Allez Les Bleus: Good times keep on rolling for victorious Barrs 

In the final they will face Nemo Rangers, with whom they have shared the last five county titles.
Allez Les Bleus: Good times keep on rolling for victorious Barrs 

JOYOUS: St. Finbarr's Brian Hayes celebrates his goal against Castlehaven 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 

The good times are well and truly back in Togher. A week after their hurlers had reached their first county final in twenty-nine years, the footballers of St Finbarr’s booked their fourth appearance in the final of the Bons Secours Cork PSFC in six years after they proved to be that bit more balanced than Castlehaven in Páirc Uí Chaoimh yesterday.

In the final they will face Nemo Rangers, with whom they have shared the last five county titles. It will be the fourth time that the southside giants will clash in the decider, with the Trabeg outfit winning all of the previous encounters. This, however, is a very different St Finbarr’s team, battle hardened by their trip to the All-Ireland semi-final last year and they showed all of those qualities here against a Castlehaven side that contributed much to yet another thrilling encounter.

When Steven Sherlock levelled the game for the twelfth time at 0-16 to 1-13 going into the final quarter, it seemed that this tie was destined to again go down to the wire. Sherlock, who missed the start of the campaign through injury, was magnificent to this point in kicking 0-6 from play, though the fourth of those points in the first half really should have been a goal after he broke onto an Ian Maguire effort that had come back off the post.

Missing goal chances had been a worrying trend for the Barrs. Cillian Myers Murray, who kicked 0-3, had shot wide when put through by Sherlock, Jamie Burns took a point when a goal seemed the easier option while Ethan Twomey also saw a palmed effort sail wide, all in the first half. Those chances became more glaring when Michael Hurley crashed home Castlehaven’s first goal chance after being put through by his brother, Brian, five minutes before the break.

But when the impressive Colm Scully drifted in behind the Haven defence and gave Sherlock another sight of goal, he was to make no mistake crashing it past Anthony Seymour. Seymour then prevented the Barrs lead from doubling, saving brilliantly from Ben O’Connor and when Michael Hurley scored the game’s next score, the comeback seemed to be on again. But it was not to be as Ian Maguire put Brian Hayes through on goal and when he slipped the ball home, the Haven resolve was finally broken, though Sam Ryan did have to save off the line from Mark Collins after the Barr’s dithered in defence.

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 was the Barr’s scorer in chief with four points off play with Hayes, Myers Murray, Enda Dennehy and Eoin McGreevey all on target too.

The Haven then landed the first major blow of the game with Hurley’s goal but the Barr’s response was impressive as they milked everything they could out of the last four minutes of the half, 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 they both kept on swinging with Cathal Maguire starring for the Haven, but in the end it was the Barr’s who landed the knock-out blows as their double dream remains very much alive.

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 (c), 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 (c), 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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