Derby spoils for Craanford

Thirteen men thwart Gorey

Dean Goodison

Published 11/06/2016 | 00:00

James Byrne of Craanford has Peter Travers (Naomh Eanna) breathing down his neck
James Byrne of Craanford has Peter Travers (Naomh Eanna) breathing down his neck
Niall Berney of Craanford races away from Dara McDonald

Thirteen-man Craanford clawed back a dramatic victory from the jaws of defeat in Bellefield on Saturday to muddy the fight for quarter-final places in Group A of the Joyces Expert Intermediate 'A' football championship.

Craanford 2-8 Naomh Eanna 1-8

When Jack Kenny was dismissed for foul and abusive language in the 57th minute, Craanford were two players short, trailing by 1-8 to 1-6 and looking set to spiral to their third consecutive defeat in this campaign.

However, the second red card of the afternoon seemed to ignite the 'Ford. Having scored just one point in the previous 34 minutes, Stevie Greene sailed over a lovely effort from the right of the posts in the final minute of normal time.

Seconds later Craanford broke again. Niall Berney and Ollie Doran combined to find Michael Lyons on the overlap. Undeterred by strong defending, Lyons rode the tackle and got enough space to poke a shot that crept, almost in slow motion, inside Kenneth Byrne's right-hand post.

Now two up (2-7 to 1-8), Craanford had all the momentum. Michael O'Loughlin missed the target with an injury-time pot-shot but Doran won the resulting kick-out, and fed Des Kavanagh on the right wing who kicked the clinching point to fire his club right back into contention for a last eight spot.

Earlier, Craanford looked like the side who needed a win to book a quarter-final spot. They played some superb football, illuminated by the opening goal in the 18th minute when Doran's deflected pass flew to Niall Berney and he drilled high to the Gorey net.

In the 28th minute, William Conroy picked up his second yellow card and the resulting red. Naomh Eanna, boosted by the turn of events, quickly responded to their 1-5 to 0-2 deficit.

They netted just before the interval when Pádraig Doyle's long ball was flicked into Peter Travers' path by Kevin Harrington. The Gorey captain was left one-on-one with Bob Flynn and he smashed high past the Craanford stopper to leave two between the sides (1-5 to 1-3) at half-time.

Just seconds before the third quarter ended, Greene scored the first point of the half. However, Gorey kicked five on the bounce to take the lead before the late drama saw Craanford nab the win to give them strong claims for a quarter-final place with two games remaining.

Craanford: Bob Flynn; Pat Kenny, William Conroy, Brendan Fox; Michael O'Loughlin, James Byrne, Joe Berney; Des Kavanagh (0-2), Matthew Nolan (0-1); Michael Lyons (1-0), Pat Murray (0-2), Niall Berney (1-0); Ollie Doran, Stevie Greene (0-3, 2 frees), John Fleming. Sub. - Jack Kenny for Nolan (44).

Naomh Eanna: Kenneth Byrne; John Stafford, Simon Doran, Seamus O'Donnell; Conor Hughes, Tom Stafford, Kevin Harrington; John O'Brien (Ramsfort), Dara McDonald; Gearóid Cullen, Pádraig Doyle (0-1), Peter Travers (capt., 1-1); William Cullen (0-2, 1 free), David O'Brien (0-4, 2 frees), Seán Doyle. Sub. - Darragh Cullen for Hughes, inj. (18).

Referee: Derek Murphy (St. Martin's).

Wexford People

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