Ballymurn hit form near end
Crossabeg-Ballymurn 2-16 Askamore 0-10
If ever the final scoreline belied the actual story of the game, then it's this The Courtyard Ferns Intermediate hurling championship quarter-final at a blustery St. Patrick's Park on Saturday, as a strong final chapter from Crossabeg-Ballymurn saw them advance at the expense of a rather pedestrian Askamore.
As both sides struggled to gain any real foothold on proceedings throughout the first-half, and in the early throes of the second period, no-one would have predicted the victors' eventual 2-16 to 0-10 success.
But then again the stats show that they outscored the losers by 1-8 to 0-2 from the 43rd minute onwards, while Askamore continually shot themselves in the foot with some rash shooting on the way to compiling twelve wides.
The tricky conditions affected the accuracy of both sides early on, as there were more wides (eight) than scores in the first quarter as Crossabeg-Ballymurn held a narrow 0-3 to 0-2 lead.
But when county hurler Shane Tomkins worked some space to fire over on the run, it ignited a mini-scoring spree, as Sam Kelly and Pádraig Foley from his own half immediately hit back for Crossabeg-Ballymurn, while Ted Kinsella also pointed from play as things remained tight.
The game-altering score that arrived five minutes before the break was the dictionary definition of scrappy as Seamus Carroll nudged to the net after some harrying from Shane O'Rourke, leaving the Over the Water men with a 1-7 to 0-6 half-time lead.
Despite Kinsella landing a free 44 seconds after the re-start, they hit six wides on the bounce before Billy Nolan got their next score on 40 minutes.
Crossabeg-Ballymurn weren't exactly motoring themselves but suddenly burst into life as Paddy Devereux (two), Kelly and Foley (free) found the range before the hard-running Devereux supplied the pass for Niall Murphy's deft flick to the net as the gap suddenly grew to 2-12 to 0-8 with ten minutes left.
The goal-getter also audaciously pointed from close to the sideline with the penultimate score as his side reached the semi-finals for a third successive year, where they will face Monageer-Boolavogue.
Crossabeg-Ballymurn: Mark Dempsey; Paul Roche, Alan Byrne, Bill Eviston; Conor Devereux, Pádraig Foley (0-2, 1 free), Conor Shovlin; Paddy Devereux (0-2), Seamus Carroll (1-0); Ronan Devereux, Sam Kelly (0-6, 2 '65s, 1 free), Shane O'Rourke (0-3); Niall Murphy (1-2), Tony Murphy, Oisín Foley (0-1). Subs. - Eoin McDonald for Roche (53), David Kehoe for Shovlin (55), Billy Roche for T. Murphy (57), Luke Redmond for O. Foley (62).
Askamore: Brian Hayden; Tom Byrne, Patrick Nolan, Tomás Hayden; Tom Kavanagh, Tommy Devereux, James Lancaster; P.J. Nolan, Conor Levingstone; Shane Tomkins (0-1), Garry Doran, Pádraig Byrne; Gavin Sunderland, Edmond Kenny, Ted Kinsella (0-7, 6 frees). Subs. - Billy Nolan (0-2) for P. Byrne (HT), Conor Travers for Levingstone (48), Frank Boggan for Doran (48), Frank Lancaster for Kavanagh (54), Martin Hayden for J. Lancaster (56).
Referee: Anthony Tobin (Geraldine O'Hanrahans).