Stabannon Parnells 2-8 Naomh Fionnbarra 2-7
Stabannon Parnells’ youthful side are fast learners – they had to be, not only reach this Saturday’s junior decider but to exact revenge for the group stage loss to Naomh Fionnbarra in Ardee.
Unlike the last day, Parnells soaked the pressure and made certain of victory with a late, clinching free by Harry Butterly in stoppage time. Barrs will rue their wayward shooting down the stretch as they could not find the target when they needed to.
The influential Seán Reynolds won a lot of kickouts late in the game but took the initiative right from the throw-in with the opening score. His side-kick, Harry Butterly, then added to the perfect start with a free won by Derek Crilly.
Full-forward Crilly was the only change from the quarter-final win but Barrs responded through the excellent Pádraig Butterly and then kept Anthony Briscoe in the Parnells goals more than busy. Briscoe denied Conor Osborne and intercepted Jack Butterly from a certain goal.
Butterly would finally get one past the Stabannon No1 and it was worth waiting for. An exquisite strike on the turn from a narrow angle that rippled the top corner of the net.
But Stuart Reynolds’ side dipped afterwards, just as their counterparts had, and it was Stabannon who struck back with an unanswered 1-2 in response. Bobby Butterly, soccer style, finished past Andy McCann after Crilly broke the ball perfectly into his path. Butterly still had a lot to do as he kept control and slotted home.
Parnells once again looked comfortable and took control towards half-time with a deserved three-point lead when the Togher men caught them cold again. Ciarán Murphy, the hero of the first game, neatly slotted the ball into the bottom left corner to level affairs, 2-3 to 1-6, at the interval.
Upon the resumption, Naomh Fionnbarra led from the off with Ciarán Markey on target and that was quickly added to by the losers’ best player on the day, Pádraig Butterly.
But Shane Sweeney’s men hit back and captain David Cluskey somehow picked out Bobby Butterly with a crossfield ball, and Butterly dummy-soloed before burying his second major.
Despite levelling twice and dominating possession, Harry Butterly would hold his ice cold nerve to book Parnells’ first championship final appearance in 22 years.
NAOMH FIONNBARRA: Andy McCann; Stephen Doyle, Colin McGrane, Adam Hanratty; Hugh McGrane, Cormac Reynolds, Colum Smyth; Kalum Regan, Brendan Simms; Ciarán Markey 0-1, Conor Osborne 0-1, Pádraig Butterly 0-3 (1f); Máirtín Murphy, Jack Butterly 1-1, Ciarán Murphy 1-1 (1f), Subs: John Doyle for Simms (26), Hugh Osborne for Hanratty (HT), James Butterly for Regan (40), Thomas McCreesh for M Murphy (44).
STABANNON PARNELLS: Anthony Briscoe; Daniel Clinton, Seán Halpenny, Ryan Halpenny; Johnny McGee; Barry Lynch, Shane McCoy, Niall Cluskey, Seán Reynolds 0-2; Bobby Butterly 2-0, Aonghus Giggins, David Cluskey; Barry McCoy; Derek Crilly 0-1, Harry Butterly 0-5 (5f). Subs: Colm Giggins for Giggins (35) Robbie Callaghan for D Cluskey (35), Shane Sweeney for Crilly (60).
REFEREE: Kevin Brady (Dundalk Gaels).