Ferns turn on the style
Ferns St Aidan's 2-15 Adamstown1-8
Anyone who thought that Ferns had given up on this year's title race must think against as they turned in a sparkling display to shock highly-fancied Adamstown in this crucial Amber Springs and Ashdown Park Round 5 Group A Intermediate football championship game at St. Patrick's Park, Enniscorthy, on Friday evening last.
With Ian Byrne celebrating his 25th birthday and marking his final game before his return to Dubai yesterday (Monday), the Ferns players chose the occasion to turn in their best display of the championship campaign to date, with the two points edging them through to a quarter-final meeting with St. Mary's (Maudlintown), while for Adamstown they made a shock exit from the title race having gone into the game as short odds favourites particularly following their convincing victory over St. Fintan's in their fourth round game.
It didn't look that promising for Ferns going into this game, given their concentration on hurling, but they dominated this game right through, despite trailing 1-1 to 0-2, at the end of the opening quarter, the Adamstown goal coming through Sean Barden after Liam Stafford's initial effort had been blocked, a goal against the run of play as Ferns had most of the possession.
Ferns soon began to translate that possession into scores with a succession of points through Jonathan Dwyer, a Ryan Nolan, free, and John Breen, with Nolan finding the net after twenty one minutes with a delicate flick of the ball past advancing keeper Alan Bradley.
Five minutes before the break it was Nolan who picked out Chris O'Connor with a superb crossfield ball leaving the corner-forward to shoot across goal into the opposite corner of the net, a goal that helped his side to a 2-8 to 1-1 interval lead.
After Peter Nolan and Conor Hickey, free, had exchanged opening second half points, it was Ferns who retained the initiative adding points through O'Connor and Nolan, while two Conor Hickey frees and a Michael Furlong effort giving Adamstown brief hope.
But it was to be brief as Ferns responded with points from O'Connor, Nolan and James Breen, but just to sum up a dismal evening for Adamstown, Conor Hickey had his penalty brilliantly saved by keeper Ivan Meegan, leaving Ferns to run out the most comfortable of winners.
Ferns St. Aidan's: Ivan Meegan (0-1 free); Anthony Dwyer, Padraig Bolger, Brian O'Neill; Jonathan Dwyer, James Tonks, Peter Nolan (0-1); Patrick Breen (0-1), John Breen (0-2); Paul Morris (0-1), Tommy Dwyer, Derek Thorpe; Chris O'Connors (1-3), Ian Byrne (0-1), Ryan Nolan (1-5, 0-3 frees). Sub: Eoin Murphy for Peter Nolan.
Adamstown: Alan Bradley; Johnny Connors, P J Carroll, James Breen (0-1); Sean Barden (1-0), Michael Furlong (0-1), Lorcan French; Tony French, Barry Power; Liam Stafford, Eric Bradley, Shane White; Conor Hickey (0-4 frees), Paudie Barden, Ian White (0-1). Subs: Shane O'Gorman for Lorcan French; Harry Cosgrave (0-1 free) for Ian White; James Delaney for Power.
Referee: Justin Heffernan (Blackwater).