Ballyea 1-12 St Finbarr's 0-14

Clare champions Ballyea edged into a first Munster Senior Club Hurling final since 2016 when finally holding off an obstinate 14-man St Finbarr's 1-12 to 0-14 in Cusack Park, Ennis on Sunday afternoon.

In a tight contest that saw two points as the biggest advantage over the entire hour, the sides were level for only the fifth time when defender Brandon O’Connell arrowed over the winning point in the 62nd minute.

The Cork side did earn a controversial last-gasp ’65 but belying his previous unerring form, man of the match Ben Cunningham just dragged his attempt wide of the right post.

In hindsight, the tie arguably hinged on an early minute of madness for the Barrs as first Gary Brennan was allowed to waltz through the heart of their defence for a flicked eighth-minute goal before an off the ball altercation between Conor Cahalane and Jack Browne in the next passage of play saw the former red carded at 1-01 to 0-02.

Facing into the conditions, it allowed the Clare champions to keep their noses in front for the remainder of the half as they matched anything that chief marksmen Ben Cunningham and Ben O’Connor could throw at them to hold a 1-05 to 0-07 interval advantage.

The visitors did finally regain parity by the two-thirds mark following a brace of Cunningham frees before firing only his second from play to give the Togher-based side the lead for the first time in 35 minutes at 0-10 to 1-6.

Four-time All-Star Tony Kelly kept the hosts on track, however, as his duel with Cunningham predominantly ensured that the sides would be locked together four more times before Ballyea’s newest county senior representative O’Connell popped up with an additional-time winner.

Ballyea: Barry Coote; Paul Flanagan, Peter Casey, Brandon O’Connell (0-01); Gearoid O’Connell (0-01), Jack Browne, James Murphy; Stan Lineen, Gary Brennan (1-00); Niall Deasy (0-01, 0-01f), Pearse Lillis, Cathal O’Connor; Mossy Gavin (0-03), Tony Kelly (0-05, 0-01f, 0-02’65), Aaron Griffin (0-01)

Subs: Cillian Brennan for Lineen (48), Morgan Garry for O’Connor (53) Martin O’Leary for Gavin (55)

St Finbarr’s: Shane Hurley; Cian Walsh, Jamie Burns, Eoin Keane; Glenn O’Connor, Damien Cahalane, Billy Hennessy; Ben O’Connor (0-02), Ethan Twomey (0-01); Padraig Buggy, Ben Cunningham (0-09, 0-05f), Conor Cahalane; William Buckley, Brian Hayes (0-02), Jack Cahalane

Subs: Sam Cunningham for Buckley (45), Ciaran Doolan for G. O’Connor (56), Eoghan Finn for J. Cahalane (60)

Referee: Michael Kennedy (Tipperary)