Adamstown finish on a high
Craanford concede critical second goal near the end
Adamstown produced a powerful finish to overcome a battling Craanford outfit with seven points to spare in The Courtyard Ferns Intermediate hurling championship semi-final at Innovate Wexford Park on Saturday.
Adamstown 2-17 Craanford 1-13
After a close and hard-fought first-half which ended with the sides level, little still separated them throughout the third quarter.
With four minutes of normal time left just two points divided the teams, but Adamstown finished with a real flourish, adding 1-2 to their opponents' solitary point as they secured a final spot against Oylegate-Glenbrien.
The manner in which Adamstown fashioned out a victory suggests they will provide formidable opposition for their final opponents as their game reflects their famed spirit, coupled with many quality hurlers, factors that should stand to them on the big occasion.
They knew from the outset they were in a battle, but the manner in which they fashioned out an eventual seven-point victory was hugely impressive as they looked like a side determined on making a quick return back to Senior ranks after being relegated in 2014.
From the outset Craanford gave their all but they looked a side in trouble once they fell three points adrift entering the closing eight minutes as they lacked the scoring power to haul their opponents back in.
As a result they were unable to respond to the late Adamstown charge and with it went their chance of a final appearance, but they still can take much credit from an impressive championship campaign.
Considering how much depended on the result, both sides started at a lightning pace. The hurling was of a high quality and, coupled with the passion and direct style of play of both sides, one was treated to a most entertaining opening 30 minutes as the scoring was fast and furious.
With Shane O'Gorman commanding at centre-back into the breeze, Adamstown looked a composed outfit, but still Craanford had the three opening scores, courtesy of points from Kevin Poole ('65 and free) and James Smyth, to hold a 0-3 to nil lead after seven minutes.
With O'Gorman continuing to get in the clearances, one of his mammoth efforts led to Tony French flicking to the net after nine minutes to bring the sides level (0-3 to 1-0).
Points from John and Lorcan French edged Adamstown into a two-point lead, but with the sides continuing to trade scores, Craanford stormed back ahead with a rather fortuitous goal.
Adamstown 'keeper Paul Delaney advance to the 14-metre line to deal with a long delivery, but when seemingly having the situation under control he somehow managed to lose possession, leaving Ollie Doran to tap the ball into an unguarded goal to give his side a 1-5 to 1-3 lead after 16 minutes.
The Adamstown response was points from Tony French, Johnny Connors and the dominant Michael Furlong in midfield to regain the lead (1-6 to 1-5), but with the sides continuing to trade points they went in level (1-9 each) at the interval.
The tempo of the game dropped somewhat on the resumption as the sides traded opening points through Kevin Poole and Lorcan French frees.
With Adamstown going on to hit three unanswered points through Tomás Harrington, Johnny Connors and Lorcan French, they stretched into a 1-13 to 1-10 lead after 47 minutes.
Two points from Kevin Poole frees, with John French having one in between, left two separating the sides (1-14 to 1-12) with just four minutes remaining.
However, a very focused Adamstown remained in control, stretching into a three-point lead through a Lorcan French pointed '65, before one minute into additional time Liam Stafford shot to the net from an acute angle, with a Lorcan French pointed free closing out the scoring.
Adamstown: Paul Delaney; Ian Bradley, M.J. Cooper, Brendan Furlong; P.J. Carroll, Shane O'Gorman (0-1), Vinny Doheny; Michael Furlong (0-2), Johnny Connors (0-3); Liam Stafford (1-0), Lorcan French (0-6, 4 frees, 1 '65), John French (0-2); Tony French (1-1), Barry Power, James Breen (0-1). Subs. - Paudie Barden for T. French (HT), Tomás Harrington (0-1) for Power (43).
Craanford: Derek Finn; Tony Kavanagh, Pat Kenny, Joe Berney; Michael O'Loughlin, William Conroy, Mick Lyons; Pat Murray (0-1), Niall Berney; Ollie Doran (1-1), Kevin Poole (0-7, 6 frees, 1 '65), James Smyth (0-2); Shane Kavanagh (0-1), Matthew Nolan (0-1), John Fleming. Sub. - Des Kavanagh for Fleming (50).
Referee: Dan Crosby (Kilmore).