Murray magic for Craanford
Late point sinks Ballygarrett
Pat Murray completed an almost unfathomable Craanford comeback with a point in injury-time as Ballygarrett crashed out of the Courtyard Ferns Intermediate Hurling Championship in Monamolin on Saturday afternoon last.
Craanford 3-17 Ballygarrett 2-19
The 'ford midfielder nabbed the ball when he looked second favourite to win it and sent over a perfect stroke from 45 metres out on the right wing as his side hit back to win from eleven points down in the final quarter.
There was pretty much no indication of what was to follow when the mercurial Jack Hobbs put Ballygarrett 2-17 to 0-12 ahead with his eighth point of the afternoon in the 45th minute.
Craanford were flat, they had been since Ollie Doran put them 0-8 to 0-7 ahead in the 19th minute.
Up to that point it was a cracking, end to end contest. Kevin Poole, who finished with 1-11 himself, scored six of those minors, Doran the other two.
But at the other end Ballygarrett weren't working quite as hard for their scores and it was no surprise when they put a run together.
They scored the last 1-4 of the half, Hobbs picked off a trio of points but it was Cormac Moore's major, a tidy finish past Derek Finn from Eoin Corcoran's long-ball forward, that gave their club a 1-11 to 0-8 interval lead.
Things continued to conspire against Craanford early in the second half.
A questionable free against them for an illegal hand-pass cost them one score while an erroneous wide call on a Poole dead-ball that started on the upright and curled inside took away another.
A side renowned for their fight looked to be heading out with a whimper when Ballygarrett went from Shane Quinn, through Cathal Dunbar and Kevin Jordan before ending with Eoin Corcoran drilling home their second major.
With Dunbar popping up everywhere, scoring a lineball as well as assisting several Hobbs overs, Ballygarrett moved eleven clear heading into the final quarter. The fightback started when Kevin Poole beat Quinn and a crowded goalline with a rasping low twenty metre free.
The fact that Hobbs immediately responded with his ninth point probably suggest his side weren't panicking, leading 2-18 to 1-12 but, if anything, their tempo and intensity was starting to wane just as their opponents ratcheted up a level.
Points from substitutes James Smyth and Shane Kavanagh cut the deficit to seven. Then Matthew Nolan latched onto Doran's long ball, broke a tackle and forced his shot past Quinn to make it 2-18 to 2-14.
Colm Kennelly hit Ballygarrett's last point in the 53th minute but it was hardly a settler. From the puck-out, Niall Berney and Murray were involved in releasing Doran, he fed John Fleming and the Craanford attacker buried his finish.
Two Poole frees drew his side level as the game ticked into added-time. Murray put Craanford ahead but there was still more drama. Stephen Redmond pulled a free from inside his own '65 narrowly wide, it was followed by Smyth missing the target at the other end.
In the fourth minute of added time Redmond again had a crack at levelling the game and sending it to extra-time but his effort from way out on the right wing faded wide leaving Craanford to celebrate a spot in the last four.
Craanford: Derek Finn; James Byrne, Pat Kenny, Tony Kavanagh; Joe Berney, Mick Lyons, Michael O'Loughlin; Pat Murray (0-1), Niall Berney (capt); Ollie Doran (0-2), Kevin Poole (1-11, 1-10 frees), Matthew Nolan (1-0); John Fleming (1-0), Des Kavanagh, John Lancaster. Subs. - William Conroy for Byrne (31), James Smyth (0-1) for Kavangh (31), Shane Kavanagh (0-2) for Lancaster (31).
Ballygarrett: Shane Quinn; Tom Sinnott, Eddie Redmond, Gavin Walker; Pat Naughter (0-1), Stephen Redmond (0-2 frees), Darren Morris; Evan Dunbar, Colm Kennelly (0-2); Eoin Corcoran (1-0), Kevin Jordan (0-1), Jimmy Murphy (0-1); Cormac Moore (1-1), Cathal Dunbar (0-2, 1 lineball), Jack Hobbs (capt, 0-9, 5 frees). Subs. - John Doyle for Murphy (39).
Referee: Dan Crosby (Kilmore).