Poole points way for Craanford
Craanford 1-10 Ferns St. Aidan's 1-8
The assured dead-ball striking of Kevin Poole proved decisive as his three frees in the last five minutes steered Craanford to the Greenstar Gorey District Under-21 hurling Roinn 1 championship final after a 1-10 to 1-8 victory on saturated home soil on Sunday.
The hosts got off to a promising start when James Smyth did well to keep in Ollie Doran's miscued delivery and off-loaded to Cian O'Toole, who goaled with conviction on four minutes.
Chris Turner (free) and Peter O'Toole responded for Ferns before Doran unleashed his inner Austin Gleeson with a couple of outstanding individual efforts from distance from either wing as Craanford built a 1-3 to 0-3 lead at the break.
Doran maintained his merry way with the first point after the break too, while Turner and Poole traded frees as the score stood at 1-5 to 0-4 after 36 minutes.
Calvin O'Toole stretched the gap to five points soon after, while the excellent Eoin Murphy picked off the second point of his personal tally of 1-3 for Ferns on 40 minutes.
The dynamic midfielder also saw Ferns' first real goal chance deflected out for a successful '65 from Turner.
However, the former soon fared better to give his side a fighting chance eleven minutes from time when he flashed to the net after his initial effort was kept out (1-7 to 1-6).
But their discipline let them down at the other end as Poole held his nerve from three late frees.
Ferns pushed for parity thereafter but found the victors' defence a difficult nut to crack, with Pat Kenny particularly defiant, as Craanford advanced to the decider opposite their Minor partners Liam Mellows.
Craanford: Andrew Tighe; Jack Keogh, Pat Kenny, Patrick Redmond; Jim Redmond, William Conroy, Eoin Doyle; Ollie Doran (0-3), Tommy Kavanagh; Jim Kenny, Kevin Poole (0-5 frees), Martin Doyle; Cian O'Toole (1-1), James Smyth (0-1), Stuart Byrne. Sub. - Thomas Furlong for Keogh.
Ferns St. Aidan's: James Lawlor; Patrick O'Hagan, Jack O'Hagan, Brian O'Neill; Niall Murphy, Conor Scallan, P.J. O'Neill; Peter O'Toole (0-1), Eoin Murphy (1-3); Ben Cowman, Jeff Tobin, Ivan Meegan; Conor Jordan, Chris Turner (0-4, 3 frees, 1 '65), Ciarán Doran.
Referee: David Owens (Askamore).