Ferns had to work hard for victory
Ferns St. Aidan's were made to work hard for their victory against Craanford in this final round game of the Lodgewood Engineering Intermediate football championship Group A in Farmleigh on Sunday.
Ferns St. Aidan's 2-10 Craanford 1-5
It didn't have the feel of a game with much at stake but a loss for Ferns would have seen them exit the championship in fifth place with other results going the way they did. However, two goals in the opening quarter meant that it was a scenario that never looked likely.
Two Ryan Nolan points already had the victors in the lead when James Tonks' hopeful ball into the goalmouth took a big hop off the hard ground and looped over Bob Flynn for a soft opening goal.
Craanford didn't let the setback kill them off and they replied with three points in a row from Peter Kavanagh, Stevie Greene and James Smyth. However, it was an all too familiar feeling as they conceded their 21st goal in five championship matches when Jonny Dwyer found the netting in the 15th minute.
The half-time lead stood at 2-4 to 0-4 for Ferns but Michael Lyons' punched effort did narrow it by one in the 32nd minute. Three consecutive points looked to seal the victory for Ferns but Craanford responded when Tony Kavanagh and Oliver Doran combined to release substitute John Fleming who goaled five minutes after his introduction.
Alas, that would prove to be Craanford's final score as Ferns dominated possession in the final quarter. Patrick Codd brought his tally to three while Nolan went two better to see their side safely into the quarters.
Ferns will play Clongeen in the last eight should HWH-Bunclody lose to Glynn-Barntown tonight (Tuesday), but any other result will see them facing Bannow-Ballymitty. Craanford, on the other hand, have one last chance to keep their Intermediate status when they meet St. Mary's (Maudlintown) in the relegation final.
Ferns St. Aidan's: Jason Maguire; Brian O'Neill, Declan Byrne, Colm Whelan; Ciarán Roberts, James Tonks (capt., 1-0), Keith Breen; Colm Whelan, Paul Morris; Tommy Dwyer (0-1), Patrick Codd (0-3, 1 '45), John Breen; Tomás Hawkins, Ryan Nolan (0-5, 1 free), Jonathan Dwyer (1-1). Sub. - Aaron Collier for J. Breen, inj. (11).
Craanford: Bob Flynn; Pat Kenny, Pat Murray, Tony Kavanagh; Des Kavanagh, Michael O'Loughlin (capt.), Oliver Doran; Peter Kavanagh (0-1), Niall Berney; Shane Kavanagh, Michael Lyons (0-1), Joe Berney; James Smyth (0-1), Stevie Greene (0-2 frees), Matt Nolan. Subs. - James Byrne for D. Kavanagh (22), John Fleming (1-0) for Nolan (40), William Conroy for S. Kavanagh (44), Ger Lyons for P. Kavanagh (48), Michael Lancaster for Greene (53).
Referee: John Tobin (Geraldine O'Hanrahans).