Craan­ford boost their prospects

New Ross Standard - - SPORT - BREN­DAN FUR­LONG


A STIR­RING sec­ond-half per­or­mance from Craan­ford boosted their prospects of quar­ter-fi­nal qual­i­fi­ca­tion as they saw off Ballygarrett with five points to spare in this The Court­yard Ferns In­ter­me­di­ate hurl­ing cham­pi­onship Group A game in Mon­amolin on Sun­day.

Craan­ford had strug­gled to bring any co­he­sion to their game through the open­ing 30 min­utes, which was sur­pris­ing given the im­por­tance of the points on of­fer.

But what­ever man­ager Neil O’Lough­lin said to his charges dur­ing the half-time break, they were a trans­formed side on the re­sump­tion as they took the ini­tia­tive with some qual­ity play and scor­ing.

This was a vic­tory they achieved with 13 play­ers as they had two men dis­missed through the sec­ond-half.

For Ballygarrett, top of the ta­ble be­fore­hand, the game al­ways proved a strug­gle, so much so that they were un­able to utilise their nu­mer­i­cal ad­van­tage.

Their at­tack failed to fire, while the de­fence could not cope with the qual­ity sec­ond-half fin­ish­ing of their op­po­nents.

The open­ing 30 min­utes de­vel­oped into a shoot-out be­tween Ol­lie Do­ran and Jack Hobbs, although Ballygarrett mid­fielder Eoin Cor­cor­can did chip in with three fine long-range points. Th­ese were the main talking points of an er­ratic open­ing half as Craan­ford led by 0-8 to 0-7 at the in­ter­val.

The open­ing five min­utes on the re­sump­tion saw Craan­ford as­sume con­trol.

Ol­lie Do­ran and Kevin Poole shot over quick-fire points, be­fore Matthew Nolan goaled in the 35th minute to give his side a 1-11 to 0-7 lead.

Ballygarrett had to wait un­til the 38th minute for their open­ing sec­ond-half score, a Jack Hobbs pointed free, while two min­utes later Craan­ford wing-back Niall Ber­ney was sent-off on a yel­low card fol­lowed by red for a high tackle, leav­ing Hobbs to point the re­sult­ing free.

But the Craan­ford re­sponse was swift, with Nolan fir­ing over a fine long-range point fol­lowed by ef­forts from Ger Lyons and Nolan once again, help­ing his side stretch into a 1-14 to 0-9 lead.

While Ballygarrett tried des­per­ately to get them­selves back into the game, they had al­lowed the early ini­tia­tive to slip away as they were un­able to find a way back, even when their op­po­nents were re­duced to 13 play­ers when Peter Ka­vanagh saw red for a reck­less chal­lenge.

A fas­ci­nat­ing last round is now in store in this group, with only two points di­vid­ing top from bot­tom at the mo­ment, and four of the six teams locked on four points.

It means that all teams have plenty to still play for.

Craan­ford: Derek Finn; Michael O’Lough­lin, Pat Kenny, Joe Ber­ney; Niall Ber­ney, Pa­trick Mur­ray, Michael Lyons; James O’Lough­lin, Wil­liam Con­roy; Ger Lyons (0-2), Peter Ka­vanagh, Ol­lie Do­ran (0-5); Kevin Poole (0-6, 4 frees), Matthew Nolan (1-2), James Smyth. Subs. - Jame­sie Nolan for Smyth, Tony Ka­vanagh (0-2) for J. Ber­ney.

Ballygarrett: Shane Quinn; Ed­die Red­mond, John Doyle, Ai­dan Mur­phy; Dar­ren Mor­ris, Stephen Red­mond (0-1 free), Tom Sin­nott; Eoin Cor­co­ran (0-4), Colm Ken­nelly; Cathal Dun­bar, Sea­mus Doyle, Kevin Jor­dan; Jimmy Mur­phy, Colm Cos­grave, Jack Hobbs (1-7, 0-7 frees). Subs. - Pa­trick Flem­ing for Cos­grave, Harry Byrne for S. Doyle.

Ref­eree: Mick Lani­gan (Shel­maliers).

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