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Costello drives Finbarr's to glory in thriller


A STEPHEN Costello free deep into injury-time handed Naomh Fionnbarra a nerve-jangling one point win in their highly entertaining Evening Herald Dublin Senior 'B' Hurling Championship Final at Parnell Park yesterday afternoon.

With the tie seemingly destined for a replay following a sublime Shane Stapleton free in the second minute of added time, ref Eddie Walker controversially penalised Barry O'Hanlon for an illegal handpass and Costello held his nerve to clinch a famous win for the Cabra men.

It was fitting that Costello should have the final word as his accuracy from placed balls was central to his side's victory while Dublin U21 Eamonn Dillon hit four cracking points from play.

Stapleton, more than most, would have felt hard done by the result given his wonderful scoring contribution but his lack of scoring support ultimately handicapped his side to a fatal degree.

It was St Patrick's who were given a promising opening when Aidan Glennon landed a sumptuous point inside 15 seconds and a Stapleton free inside a minute looked like the Palmerstown men were well set to carry on from their impressive semi-final win over Crumlin.

However, such an eventuality never materialised as Finbarr's assumed a level of control with Anthony Costello a stirring presence at centre-back and the Cabra side hit back with five successive scores, including a glorious Dillon point and an immaculately controlled sideline cut by Stephen Costello.

Kevin Ward attempted to rally his troops with a captain's score at the end of the first quarter but ill-discipline in the St Patrick's ranks was being punished by Costello as Finbarr's led by 0-8 to 0-4 by the 22nd minute.

Stapleton's move to full-forward paid dividends when he received a pass from Glennon to crash to the net from but their failure to build on that score undermined St Pat's challenge and they fell further behind after scores from Dillon and John Bailey.

Matters deteriorated for St Pat's when a long delivery by Stephen Costello was allowed roll untouched to the net in the 28th minute to hand the Barr's a deserved 1-11 to 1-5 interval lead.

The game was turned on its head after the break with Stapleton creating a goal chance for Peter Keaney which rattled beyond Lar Sweetman in the 35th minute and Pat's regained the initiative six minutes later when Glennon once again found Stapleton in space, with the same result ensuing as suddenly St Pat's enjoyed a three-point lead.

Costello kicked a fine point on the run to level matters and another immense score from Dillon in the 61st minute looked to be enough to separate the sides. The late drama that followed ended a memorable and emotional day for the Barrs.

Scorers - Naomh Fionnbarra: S Costello 1-11 (0-7f, 0-2 '65', 0-1 sideline), E Dillon 0-4, G Doddrill 0-2, J Bailey, D Doogan 0-1 each. St Patrick's Palmerstown: S Stapleton 2-8 (0-4f, 0-1 '65'), P Keaney 1-0, A Glennon, K Ward, P Faughnan, D Rushe 0-1 each.

NH FIONNBARRA: L Sweetman; I McDonnell, P Whelan, K Byrne; B Quinn, A Costello, S Dunaghey; P Turner, S Commins; E Dillon, G Doddrill, S Costello; K Turner, D Doogan, J Bailey. Subs: G O'Reilly for Commins(38), T Lynch for Quinn (56), G McAuley for Dunaghey (57).

ST PAT'S, PALMERSTOWN: D Gallagher; G Dunne, D Byrne, A Treacy; D Mooney, L Rushe, G Kelly; B O'Hanlon, K Ward; D O'Hanlon, S Stapleton, P Keaney; D Rushe, A Glennon, C Dolan. Subs: P Faughnan for Dolan (34), S Treacy for Ward (43), A Kennedy for A Treacy (43), C O'Toole for S Treacy (56).

REF: E Walker (O'Toole's).