The city side were awesome at times in the closing 30 minutes and outscored last year’s Premier IFC graduates by 10 points to two – not bad considering they were missing towering midfielder Eoin Keane with a hamstring injury and ace-attacker Jason Sexton.
But judging on this showing, they’ll have a job to do to work their way back into the side with seven men getting on the scoreboard, and all but two of their tally coming from play.
Most potent for them was Rob O’Mahony at full-forward and the elusive number 14 underlined his reputation with three sumptuous points, an unlucky effort that cannoned back off the upright and some neat trickery to orchestrate a spate of other scores for those around him.
Eoghan Finn on the wing and Cian Madden inside him were others to stand out and they kicked seven points between them – Finn rattling off his in a devastating 10 minute spell before the break while Madden was a constant thorn.
To give Newmarket credit, they were sharp and fit and very much on the boil in the opening half but their shooting let them down time and again – eight wides their total for the first 30 minutes.
Inside duo John Lane and TJ Bodie were their obvious go-to men, every ball channelled in their direction. It was a tactic that was as simple as it was effective because they both showed up well with some arced runs and telepathic passing to each other.
But when it mattered most, at crucial stages in either half when they enjoyed good spells, they were off target. Coupled with that was a missed penalty on 50 minutes when they trailed by eight. Lane was bundled over as the ball was played into him but corner back Brian O’Riordan, ironically one of their star performers, had his effort brilliantly saved by James McDonnell.
The Barr’s should have wrapped the game up just before that only for Newmarket goalkeeper David Quinlan to deny Cian Madden with a stunning save from close range after Michael Shields picked him out with a pin-point pass over the defence.
Indeed that was one feature of the Barr’s play – their accurate kickpassing, and Ronan Curran displayed his value at centre-forward a couple of times with some fine passes – his left-footed arrow to pick out Glen O’Connor, who subsequently clipped over on 17 minutes, drew applause from both sets of supporters.
The North Cork men started brightly and though they were shorn of their main man — Bart Daly, who is sitting medical exams shortly, showed they were up for the challenge and with Bodie and Lane showing up in attack, they deservedly went in front on seven minutes when Kevin O’Sullivan finished off a move involving the former two.
But the Barrr’s drew level soon after through Finn — the first of his three points in as many minutes, and they went on to rattle off four in-a-row.
They had a similar spell like that too in the second-half but it involved five on-the-trot, the workaholic figure of Ian Leahy in midfield with two of those.
Scorers for St Finbarr’s: C Madden 0-4, P Murphy 0-3 (0-2f), E Finn, R O’Mahony (0-3) each, I Leahy 0-2 (0-1 45’), G O’Connor, P Wiley (0-1) each.
Scorers for Newmarket: TJ Bodie 0-3 (0-2f), S O’Connor, K O’Sullivan, J Lane (0-1) each.
ST FINBARR’S: J McDonnell; A O’Connor, R O’Dwyer, J Burns; C Lyons, M Shields, G O’Connor; I Leahy, P Wiley; D O’Brien, R Curran, E Finn; P Murphy, R O’Mahony, C Madden.
Subs: J O’Donoghue for D O’Brien (40), D O’Brien for P Wiley (58).
NEWMARKET: D Quinlan; B O’Riordan, D O’Brien, J Ryan; P Allen, B O’Leary, TJ Brosnan; C Cronin, T Murphy; D O’Flynn, K O’Sullivan, T O’Keeffe; TJ Bodie, S O’Connor, J Lane.
Subs: S Doody for TJ Brosnan inj. (46), C O’Sullivan for C Cronin (49), D Culloty for T Murphy (56).
Referee: P O’Leary (Kilmurry).