Ballymurn survive ugly clash
Crossabeg-Ballymurn 1-12 Man O'War (Dublin) 2-1
Crossabeg-Ballymurn continued their season to remember by reaching the last four in the province after a fractious AIB Leinster Club Junior football championship quarter-final in a miserable St. Patrick's Park on Saturday.
It may have been a long way shy of matching the ten red cards that were meted out in the O'Connells versus Kilbride contest on the same day, but referee Chris Dwyer did find it difficult to keep a lid on proceedings as tempers flared all over the pitch, with three players receiving their marching orders.
It's a shame that much of the focus after the game was on the ugly flashpoints, as during the 60 minutes in difficult conditions this talented group of young Crossabeg-Ballymurn players controlled the contest for the most part, and but for the concession of a couple of preventable goals they would have won at a canter.
The Wexford outfit looked like they had plenty of work to do when leading by three points at half-time (0-7 to 1-1), having to turn around to face into the teeth of a significant wind, but they played clever possession football after the interval and Man O'War couldn't cope with their accurate passing and pace.
As they had in their opening provincial encounter against Ballon, Crossabeg-Ballymurn were quickly out of the blocks, then reeled in in quick-smart time, before re-asserting their dominance to win going away.
They got the first four points on the board in the opening quarter, with Martin Redmond splitting the posts inside 30 seconds, Pádraig Foley following suit moments later, and Cormac O'Rourke slotting over two nice scores.
Man O'War's Conor Garvey forced a save out of Ben Turner in the 19th minute in their first real foray forward and, after playing second fiddle, they were right back in the game two minutes later when William Moore confidently struck a penalty to the right-hand corner of the net.
Moore levelled matters in the 24th minute when he swivelled and popped the ball over the bar despite being surrounded by a swarm of defenders.
The Crossabeg-Ballymurn response was good though as they closed out the half well with three points on the trot, with Cormac O'Rourke sending a lovely longe-range effort over the black spot, Seamus Carroll adding another, and Paddy Devereux firing over a booming score.
The Wexford side retained the ball well after the switch of ends, patiently going through the phases and picking off some nice points when the opportunities arose.
The impressive Cormac O'Rourke curled over a beauty into the wind, with points from Bill Eviston and Sam Kelly (two) stretching the lead to 0-11 to 1-1 with twelve minutes remaining, but Man O'War were then handed a lifeline when they struck for another goal.
John Fleming launched a long ball into Conor Duffy and when his effort was blocked it rebounded off Conor Garvey and into the back of the net.
Substitute Mark O'Connor settled any Crossabeg-Ballymurn nerves with a sweet point, before John Fleming was shown a red card following the first of two free-for-alls.
In the 59th minute William Moore blasted a free goalwards but saw his strike blocked on the line, and seconds later Crossabeg-Ballymurn dispelled any notion of a fightback when they had the green flag waving at the other end.
Mark O'Connor did well in the build-up before playing in Cormac O'Rourke, who gleefully blasted the ball past goalkeeper Joey McKenna.
Despite the result being beyond doubt, the pot continued to boil over, with Man O'War's Kieran Fleming sent-off following a rash challenge, and influential Crossabeg-Ballymurn midfielder Paddy Devereux seeing red after being singled out for retaliating during another melee deep into injury time.
It's back to hurling for the victors next weekend in their Intermediate and Junior 'B' replays.
Crossabeg-Ballymurn: Ben Turner; Conor Gormley, Oisín Foley, Conor Barlow, Conor Devereux, Ronan Devereux, Seamus Carroll (0-1); Paddy Devereux (0-1), Pádraig Foley (0-1); Martin Redmond (0-1), Sam Kelly (0-2, 1 free), Cian Lambert; Oran Maddock, Robert Byrne, Cormac O'Rourke (1-4). Subs. - Bill Eviston (0-1) for Gormley (23), Mark O'Connor (0-1) for Maddock (40), Eoin O'Connor for Lambert (58), Conor Maddock for Byrne (58).
Man O'War: Joey McKenna; Jason McGlynn, Francis Sheridan, James Fleming; David O'Hara, Aidan Cunningham, Anthony Kelly; Shane Moore, Eddie McLoughlin; Kieran Fleming, William Moore (1-1, 1-0 pen.), Shane Mulligan; Conor Duffy, John Fleming, Conor Garvey (1-0). Subs. - Conor Moore for Mulligan (43), Pádraig White for McLoughlin (52), Gary Moore for O'Hara, black card (54).
Referee: Chris Dwyer (Offaly).