Sunday 18 March 2018

Flying Fintan's book final spot

Losers rue controversial calls

THERE WAS a dramatic end to this exciting game as St. Fintan's hung on for a three-point victory over a battling Glynn-Barntown outfit in the Lodgewood Engineering Intermediate football championship semi-final at Wexford Park on Saturday last.

While Glynn-Barntown will rue some wild finishing, they will also look back on some controversial decisions of referee David Jenkins that did not go their way. Two of those decisions saw defenders harshly penalised at a crucial period of the final quarter, but the one that caused most controversy arrived two minutes from the end when four points separated the sides.

The Killurin outfit had battled back from a six-point deficit to draw level entering the final quarter, but then a St. Fintan's surge produced four unanswered points, two from controversial calls from referee Jenkins, before the disallowing of a goal really incurred the wrath of the crowd.

Glynn-Barntown had strung together a strong attacking move led by a driving run from Craig Doyle from midfield, with the ball passing through several hands before the final pass to Robert Dempsey. Dempsey had still some work to do but he wriggled his way around the defence before planting a superb shot to the net. But to the dismay of supporters, referee Jenkins disallowed the goal, claiming that the final pass to Dempsey was a throw ball, but it did not sit neatly with their loyal supporters.

Great credit is due to St. Fintan's for the manner in which they kept their composure in a tense second-half. Having lost a six-point lead and got back to level terms entering the final quarter, their response was so positive that it showed the qualities which the side possess as they bounced back with four points. They also held their nerve in the closing five minutes as Glynn-Barntown launched attack after attack in search of those crucial scores.

Glynn-Barntown opened the scoring with a Robert Dempsey fifth-minute point but St. Fintan's looked the more composed side through the opening phases of play despite playing into the wind. Two minutes later in St. Fintan's first serious attack, Conor Sinnott had a goalbound shot from a Donal Shanley centre cleared off the line, but he reacted quickest to the breaking ball to shoot to the net, giving his side a 1-0 to 0-1 lead.

Shanley (free) and Craig Doyle from a '45 exchanged points, before St. Fintan's struck for their second goal at the end of the opening quarter. Conor Sinnott lofted a high ball to the far post with Tomás Power beating both the 'keeper and a defender to the ball to punch to the net. The sides went on to trade points but St. Fintan's must have felt more comfortable when leading by 2-3 to 0-6 at the interval.

St. Fintan's began the second-half at a blistering pace as Joey Wadding, Donal Shanley (free) and Cathal O'Brien kicked points, pushing their side into a six-point lead. Glynn-Barntown needed something special to haul themselves back into a game that looked like slipping away from them. Rioghan Crosbie and Robert Dempsey kicked points, with that something special arriving in the 42nd minute.

Michael O'Regan, now operating at midfield, played a quick free to Craig Doyle and raced on to the return pass to storm through the centre of defence before crashing a superb shot to the net. When Craig Doyle added a pointed free, the sides were level (2-6 to 1-9) entering the final quarter.

Cathal O'Brien regained the Fintan's lead with a fine point, while Tomás Power, Donal Shanley (free) and Kevin Day also added points as the south county side moved 2-10 to 1-9 clear with four minutes remaining.

But the drama was by no means over. Seán Carmody had a low shot saved by 'keeper Patrick McDonnell, while two minutes from the end, Robert Dempsey once again knifed his way through the defence but saw his stunning shot for goal rebound off the underside of the crossbar back into play, before the ball was eventually cleared to safety.

In the sixth minute of additional time Craig Doyle pointed a free, but in the remaining minute they were unable to fashion an equalising goal as the St. Fintan's defence stood firm in the face of this final onslaught.

St. Fintan's: Patrick McDonnell; Adrian Murphy, Frank Staples, Eoin Whitmore; Brendan Hughes, Kevin Day (0-1), Jim Rossiter; Pádraig Doyle, Joey Wadding (0-2); Donal Shanley (0-3 frees), Conor Sinnott (1-0), Niall Moore; Cathal O'Brien (0-3, 1 free), Conor Day, Tomás Power (1-1, 0-1 free). Subs. - Shane Sinnott for Moore, Jason Pettitt for O'Brien.

Glynn-Barntown: Luke Rafter; Simon Gubbins, Pádraig Donnelly, Eoin Raftery; Shane Gubbins, Brendan Doyle, Robert Tierney; John Leacy, Craig Doyle (0-4, 2 frees, 1 '45); Barry Doyle, Michael O'Regan (1-1), Donnacha Doyle; Robert Dempsey (0-4, 1 free), Mark Carley, Seán Carmody. Subs. - John O'Flynn for D. Doyle, Rioghan Crosbie (0-1) for Carley.

Referee: David Jenkins (Gusserane).

New Ross Standard