Taghmon ensure derby
Jason Ryan's Taghmon-Camross team left Innovate Wexford Park with more questions than answers despite claiming an eventual one-point victory over Ferns St. Aidan's in their Ashdown Park/Amber Springs Hotels Intermediate football championship semi-final replay on Saturday.
Taghmon-Camross 1-13 Ferns St. Aidan's 2-9
The biggest question of all is whether they are good enough to see off Bannow-Ballymitty in the final, with fresh doubts as to their ability to show consistency over a full 60 minutes.
It was during the opening 30 minutes of this replay that they played some of their best football of the championship, leaving them with a four-point interval lead despite the concession of two goals inside the opening six minutes.
While Ferns failed to build on that dramatic start, they went on to take control of the opening 20 minutes on the resumption, as point by point they reduced the deficit to dramatically draw level (2-8 to 1-11) with just over two minutes of normal time remaining.
They had restricted their opponents to one second-half point up to the 24th minute, a Darren Carty effort, but the south county side finished with two successive points to help them clinch a final spot.
Corner-forward Jonny Dwyer availed of slackness in the opposition defence to crash home goals after two and six minutes, with Ian Carty responding in between with a fine point from play. With Stephen O'Gorman, Seamus McLoughlin, Carty and Eoin Doyle all on target the sides were level (0-6 to 2-0) at the end of the opening quarter.
There were lots of positives to the eventual winners' play following that disastrous start, with Jason Ryan's imprint all over their approach, and a sweeping move out of midfield three minutes into additional time led to Luke Sinnott finishing clinically with a low ground shot to the net, a score that helped his side to a 1-9 to 2-2 interval lead.
There was a dramatic start to the second-half as Ferns pressed forward in the second minute. Taghmon-Camross 'keeper Seán O'Gorman was deemed to have fouled the ball on the ground close to the edge of square, leading to referee Fintan O'Reilly awarding a penalty, but following consultation with his umpire he re-started the game with a throw-in.
It was a really dramatic call but the decision seemed to galvanise Ferns, with points through Paul Morris, John Breen and Patrick Breen gradually reducing the deficit, before a Breen pointed free two minutes from the end brought the sides level (1-11 to 2-8).
Taghmon-Camross had struggled to break the Ferns wall and were regularly turned over, but Seamus McLoughlin eventually settled his side's nerves with an excellent 59th-minute point which was followed by a huge Luke Sinnott point from an acute angle, giving his side a 1-13 to 2-8 lead.
However, Ferns responded with a late surge, resulting in a Paul Morris pointed free, with Taghmon-Camross having to survive a barrage as their opponents sought out a levelling score.
Taghmon-Camross: Seán O'Gorman; Mark O'Gorman, Stephen Stafford, David O'Keeffe; Darren Carty (0-1), Pat Nolan, Darren Hayden; Barry O'Gorman, Stephen O'Gorman (0-3); Eoin Doyle (0-1), Ian Carty (0-3), Páuric O'Gorman; Pierce Doyle (0-1), Seamus McLoughlin (0-3, 2 frees), Luke Sinnott (1-1). Subs. - Michael O'Gorman for Doyle, Shane Doyle for Sinnott, Derek O'Hanlon for Hayden (black card, 63).
Ferns St. Aidan's: Ivan Meegan; Niall Maguire, Pádraig Bolger, Brian O'Neill; Keith Breen, Declan Byrne, Peter Nolan; John Breen (0-4 frees), Patrick Breen (0-1); Paul Morris (0-3, 1 free), Tommy Dwyer, Robert Vickers (0-1); Ryan Nolan, Colm Whelan, Johnny Dwyer (2-0). Subs. - Frank Devereux for Whelan, Eddie Cullen for R. Nolan.
Referee: Fintan O'Reilly (Kilmore).