Doyle saves day for Craanford

Classy Whitty leads Clough­bawn charge in drawn fi­nal

Wexford People - - SPORT - BRIAN CARTY in St. Pa­trick’s Park

FOR LONG pas­sages it looked like the class of Bob Whitty was go­ing to guide Clough­bawn to the Green­star Un­der-21 hurl­ing Roinn 1 cham­pi­onship ti­tle.

His unerring ac­cu­racy from frees, and oc­ca­sional majesty from play, had Craanford star­ing down the bar­rel of a gun as the Castle­boro lads led by 0-12 to 0-8 ap­proach­ing the fi­nal quar­ter of Satur­day’s county fi­nal in St. Pa­trick’s Park, En­nis­cor­thy.

But Craanford then awoke from their stu­por to outscore their op­po­nents by 0-7 to 0-3 be­fore the end to ul­ti­mately force a re­play that is sure to at­tract an even big­ger crowd.

Their come­back be­gan when three frees from cap­tain Kevin Poole sand­wiched Ol­lie Do­ran pounc­ing on a rare Clough­bawn mis­take to make it 0-12 apiece with seven min­utes left.

Whitty (free) nudged Clough­bawn back ahead two min­utes later, only for Eoin Doyle to pop up with the equal­isier soon af­ter.

Those in at­ten­dance were at the edge of their seats now as any­thing was pos­si­ble in an en­thralling con­clu­sion, but a push on Whitty al­lowed the sharp­shooter to con­vert his tenth free as Clough­bawn led for the penul­ti­mate time (0-14 to 0-13).

And when the clock ticked into in­jury-time, Ol­lie Do­ran pro­duced an ab­so­lutely out­stand­ing lev­eller on the run whilst hug­ging the stand side­line.

Whitty looked to have the fi­nal say when his quickly taken side­line cut lo­cated wing-back Corey Bol­ger iso­lated on the far wing to point from dis­tance.

How­ever, Eoin Doyle proved to be the Craanford hero when he lev­elled mat­ters for the third and fi­nal time well into the third minute of in­jury-time as two highly-com­mit­ted sides must do bat­tle again.

In truth, the first-half was far re­moved from the drama that suc­ceeded it, as spo­radic flash-points across the field were un­for­tu­nate side-shows to a low-key open­ing quar­ter.

One such in­ci­dent yielded yel­low cards for Jim Kenny and Kyle Mur­phy early on, al­though Whitty did open the scor­ing with a point from the far wing af­ter 42 sec­onds.

The same player also caught a Craanford puck-out be­fore re­turn­ing it over the bar with in­ter­est, while his brace of frees had his side 0-4 to 0-1 to the good af­ter six min­utes.

James Smyth was a stand-out per­former at the other end for the north county men, and he demon­strated his skill-set when per­fectly con­trol­ling Poole’s pass on his hurl be­fore fir­ing over for a neat score on 17 min­utes which brought Craanford to within 0-5 to 0-3.

That Smyth pearler was the only point from play for eleven min­utes, a spell ended when Robert Kin­sella’s boom­ing clear­ance from his own half sailed all the way over to bring up the in­ter­val score of 0-9 to 0-5.

In be­tween, Craanford ceded ground by con­ced­ing three avoid­able frees, all duly taken by Whitty, with one moved closer due to dis­sent, and another aris­ing from an il­le­gal pick-up.

Craanford also brought their first-half wide count to seven with a cou­ple of mis-cues be­fore the break. They fin­ished with a tally of 13 in that col­umn, but it is cer­tainly a fix­able prob­lem ahead of the re­newal.

Nev­er­the­less, a ‘65 from Do­ran and a de­served point from Martin Doyle af­ter the re-start kept them in touch, al­though Bol­ger served fore­warn­ing of what was to come from him later with a long-range point on 39 min­utes (0-11 to 0-7).

The sides’ re­spec­tive top scor­ers also shared a point apiece as that four-point cush­ion re­mained, and there was lit­tle sign of the drama to come as the in­ac­cu­racy seemed to seep into Craanford’s psy­che again with three quick-fire rash wides. But their un­ques­tion­able never-say-die at­ti­tude shone through there­after as they plucked a share of the spoils from the em­bers.

Craanford: An­drew Tighe; Jack Keogh, Pat Kenny, Páraic Red­mond; James Red­mond, Wil­liam Conroy, Jim Kenny; Eoin Doyle (0-2), Ol­lie Do­ran (0-3, 1 ‘65); Tony Ka­vanagh, Martin Doyle (0-1), James Smyth (0-2); Thomas Fur­long, Kevin Poole (capt., 0-7, 6 frees), Cian O’Toole. Subs. - Martin Kenny for Fur­long, inj. (22), Stu­art Byrne for Keogh (52), also Luke Byrne, Seán Byrne, Pat Doyle, Stephen Greene.

Clough­bawn: Seán Keat­ing; James Flood, Jack Wick­ham, Gareth Mur­phy; Corey Bol­ger (0-2), James Dempsey, Shane Flood, Con­nal Flood, Shane Greene; Kyle Mur­phy, Bob Whitty (0-12, 10 frees), Robert Kin­sella (capt., 0-1); Daniel Dempsey, Colin Mur­phy, Davy Casserly. Subs. - Ste­vie Casserly for D. Casserly (HT), Dar­ragh O’Connor for Greene, inj. (48), Jack Flem­ing for K. Mur­phy (56), also Michael Ka­vanagh, James Boland, Johnny Con­nors, Billy Wick­ham.

Ref­eree: Philip Mur­phy (Faythe Har­ri­ers).

The Craanford panel be­fore Satur­day’s drawn Green­star Un­der-21 hurl­ing Roinn 1 cham­pi­onship de­cider.

The Clough­bawn squad prior to Satur­day’s Green­star Un­der-21 hurl­ing Roinn 1 cham­pi­onship fi­nal in St. Pa­trick’s Park, En­nis­cor­thy.

Bob Whitty of Clough­bawn try­ing to burst through the tackle of Craanford’s Wil­liam Conroy.

Clough­bawn cap­tain Robert Kin­sella un­der pres­sure from Craanford duo Eoin and Martin Doyle.

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