Crossabeg-Ballymurn confidently cantered into the final of the Greenstar Under-21 hurling Premier championship with a dominant display against neighbours Oulart-The Ballagh in Ballymurn on Tuesday.
Crossabeg-Ballymurn 1-19 Oulart-The Ballagh 1-8
Rock-solid centre-back Pádraig Foley was again a commanding figure, but he was aided by a strong supporting cast and was expertly assisted by the entire defence, who hunted in packs to ensure Oulart-The Ballagh could never get a foothold.
The hosts weren't found wanting at the other end of the park either with the superb half-forward line of Conor Devereux, Sam Kelly and the lively Oisín Foley contributing 1-11 of their handsome tally.
Impressive left half-forward Oisín Foley got Crossabeg-Ballymurn off to a flyer when he found the back of net after just 30 seconds, racing through on goal as the Oulart-The Ballagh defence parted like the Red Sea before applying a clinical finish.
Sam Kelly picked up where he had left off in the second-half of the quarter-final by firing over three points from play in the first seven minutes, the third an absolute peach from the halfway line.
Corner-forward Luke Redmond also split the posts from an acute angle as the home side raced into a 1-4 to 0-1 advantage, with Murtha Doyle opening the Oulart-The Ballagh account.
A couple of quick-fire points from corner-forward Cormac Finn reduced the deficit to four (1-4 to 0-3), but Crossabeg-Ballymurn found their stride again and pulled away to lead by a seemingly unassailable 1-14 to 0-5 at the interval.
The men in green and white shot an impressive array of points with stand-out scores coming from Conor Devereux from close to the sideline and Oisín Foley, who gracefully plucked the ball from the air, before turning and sending the sliothar over the black spot, while three trademark long-range frees from Pádraig Foley saw them finish the half on a high.
Playing against the stiff breeze in the second-half, Crossabeg-Ballymurn were never going to hit the same heights but they were always in control against a frustrated Oulart-The Ballagh outfit.
Even a Martin Og Storey goal midway through the half, when he rattled the back of the net following a rare lapse in the Crossabeg-Ballymurn defence, didn't stir any panic in their ranks, and a great point from substitute Paddy Devereux two minutes later illustrated their strong resolve.
They copper-fastened their superiority with a couple of Sam Kelly frees in the final ten minutes and will now fancy their chances of the lifting the silverware when they take on Glynn-Barntown in an intriguing local derby final.
Crossabeg-Ballymurn: Noel Scallan; Martin Redmond, Paul Larrissy, Cian Lambert; Cormac O'Rourke, Pádraig Foley (0-4, 3 frees), David Kehoe; Ronan Devereux (0-2), Bill Eviston; Conor Devereux (0-2), Sam Kelly (0-6, 3 frees), Oisín Foley (1-3); Nicholas Murphy, Andy Butler, Luke Redmond (0-1). Subs. - Paddy Devereux (0-1) for Murphy, Darragh Cummins for O. Foley (temp.), Darragh Cummins for Redmond, Shane Whelan for O. Foley.
Oulart-The Ballagh: Cathal Sinnott; Seán Murphy, Anthony Roche, Kevin Sinnott; Conor Lawless, Kevin Sheridan, David Rossiter; Billy Dunne (0-2 frees), Darragh Brennan; Barry Leacy (0-1), Peter Sutton (0-1), Murtha Doyle (0-1), Cormac Finn (0-2), Martin Og Storey (1-0), Seán McCarthy. Subs. - Dean Fortune for Brennan, Darragh Nimmo (0-1) for McCarthy, Cathal Kenny for Leacy, Craig Davitt for Finn.
Referee: Pat Kehoe (Rathgarogue-Cushinstown).