Naomh Eanna pushed hard by Kilanerin men
Naomh Eanna 1-15 Kilanerin 0-9
Before last Friday night in Craanford, the closest anyone had been to Naomh Eanna at the full-time whistle in this season's Joyces Expert Intermediate 'A' football championship had been six points.
Now, in the end that didn't change, as the Gorey side ran out nine-point winners over Kilanerin but it wasn't that type of game. It was tight, it was tactical and Naomh Eanna needed every bit of their youthful exuberance, and their extra quality, to see them over the line.
Maybe the victors paid their opponents an ounce too much respect in the first-half as they sat in and played the waiting game. That suited Kilanerin. With goalkeeper and captain Eoin Lucey organising from the back, they defended well as a team, were patient and kept the game close.
Gorey did slowly ease 0-4 to nil in front after the opening quarter. David O'Brien got a couple of those scores, Gearóid Cullen picked off a fine point from the right wing, and Peter 'Pedro' Travers drilled over off the deck.
However, their opponents responded and scored five of the next seven before the interval. Emmet O'Toole was on song with a trio of those points while Martin Sheehan booted a fine score and Damien Whelan hit the target.
Yet they suffered a huge loss just before the break. Jim Hughes and Danny Boland were having a massive impact in midfield, and when the latter got hurt it destabilised Kilanerin and they were never quite the same again (0-6 to 0-5 at half-time).
They didn't score a sixth point until O'Toole registered in the 54th minute, and by that time Gorey had done the damage. O'Brien registered five points in that spell, Seán Doyle handpassed a score, and Conor McDonald came off the bench to kick a point.
The county hurler was also involved in the clinching goal in the 56th minute.
His run and pass set Brendan Travers away and the Naomh Eanna midfielder provided the cool finish past Eoin Lucey.
Kilanerin did kick three points in a row late on, a nice Paddy Carton score the pick of them, but substitute Lee Kinsella rounded out the win for Gorey with an injury-time point as they advanced, after a battle, to the final four.
Naomh Eanna: Kenneth Byrne; Joseph O'Connor, Daniel Sunderland, Seamus O'Donnell; Conor Hughes, Pádraig Doyle, Aodhán Doyle; Brendan Travers (1-0), John O'Brien; Jack Cushe, Peter Travers (capt., 0-2), Darragh Hughes; Gearóid Cullen (0-2, 1 '45), David O'Brien (0-8, 5 frees), Seán Doyle (0-1). Subs. - Conor McDonald (0-1) for Hughes (38), William Cullen for G. Cullen (46), Lee Kinsella (0-1) for Cushe (48), Ross Murphy for A. Doyle (54), Gary Molloy for O'Donnell (57).
Kilanerin: Eoin Lucey (capt.); Damien Tobin, Edward Hughes, Lorcan Clare; Stephen Hughes, Cillian O'Toole, Paddy Carton (0-1); Jim Hughes, Danny Boland; Martin Sheehan (0-1), Damien Whelan (0-1), Lee Owley (0-1 free); Enda O'Leary, Wayne Farrell, Emmet O'Toole (0-4, 2 frees). Subs: Donnacha McDonald for Boland, inj. (29), Seán Bardon for Sheehan (31), Danny Howard (0-1) for Whelan, inj. (48), Andrew Murphy for O'Leary (57), Paul Carton for Tobin (57).
Referee: Paul Browne (Clonee).