A MUCH-IMPROVED second-half display saw St. Fintan’s cement qualification for the Permanent TSB Junior hurling championship quarter-finals after Saturday’s clearcut closing Group A victory over Bannow-Ballymitty in Grantstown.
The home side were already destined for a relegation decider – where they now face Marshalstown-Castledockrell on August 7 – but Bannow-Ballymitty produced a sprightly first-half challenge regardless.
Indeed, although minus the suspended Gary Morton, Bannow-Ballymitty contained St. Fintan’s danger impressively as the locals carved out a 0-6 to 0-4 half-time advantage.
Free-taker Cathal Cummins accounted for much of Bannow-Ballymitty’s scoring in that period while St. Fintan’s kept themselves in the battle through the finishing of Jim Rossiter and Niall Moore (three frees).
Rossiter along with Peter Goldsmith and Donal Shanley demonstrated great composure as they produced strong performances in a game which was very difficult to take command of, but St. Fintan’s really began to impose their will on matters when Dan Kelly pounced to net within a minute of the restart.
And the reigning Junior ‘A’ champions gained a fortuitous boost a few minutes later when a long delivery from Donal Shanley was fumbled by the opposition ’keeper on its way to ending up in the net.
With Goldsmith and fellow defenders Richie Kelly and Quinlan Kelly helping to quell Bannow-Ballymitty’s best efforts, St. Fintan’s went from strength-to-strength up front.
Jim Rossiter stretched the advantage when putting over a ’65, and the visitors consolidated their position with a string of final-quarter scores.
David Moore, Liam Crowley (two), Niall Moore (free) and Dan Kelly all raised white flags, while Kelly netted his second goal five minutes from the finish as Liam Pettit’s charges finished on a high heading into next Saturday’s quarter-final against Davidstown-Courtnacuddy in Oylegate.
St. Fintan’s: Tom Cullen; Richie Kelly, Quinlan Kelly, Edmund Cleary; Kyle Rankin, Peter Goldsmith, Liam Crowley (0-2); Jim Rossiter (0-2, 1 ’65), Adam Devereux; Niall Moore (0-4 frees), Eoin O’Callaghan, Donal Shanley (1-0); Johnny Kelly, Dan Kelly (2-1), David Moore (0-1). Subs. - Jamie Codd for O’Callaghan, Eoin Wright for D. Moore, Lee Kelly for D. Kelly.
Bannow-Ballymitty: Garry Jordan; Seán Fleming, Pierce O’Connor, Darren Cadogan; Richie Walsh, Mark Wallace (0-1), Seán McCormack; Kieran Butler (0-1), Lorcan Breen; Joe Devlin, John Harpur, Cathal Cummins (0-6, 5 frees); Mikey Gaynor, Jack Faragher, James McCormack. Subs. – Podge Leacy (0-1) for Gaynor, David Currid for Faragher, Eddie Dermody for Walsh.
Referee: Bob Treacy (Clongeen).