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Report on SHC

 Damien Cahalane, St Finbarr's, battles Eoin Sheehan, Na Piarsaigh. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Finn proves crucial for St Finbarr’s hurlers in defeating Na Piarsaigh

St Finbarr’s 1-16 Na Piarsaigh 0-16

A CITY derby that never really ignited, but the victory deservedly went to the Barrs who extended their stay in this season’s hurling championship.

For Na Piarsaigh, who were without the injured Chris Joyce, the opposite was the case and it will be 2020 before they embark on the competitive trail again.

St Finbarr’s were the better-balanced unit in this third-round encounter at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday, even if they made life difficult for themselves at times with some wayward shooting. At the end of the hour their wides tally was well into double figures.  The platform for their victory was firmly laid in a solid defensive unit that had Eoin Keane marshalling the forces superbly at centre-back.  John Neville and Glenn O’Connor contributed well too, but no great fault could be found with any of the six who provided plenty of protection for goalkeeper Shane Hurley all through.  Damien Cahalane, lining out at midfield, played a significant role too, growing into the game and scoring a few tasty points while his younger brother Conor posted some fine points as well.

Eoghan Finn shot a few wides in the number 12 jersey but his contribution was vast at the same time and he fired home a sublime penalty attempt in the second-half which was definitely a game-changer after Philip Kelleher had been upended.

There was little or nothing dividing the sides in the opening half, but Na Piarsaigh finished the stronger and had good points from Evan Sheehan, Padraig Guest, Cian Buckley, Dayne Lee, Eoin Moynihan, Craig Hanifin, and Daire Connery in that opening 30 minutes.

It was 0-9 to 0-6 going to the dressing rooms for the northside team and they maintained that advantage for the opening sequences of the second half.

The Barrs continued to miss the target, but four unanswered points from Conor Cahalane, Keane, O’Connor and Damien Cahalane had them in front on 47 minutes.

 Hanifin tied it up shortly afterwards but then arrived the Barrs penalty, expertly executed by the impressive Finn. It was certainly a turning point, but Na Piarsaigh refused to wilt and points from Evan Sheehan and Dayne Lee made it a one-point game entering the final minutes of regulation time.

But the Barrs riposte was hugely encouraging and three points on the trot from Finn, Billy Hennessy and Finn again had them four points to the good.

Into stoppage time we went and a point from Pa O’Rourke made it a one-score game, but it was a goal or nothing now for the Farranree outfit to try and salvage the tie.  It didn’t arrive and time just ran out for them and with it their hurling for the year.  While the league was run off very efficiently, defeat at this juncture in the championship leaves a team on the outside looking in for a very protracted period.

But it was the Barrs night, a much more challenging assignment than they had been given by Carrigtwohill in the opening round.  Of course, the east Cork side are back in the equation again after their fine win over Killeagh.  Barrs boss Ronan Curran will have been happy with a lot of aspects of their play but there is work to be done too in other matters, their final delivery being one of them.  But it must be taken into account too that they were championship inactive for three months and there’s always going to be some ring rust in that situation.

Scorers for St Finbarr’s: E Finn 1-6 (1-0 pen, 0-3 f), C Cahalane 0-3, D Cahalane 0-2, P Kelleher, R O’Mahony, G O’Connor, E Keane, B Hennessy 0-1 each.

Na Piarsaigh: C Hanifin 0-5 (0-3 f), E Sheehan 0-3 (0-1 f), E Moynihan 0-2f, D Lee 0-2, P Guest, P O’Rourke, C Buckley, D Connery 0-1 each.

ST FINBARR’S: S Hurley, O Murphy, J Burns, J Neville, G O’Connor, E Keane, C Walsh, B Hennessy, D Cahalane, C Cahalane, C Keane, E Finn, R O’Mahony, P Kelleher, B O’Connell.  Subs: C Buckley for C Keane (42), C Barrett for Kelleher (53), S Callanan for O’Connell (60).

NA PIARSAIGH: L O’Donovan, C Buckley, E Gunning, E Moynihan, A Hogan, P O’Rourke, D Connery, D Gunning, D Lee, E Sheehan, C Hanifin, S Forde, P Guest, Evan Sheehan, E Hanifin. Subs: K Buckley for E Hanafin (40), K Moynihan for Guest (50).

Referee: C McAllister (Aghada).