Ryan content as superb Sars go into overdrive

Cork SHC quarter-final: Sarsfields 3-20 St Finbarr’s 1-16

Strong play from Sarsfields in the sunshine at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday, class exuding all over the park, as they out-hurled St Finbarr’s to book a Cork SHC semi-final date with either Newtownshandrum or Na Piarsaigh.

No question, this sweet quarter-final display will shoot them up the favourites ranking, firmly erasing last week’s dour show against Carrigdhoun. Certainly manager Pat Ryan was pleased.

“That was a bit better, the passion and drive was really out there today. Without that drive, tactics will only work five to 10% of the time, as we saw last week against Carrigdhoun. In fairness last week, Carrigdhoun were a good side. Just because we were playing a lot of junior players, people felt we only had to go out and win it. We just didn’t show that drive and passion last time, but it was there today. Look how Cian (McCarthy), Daniel (Kearney) and Ray (Ryan) performed. They were outstanding, particularly Cian, who is such a great player for the club, and a role model for the younger players.

“That’s the kind of form you need at the business end of the season, I’m delighted for the players, we did have sloppy moments, but we’ll push on now,” said Ryan.

Sars shuffled the pack for this one, Conor O’Sullivan lining out at midfield and Gary O’Kelly-Lynch at corner-back. And with Eoin Quigley leading the attack, they opened with menace, Eoin O’Sullivan firing over a quick point. Cian McCarthy followed with two pointed frees until the Barr’s finally found their feet, Cathal McCarthy and Glenn O’Connor getting them on the scoresheet and it was turning into a lively contest, scores aplenty.

With Sars leading 0-4 to 0-2, Colm Keane soon showed his class for the Barr’s with a peach of a sideline point and another from play to tie up the match. But then they were hit with Sars’ opening goal in the 10th minute, Gavin O’Loughlin setting up Eoin Quigley. It enabled the Imokilly men to lead 1-7 to 0-6 after the opening quarter and it was a deserved advantage with the Barr’s big half-back trio of Eoin Keane, Damien Cahalane and Ronan Curran unable to take command.

It got better for Sars when Cian McCarthy delivered another point in the 17th minute, but battling Barr’s just wouldn’t lie down. First Ian Lordan pointed and then came a Barr’s goal following a glorious grab and run by Robert O’Mahony, setting up Colm Keane, who made no mistake.

Just a point in arrears, the Barr’s looked set to push on. But then came a fabulous second Sars goal in the 28th minute — Quigley and Kieran Murphy setting up Tadgh Óg Murphy.

The Barr’s were unlucky soon afterwards when it took a great Alan Kennedy save to deny Keane a second goal but they never recovered from that second goal, as Sars led 2-10 to 1-9 at the break.

Sars took up the running quickly on the changeover as a point from the outstanding Kearney and sub Rory Duggan stretched their lead and the Barr’s were hit for a third goal in the 35th minute, this time Tadgh Óg Murphy setting up ‘Fraggie’ Murphy and there was no way back for the Barr’s now.

With Cian McCarthy in superb form over the hour, outhurling Cahalane and scoring 11 points in all, five beauties from play, Sars kept the scoreboard ticking over and it was 3-17 to 1-14 entering the final quarter, Lordan doing most of the damage for an outclassed Barr’s side.

It was just a question of how much Sars would win by now, Kearney firing over two more beauties as the slick Riverstown men continued to play quality controlled hurling, though Eoin Finn did score two tasty points for the Barr’s, who were also denied a second goal late on, Kennedy making another fine save, this time from sub Brian Ramsey.

With Ray Ryan superb in the heart of the Sars defence, ably assisted by Eanna Martin, not even the switch of Ronan Curran to full-forward could change their fortunes, as Barr’s selector Christy Ryan admitted later: “No complaints, we were outplayed by a quality Sars display. They played some splendid hurling.”

That sums it up nicely.

Scorers for Sarsfields: C. McCarthy 0-11 (0-6 frees), E. Quigley and T Óg Murphy 1-1 each, D. Kearney 0-4, K. Murphy 1-0, E. O’Sullivan, R. Ryan and R. Duggan 0-1 each.

Scorers for St. Finbarr’s: I. Lordan 0-7 (0-3 frees, 0-1 65), C. Keane 1-3 (0-1 sideline), G. O’Connor and E. Finn 0-2 each, C. McCarthy and E. Keane 0-1 each.

SARSFIELDS: A. Kennedy; W. Kearney, C. Leahy, G. O’Kelly-Lynch; D. Roche, R. Ryan. E. Martin; D. Kearney, C. O’Sullivan; C. McCarthy, E. Quigley, G. O’Loughlin; T. Óg Murphy, K. Murphy, E. O’Sullivan.

Subs: R. Duggan for O’Kelly-Lynch (ht), C. Duggan for O’Loughlin (48m), R. Murphy for Quigley (50), G. Grey for K. Murphy (60), R. O’Driscoll for E. O’Sullivan (60).

ST. FINBARR’S: D. O’Gorman; C. Walsh, J. Burns, J. Neville; E. Keane, D. Cahalane, R. Curran; G. O’Connor, I. Maguire; E. Maher, C. McCarthy, E. Finn; I. Lordan, R. O’Mahony, C. Keane.

Subs: P. Wiley for Maher (ht), B. Ramsey for McCarthy (41), J. Power for C. Keane (60).

Referee: D. Kirwan (Éire Óg).



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