Pettit goal seals the deal
It was not until six minutes from the end that a Jack Pettit goal helped secure an eventual three-point victory for St. Fintan's over a battling HWH-Bunclody outfit in this Ashdown Park/Amber Springs Hotels Intermediate football championship Group B game at Innovate Wexford Park on Sunday.
St.Fintan's 1-9 HWH-Bunclody 0-9
St. Fintan's, having led by one point at half-time, raced into a three-point lead in the third quarter but came under intense pressure through the closing 15 minutes, eventually surviving to take the two points with the help of Pettit's late goal.
The game was not without its controversy, with many strange refereeing decisions by Brian O'Leary incurring the wrath of both players and supporters, none more so than his controversial penalty call twelve minutes from the end.
Donal Shanley of St. Fintan's, having won a breaking ball, appeared to lay back into the covering defenders before falling to ground looking untouched. Amazingly though, the man in charge - from some distance - checked the players' position as to where the foul occurred before waving his two arms and pointing to the penalty spot.
It was a terrible call, but justice was done when reserve 'keeper Patrick Kavanagh got down low and quickly to his left to save Conor Sinnott's kick, with the ball eventually being cleared to safety. It was one of many controversial and inconsistent calls during the course of the 60 minutes.
St. Fintan's opened the game with two quickfire points from a Donal Shanley 30-metre free and Jack Pettit, leaving them leading by 0-2 to nil after five minutes.
After a Keith O'Hara point had opened their opponents' account one minute late, St. Fintan's responded with three unanswered points through two Shanley frees and a Conor Sinnott effort at the end of a sweeping movement through midfield to give their side a 0-5 to 0-1 lead after 17 minutes.
Both sides missed numerous chances before Colm Farrell, who had moved into the attack, executed two fine individual points, while a Bryan O'Hara effort left the minimum separating the sides (0-5 to 0-4) at the interval.
Within one minute of the re-start a Farrell point had the sides level, but St. Fintan's struck back for four points in a row through Shane Sinnott, Kevin Day, Shanley (free) and Pádraig Doyle, before a Peter Atkinson pointed free helped lift the siege.
Further points from Atkinson (free) and Patrick Kavanagh ('45) left the minimum separating the sides (0-9 to 0-8) at the end of the third quarter.
Then came Pettit's curcial goal six minutes from the end, finishing to the net from close in after his initial effort had been blocked.
While a Colm Farrell point three minutes into additional time left three points separating the sides, St. Fintan's held out for that all-important victory to leave them unbeaten after three rounds.
St. Fintan's: Patrick McDonnell; Adrian Murphy, Frank Staples, Peter Goldsmith; Brendan Hughes, Jim Rossiter, Kevin Day (0-1); Joey Wadding, Pádraig Doyle (0-1); Jack Pettit (1-1), Shane Sinnott (0-1), Donal Shanley (0-4 frees); Conor Sinnott (0-1), Jason Pettit, Tomás Power. Subs. - Fintan Mullins for Rossiter, inj., David Moore for Jason Pettit, Paddy Keane for Moore.
HWH-Bunclody: Patrick Kavanagh (0-1 '45); Billy Kelly, John Atkinson, Enda Slevin; Colm Farrell (0-4), James Moorhead, Páuric Sinnott; Bryan O'Hara (0-1), Conor Kinsella; Conor Crean, Keith O'Hara (0-1), Josh Martin; Jason Cowman, Peter Atkinson (0-2 frees), Martin O'Connor. Sub. - James Fitzgerald for Cowman.
Referee: Brian O'Leary (Crossabeg-Ballymurn).