GOOD COUNSEL 2-19
ST FINIAN'S NEWCASTLE 1-9
Good Counsel produced a powerful second-half performance when comfortably overcoming a depleted St Finian's of Newcastle by 13 points in their Dublin AFL Division 4 encounter at Galtymore Road last Sunday morning.
The tie looked delicately poised as Counsel enjoyed a narrow 1-7 to 1-6 interval lead. But the visitors' challenge dissipated upon the restart as Counsel's attacking potential was realised.
Central to the hosts' success was the contribution of centre-forward John O'Brien, with the former Dublin player striking nine sublime points from play while Alex Quinn looked menacing at corner-forward in addition to plundering his side's two goals.
Both O'Brien and Quinn benefitted hugely from the tireless roving play of wing-forwards Ian Armstrong and Robert Ryder while David Charles was also influential from centre-back.
There were few positives for St Finian's to take on their trip home as they imploded for the first 15 minutes of the second-half and their late improvement never looked likely to lead to a comeback.
That 13 points should separate the sides at the final whistle seemed highly unlikely after an even first period in which Finian's took the lead thanks to a fine score from centre-forward Michael Harney in the third minute. It did not last long, however, as Ryder's telling delivery allowed Quinn to turn adroitly before slotting a calm finish beyond the badly-exposed Bernard Grealy from eight yards.
Although Quinn slotted a free in the eighth minute to extend his side's advantage, the visitors were enjoying more possession and they trimmed their arrears following successive scores by Seán McCarthy and Mark Bennett.
Another glorious score from the left wing by Harney maintained Finian's momentum and they deservedly took the lead in the 17th minute when McCarthy unselfishly fed Bennett for an emphatic finish from close range.
Further points ensued from both McCarthy and Bennett as the half progressed but some loose marking in the Finian's defence allowed both O'Brien and Barry O'Reilly to chip in with two points apiece as Good Counsel enjoyed a 1-7 to 1-6 interval lead.
The expected tight second-half failed to materialise as O'Brien began to stamp his class on proceedings with his trusty left boot accounting for the first three scores following the restart.
Finian's struggled in claiming breaking ball and their woes were compounded by the vibrancy of the Counsel attack as substitute Ben Quinn overlapped from wing-back for a fine team score.
The contest was effectively settled in the 40th minute when the impressive O'Brien timed his pass to perfection, allowing Quinn to use his pace before applying another cool finish.
The procession continued unabated with O'Reilly, Ryder and O'Brien taking full advantage of the generous amount of possession that came their way with late scores from Harney and Barry McInerney of little consolation to the visitors by the final whistle.