Another title for Ballymurn
Strong show of firepower
Impressive Crossabeg-Ballymurn had far too much firepower for Réalt na Mara as they eased to a comfortable victory in the All-County Football League Division 3 final at St. Patrick's Park on Friday.
Crossabeg-Ballymurn 2-13 Realt na Mara 1-6
Apart from a five-minute spell midway through the first-half when Réalt na Mara missed three scoreable frees on the trot, the Wexford District side were firmly in control and held their opponents in a vice-like headlock throughout.
Cormac O'Rourke got the ball rolling for Crossabeg-Ballymurn when he slotted over an early free, and Andy Butler and Niall Murphy quickly added points to put them three to the good after four minutes.
Pat Naughter registered Réalt na Mara's opening score in the eighth minute, but it was soon business as usual with Cormac O'Rourke and the potent Andy Butler bagging the next two points.
Pat Naughter had opportunities to get Réalt na Mara back within striking distance but his normally sound free-taking radar was awry as he skewed three gettable place kicks wide of the target.
Cormac O'Rourke showed him how it's done at the other end when splitting the posts with a free, before the wind was well and truly taken out of the Réalt na Mara sails when Conor Devereux hit the back of the net.
Niall Murphy picked out his run with a pinpoint pass and although goalkeeper Colm O'Loughlin got a hand to Devereux's volleyed effort, he couldn't get enough on it to keep it out.
Pat Naughter may have struggled with his free-taking, but on 25 minutes he illustrated his silky skills when curling over a peach of a point with his left boot from near the endline.
Robert Byrne and Jack Hobbs, who had taken over free-taking duties, then swapped points to leave Crossabeg-Ballymurn with a 1-7 to 0-3 advantage at the break.
The gap remained at seven points until the 52nd minute with Ronan Devereux, Sam Kelly and Cormac O'Rourke on the mark for Crossabeg-Ballymurn, and Tom Sinnott and Jack Hobbs (two) responding for the Gorey District men.
However, last season's beaten Intermediate 'A' finalists added a further gloss to the scoreline when Ronan Devereux found his brother, Conor, and he teed up Robert Byrne who calmly palmed the ball to the back of the net.
Andy Butler then notched his third point, while points from Cormac O'Rourke and substitute David Kehoe stretched their advantage further.
Réalt na Mara had been reduced to 14 men in the 48th minute when Eddie Redmond was shown a second yellow card, but they battled until the final whistle and got some reward when Jack Hobbs blasted a free to the back of the net in injury time.
Crossabeg-Ballymurn: Ben Turner; Martin Redmond, Oisín Foley, Matt Sludds; Ronan Devereux (0-1 '45), Conor Devereux (1-0), Seamus Carroll; Paddy Devereux, Bill Eviston; Cian Lambert, Andy Butler (0-3), Cormac O'Rourke (0-5, 4 frees); Niall Murphy (0-1), Robert Byrne (1-1), Sam Kelly (0-1). Subs. - Barry Murphy for Kelly, Mark O'Connor for Eviston, Eoin McDonald for N. Murphy, David Kehoe (0-1) for Butler, Conor Gormley for Lambert, Evan Kinlough for O'Rourke.
Réalt na Mara: Colm O'Loughlin; Aidan Murphy, Eddie Redmond, Gavin Walker; Evan Dunbar, Colm Kennelly, Tom Sinnott (0-1); Darren Morris, Stephen Redmond; Seán O'Brien, Kevin Jordan, Eoin Corcoran; Pat Naughter (0-2), Jack Hobbs (1-3 frees), Cormac Moore. Subs. - Jimmy Murphy for Dunbar, Dylan Sweeney for Murphy, Anthony Donohoe for O'Brien.
Referee: James Mullally (Gusserane).