Joseph's on song
Two goals per half secure success
St Joseph's maintained their winning start to the New Ross Standard Coiste na nOg Under-14 football championship with a hard-fought but deserved victory over hosts Craanford on Monday.
St Joseph's 4-5 Craanford 0-4
The Bishopswater boys grabbed two goals in both halves to see off spirited opponents and start a week in which they had two games in style.
The basis of their success was a strong spine and lively wing play, with their pace and directness eventually proving too much for a resilient Craanford.
With speedy Gary Hall-Roche seemingly making up three yards on the opponents' attackers every time a penetrative ball was attempted by the home side, St. Joseph's easily gained the required possession to build attack after attack.
In midfield Darragh Howell-Murphy played the clever defensive foil to the powerful running of Dale O'Reilly, and before long the visitors had 1-1 on the board courtesy of a thunderous finish by the attacking centre-fielder.
Craanford defended superbly; many a team would have quickly wilted under the pressure but they held out for the most part with some textbook defending and last-gasp blocks.
Eventually they made some headway themselves and notched a brace of points through Eamonn Doran and Alex Kelly.
Leading by 1-1 to 0-2, St. Joseph's started to get a little more joy in their half-forward line with Eoin Kinsella leading a talented trio that included Fionn Paige and Dale McGrath. The centre-forward notched 1-1 himself, with two looping efforts producing differing rewards as the half wore on.
The Gorey District club did come close to goaling when Kyle Turner saved from Doran, but Brendan Tobin did gain possession in the follow-up and tapped over to leave his side 2-2 to 0-3 down at half-time.
Things may have been different had replacement 'keeper O'Reilly not saved Alex Kelly's penalty early in the second-half, and it got worse for Craanford when Jason Kelly smashed home a well-taken major two minutes later (3-2 to 0-3).
Doran responded with a classy point but St. Joseph's dominated thereafter. Kelly and Kinsella registered before Gloudy McKenzie, playing further forward in the second-half, gained possession on the right, cut in on goal and netted.
Hall-Roche rounded off the scoring for his side with a point in the final minute to ensure St. Joseph's remain undefeated in the Division 3 table heading into the second half of the season.
St. Joseph's: Kyle Turner; Mark Shortall, Gloudy McKenzie (1-0), Ryan Warren; Jordan Farrell, Gary Hall-Roche (0-1), Dylan Lawlor; Dale O'Reilly (capt., 1-1), Darragh Howell-Murphy; Fionn Paige, Eoin Kinsella (1-2), Dale McGrath; Jason Kelly (1-1), Cian Carty-McManus, Roy Somers.
Craanford: Pádraig Tobin; Aidan Kavanagh, Joseph Conroy, Ciarán McLoughlin; Jack Curran, Cormac Doyle, Aodhán Whitty; Alex Kelly (0-1), Eamonn Doran (0-2); Kevin Hyland, Owen Byrne (capt.), Patrick Kavanagh; Cormac Redmond, Maurice Tobin, Brendan Tobin (0-1). Subs. - James Doyle for M. Tobin (26), Dean Wadding for Byrne (26), Jack Fleming for Redmond (34), Pádraig Donohoe for B. Tobin (43), Brendan Greene for P. Kavanagh (43), Redmond for Curran (47), also Pat Doyle.
Referee: Paddy Brady (Réalt na Mara).