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Sherlock the hero for St Finbarr's as they edge out Clonakilty in Cork senior decider

They advance to a Munster semi-final against Éire Óg Ennis or Loughmore-Castleiney.

St Finbarr’s 0-14

Clonakilty 0-13

STEVEN SHERLOCK HAS been the scoring star of this year’s Cork senior football championship and it was fitting that he had the final say to seal victory for St Finbarr’s in a highly entertaining county senior decider today.

steven-sherlock-and-tom-clancy Steven Sherlock in action for St Finbarrs against Clonakilty's Tom Clancy. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

West Cork outfit Clonakilty produced a superb display as they contested their first final in 12 years but it was Sherlock who proved the match-winner as he floated over the injury-time point that sealed the Togher outfit’s 10th senior crown.

The teams were deadlocked on four occasions during the last quarter with both teams in front at different junctures. Sherlock had tapped over a 60th minute free to edge St Finbarr’s ahead before a terrific point by Gearoid Barry dragged Clonakilty level.

A replay looked a prospect until Sherlock had the definitive say, after he was released by substitute Eoghan McGreevey. 

st-finbarrs-celebrate St Finbarr's players celebrate their success. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Sherlock finished with 0-7 to his credit as his influence became more pronounced as the game progressed. Captain Ian Maguire delivered a man-of-the-match showing from midfield and notched two points while wing-forward Denis O’Brien also boomed over a pair of scores.

The input of the St Finbarr’s bench was also critical in enabling them to shade this encounter as they landed the Andy Scannell Cup for a 10th time. It is the second championship success in four seasons for the famed Togher club and this richly productive spell will be cherished given their long barren run between 1985 and 2018.

Manager Paul O’Keeffe has now enjoyed the distinction of leading his club to senior football honours, a decade after he achieved that feat at the helm of college team UCC.

enda-dennehy-and-steven-sherlock-with-goalkeperr-mark-white St. Finbarrs' Enda Dennehy and Steven Sherlock with goalkeperr Mark White of Clonakilty. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Clonalkilty came desperately close to a famous success. Goalkeeper Mark White, who frequently surged outfield with effective runs, had one last chance from distance to grind out a draw but his kick from play drifted just wide.

His brother Sean was an outstanding presence at wing-back for Clonakilty, controlling the play and making impressive attacking forays. That helped alleviate the loss of county colleague Liam O’Donovan through injury, while Dara O’Shea was their top scorer with 0-6. Inside forwards Sean McEvoy and Ross Mannix struck two points apiece.

St Finbarr’s claimed a 0-6 to 0-4 interval advantage, a product of second quarter dominance as they outscored Clonakilty by four points and held their opponents scoreless.

Clonakilty belied their underdogs status with a bright opening but saw two goal opportunities spurned in the first half as midfielders Ben Ridgeway and Joe Grimes were denied by saves from John Kerins.

Early pointed frees from O’Shea gave Clonakilty impetus in the second half. St Finbarr’s responded with Sherlock and Maguire combining for scores to leave them 0-10 to 0-9 to the good at the water break.

Then came the frenetic finale as the action ebbed and flowed. Sherlock popped up with the winner that landed Cork silverware for St Finbarr’s and a Munster semi-final spot against Tipperary’s Loughmore-Castleiney or Clare’s Éire Óg Ennis.

Scorers for St Finbarr’s: Steven Sherlock 0-7 (0-4f), Ian Maguire, Denis O’Brien 0-2 each, Brian Hayes, Conor McCrickard, Cillian Myers-Murray 0-1 each.

Scorers for Clonakilty: Dara O’Shea 0-6 (0-5f), Sean McEvoy, Ross Mannix 0-2 each, Maurice Shanley, Gearoid Barry, Jack O’Mahony 0-1 each.

St Finbarr’s

1. John Kerins

6. Billy Hennessy, 7. Alan O’Connor, 2. Sam Ryan, 

4. Colm Scully, 3. Jamie Burns, 5. Colin Lyons

8. Ian Maguire, 9. Brian Hayes

10. Denis O’Brien, 19. Eoin Comyns, 12. Colm Barrett

21. Enda Dennehy, 11. Conor McCrickard, 14. Steven Sherlock

Subs

13. Cillian Myers-Murray for Hayes (43)

15. Eoghan McGreevey for Dennehy (48)

22. Michael Shields for O’Brien (48)

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20. Bill O’Connell for Barrett (56)

17. Adam Lyne for McCrickard (59)

Clonakilty

1. Mark White

3. Tom Clancy, 2. Maurice Shanley, 4. Dan Peet

7. Sean White, 6. Eoghan Deasy, 20. Odhran Bancroft

8. Ben Ridgeway, 9. Joe Grimes;

5. David Lowney, 11. Dara Ó Sé, 10. Gearoid Barry

14. Jack O’Mahony, 12. Sean McEvoy, 13. Ross Mannix

Sub

15. Conor Daly for Mannix (53)

Referee: David Murnane (Macroom)

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Fintan O'Toole  / Reports from Páirc Uí Chaoimh

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