Craanford claim county title
Stout defending by Gorey District men foils Adamstown
Just three points separated the sides at the end, but Craanford put in a dominant performance to beat Adamstown and take the Junior 'B' hurling championship title at St. Patrick's Park on Saturday.
Craanford 0-14 Adamstown 2-5
The New Ross District side bookended the game with Shane Bradley goals, but in between they were outscored by 0-14 to 0-5 and that is a more realistic reflection of the gulf between the sides.
Apart from scorers Bradley and John Connors, Adamstown simply didn't get enough out of their attack. Craanford deserve credit for that, and they have an experienced side, many of whom have fairly recent experience in the club's first team.
They defended superbly. Jack Kenny was the epitome of that showing, marking the dangerous Connors impeccably. But around the young full-back everyone performed to a high standard, creating a defensive wall that their opponents failed to blow down.
Craanford almost had the fillip of an early goal. Inside a minute Ger Lyons' long free fell to Jamesie Nolan but his pull was saved by Paul Cooper.
The net did bulge at the other end when Cooper's ball rode the helping breeze before eventually falling for Bradley to sweep home.
Cooper made an even better stop from Nolan in the fifth minute, and things looked bleak for the Gorey District champions when Connors added a couple of points to make it 1-2 to nil after just seven minutes.
The 'Ford slowly settled into their rhythm and started to take advantage of their openings. Ger Lyons popped over a free, Nolan pointed, James Redmond was on target from long range, and Cian O'Toole got his name on the scoresheet to leave a point between the sides.
Bradley pointed from just inside the '45 in the 22nd minute but Craanford were level after points from Lyons and James O'Loughlin.
Connors gave his side what would prove to be their final lead, three minutes before the break, but Calvin O'Toole ensured the sides went in at the break deadlocked (0-7 to 1-4).
Bob Flynn flashed a waist-high ball wide shortly after the re-start but his side went ahead for the first time in the 34th minute when Lyons pointed his third free. Connors immediately replied but that was the final time that Adamstown gained parity.
While they began to edge away, with scores from Lyons, Gary Keating and James O'Loughlin, it was far from easy for Craanford. Adamstown battled hard in defence but became indisciplined as wave after wave of attack came their way.
With 13 minutes remaining John Connors won a free 25 metres from goal. With the way the game was going, it was no surprise that the Adamstown full-forward went low with his dead-ball but Craanford saved and scrambled it to safety.
James O'Loughlin, who was inspirational for the victors, scored three consecutive frees to increase the lead to six (0-14 to 1-5) as the game headed into the last few moments. With the full-time whistle only moments away, Adamstown won a late free, just inside their opponents' half.
It was dropped in by Ian Stafford and batted out by Craanford, but only as far as Shane Bradley and he drilled home his second goal.
It mattered little to the final result though as referee Kevin Kehoe blew the full-time whistle once Craanford won the resulting puck-out to began joyous celebrations for the champs and their loyal supporters.
Craanford: Andrew Tighe; Pat Lancaster, Jack Kenny, Michael Lancaster; Mick Shortle, Peter Shortle, Ger Lyons (0-4 frees); James O'Loughlin (0-5, 4 frees), Cian O'Toole (0-1); Gary Keating (capt., 0-1), Peter Kavanagh, James Redmond (0-1); Jamesie Nolan (0-1), Calvin O'Toole (0-1), Bob Flynn. Subs. - Michael Sinnott for Nolan (37), Martin Doyle for Flynn (41), also Seán Lyons, Joe Sinnott, Seán Byrne, William Doyle, Martin Kenny, Thomas Furlong, Hugh Kenny, Mike Morrissey.
Adamstown: Paul Cooper; James Furlong, Colm Boland, Michael Doran; Pat Delaney, Andrew English, Mosey Delaney; James Delaney, Paudge Wickham; Michael Foley, Thomas Furlong, Shane Bradley (2-1); Paudge Kavanagh, John Connors (capt., 0-4, 3 frees), Ian Stafford. Subs. - Mark Dunphy for English, inj. (23), Andrew French for Kavanagh (31), Lee White for Foley (55), Shane White for J. Delaney (55), Foley for Wickham (60+1), also Michael Boland, Donal Cosgrave, Lar Roche, Liam McDonald.
Referee: Kevin Kehoe (Our Lady's Island).