock and Brian Hayes in the final quarter that eventually helped the Barrs book a date with their neighbours from Nemo Rangers in the final in four weeks’ time. 

By then they could still be chasing the double as their hurlers play Blackrock in the hurling final in a fortnight.

Before the game there was much talk of the last two times that these titans clashed when the only thing that separated them was their coolness from eleven yards. Here, they just continued from where they left off, trading blows with each other like prize-fighters of yore.

In the first twenty-five minutes of the game they shared sixteen points equally between them, they were level on eight occasions, they even had three wides each. The only discernible difference between the teams was that the Haven were that bit reliant on the imperious talents of Brian Hurley. He kicked six of their first-half points, four from placed balls while Andrew Whelton and Robbie Minihane had their other points.

Sherlock, who missed the early part of the season through injury, was the Barr’s scorer in chief with four points from play, each better than the last, though he had a wider supporting cast with Brian Hayes, Cillian Myers Murray, Enda Dennehy and Eoin McGreevey all on target.

The Barrs, however, had spurned two glorious goal opportunities. Sherlock’s fourth point should have been a goal after he reacted quickest to an Ian Maguire effort that had came back off the post while earlier Myers Murray shot wide after being put clean through by Sherlock.

Those misses were made more glaring when Brian Hurley found his brother, Michael, with a wonderful ball over the top and he made no mistake, finishing brilliantly beyond John Kerins to put daylight between them for the first time with four minutes to the break.

The Barrs response was impressive as they milked everything they could out of the remaining time, reeling off three points in-a-row through Sherlock, McGreevey and Jamie Burns to level the game for the ninth time at 0-11 to 1-8 before Conor Lane blew the half time whistle.

After the break it was the Togher side’s turn to give themselves some breathing space as they kicked three points in three minutes through Hayes, Myers Murray and Dennehy. Now it was the Haven who showed their mettle as they responded with three of their own through Brian Hurley, Cathal Maguire and Damien Cahalane to level the game for the tenth time as neither side showed any sign of relenting.

Maguire was giving the Barr’s defence some trouble as he kicked two more points with Myers Murray and Sherlock responding in kind to leave them level for the twelfth time at 0-16 to 1-13 going into the final quarter.

Then the Barr’s finally began to take their goal chances. Colm Scully got in behind the Haven defence and fed Sherlock, and he was never going to miss as he crashed it past Anthony Seymour to break the game open. Seymour then came to the Haven’s rescue as he saved brilliantly from Ben O’Connor and when Michael Hurley scored the next point, we waited for the Haven to reel in the gap again.

It was not to be, however, and when Ian Maguire put Hayes through on goal, he coolly stepped around Seymour to all but seal the Barrs spot in the final. They had Sam Ryan to thank for preventing late drama as he saved a Mark Collins effort off the line after the Barrs dithered in defence. 

McGreevey’s third then pushed them clear and though Michael and Brian Hurley brought the Haven closer, there was to be no stopping the Barrs in reaching their fourth county final in six years.

Scorers for St Finbarr’s: S Sherlock (1-6), B Hayes (1-2, 0-1 mark), E McGreevey and C Myers Murray (0-3 each), E Dennehy (0-2), J Burns (0-1).

Scorers for Castlehaven: B Hurley (0-8, 0-5 frees), M Hurley (1-2), C Maguire (0-3), D Cahalane, R Minihane and A Whelton (0-1 each).

ST FINBARR’S: J Kerins; A O’Connor, S Ryan, B Hennessy; C Dennehy, J Burns, C Scully; I Maguire, E Comyns; E McGreevey, B Hayes, E Dennehy; E Twomey, S Sherlock, C Myers Murray. 

Subs: B O’Connor for Twomey and D Quinn for C Dennehy (42), B O’Connell for E Dennehy (58), D O’Brien for Myers Murray (61).

CASTLEHAVEN: A Seymour; J O’Regan, R Maguire, R Walsh; T O’Mahony, D Cahalane, C Nolan; M Collins, C Cahalane; A Whelton, B Hurley, R Minihane; J Cahalane, M Hurley, C Maguire. 

Subs: C O’Driscoll for B Hurley (temp 45 – 47), C O’Driscoll for J Cahalane (50), R Whelton for A Whelton (52), J O’Neill for Minihane (62).

Referee: Conor Lane (Banteer).

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