Doran switch does the trick
Craanford come from behind to see off OLI/Fintan’s
THE SWITCH of Eamonn Doran from defence to attack for the second 30 minutes proved decisive as it helped Cranford to an eventual seven-point victory over Our Lady’s Island/St. Fintan’s in this Wexford People Under-17 hurling Division 1 shield final at St. Patrick’s Park, Enniscorthy.
The eventual winners were trailing by four points at the interval, but when Doran assumed a centre-forward role for the second period when his side were wind assisted, it changed the whole course of the game.
Indeed, within three minutes of the re-start he came up with a goal and a point to bring the sides level.
It was another example of a timely move as it helped Craanford regain the initiative and left no way back for the south county side who, despite their best efforts, could only manage one second-half point.
Craanford, playing into the wind, were quickly into the game with two pointed frees from Jack Fleming within three minutes.
After Jack O’Leary had opened his side’s account with a long-range point, the north county team struck back for a fifth-minute goal, as full-forward Aidan Kavanagh got an overhead flick to a lobbing Pat Doyle ball to find the roof of the net, giving his side a 1-2 to 0-1 lead.
It was a case of the Island/ Fintan’s having to dig deep, particularly as they were wind assisted.
Ben Popplewell, Liam Crowley, Shane Pettit and Jack O’Leary all responded with points to leave the sides on level terms (1-4 to 0-7) after 20 minutes.
Five minutes before the interval the Wexford District side got a major break.
After centre-forward Shane Pettit had worked his way through the middle, his shot for goal was excel- lently saved by Aodán Whitty, but corner-forward Tommy Wickham was alert to finish the breaking ball to the net, a score that eventually helped his side to a 1-9 to 1-5 interval lead.
Craanford had the strong breeze on the resumption and they quickly utilised this to their advantage.
Doran pointed in his first piece of action, while in the 33rd minute he powered through the centre to finish with a low shot to the net, leaving the sides level (2-6 to 1-9).
Their opponents kept on battling, but there were coming under incessant presure which led to another Craanford goal on 36 minutes from the impressive Aidan Kavanagh at full-forward, giving his side a 3-6 to 1-9 lead.
Nine minutes into the second-half the losers had their solitary score after the break from a Liam Crowley pointed free, but there was to be no way back.
Their finishing thereafter was wayward, both from frees and play, with their misses including a Jack O’Leary penalty, which he put to the wrong side of the post.
While the losers tried to respond, the better-balanced Craanford deservedly held out for victory.
Craanford: Aodán Whitty; Maurice Tobin, Eamonn Doran (1-3, 0-1 free), James Doyle; Ciarán McLoughlin, Kevin Hyland, Pádraig Donohoe; Pat Doyle, Patrick Kavanagh; Jack Fleming (0-6 frees), Joseph Conroy (0-1), Pádraig Tobin; Brendan Tobin, Aidan Kavanagh (2-1), Odhran Kelly. Subs. - Brendan Greene for Kelly, Ciarán Lynch for B. Tobin, also Ted Kenny, Dean Wadding.
Our Lady’s Island/St. Fintan’s: Liam Kelly; Dan Kelly, James Newport, Mickey Cullen; Leigh Newport, Jack O’Leary (0-4, 2 frees, 1 ’65), Seán O’Reilly; Jason Devereux, Liam Crowley (0-4, 3 frees, 1 ’65); Johnny Kelly, Shane Pettit (0-1), Adam Mullins; Kyle Rankin, Ben Popplewell (0-1), Tommy Wickham (1-0). Subs. - Aaron Busher for Wickham, Oisín Meyler for Kelly, also James O’Leary, Seán Donovan, Dan Devereux, Quinlan Kelly, Cillian Doyle.
Referee: Colm O’Flaherty (Blackrock, Cork).
Craanford show their delight after clinching the shield title.
Pat Doyle of Craanford with Brendan Furlong (People Newspapers) and Bobby Goff (Coaching Officer).
The Our Lady’s Island/St. Fintan’s crew before the final.
Aidan Kavanagh racing goalwards for Craanford.
Jack O’Leary (OLI/St. Fintan’s) beats Eamonn Doran to the ball.