Cloughbawn on crest of a wave
Cloughbawn are certainly riding on the crest of a wave at the moment, and on Saturday they ensured their supporters have another county final to look forward to when they hit Crossabeg-Ballymurn for six goals in their semi-final replay to book their place in the Joyces Expert Intermediate 'A' football championship decider.
Cloughbawn 6-8 Crossabeg-Ballymurn 1-11
Five of those goals came in the second-half, when their direct style of play and tactic of getting quick ball into their talented forward line simply tore the opposition rearguard to shreds.
With the Wexford District side holding a one-point advantage at the break (0-8 to 1-4), the game was very much in the balance, but when Martin Kehoe and Paul Foley both hit the back of the net in quick succession early in the second-half there was no way back.
Barry Carton added to their second-half goal haul with two ice-cool finishes, while Bob Whitty also got the green flag waving as their opponents pressed forward trying to salvage something from the game, leaving swathes of open space at the back.
There was little evidence that a facile victory would transpire during a competitive first 30 minutes, with Crossabeg-Ballymurn midfield duo, Paddy Devereux and Pádraig Foley, getting through Trojan work.
Sam Kelly opened their account after just 45 seconds, but Cloughbawn got a real break in the fourth minute when Billy Wickham's effort at a point found the net, although their opponents responded well, registering three points on the trot through Paddy Devereux, Niall Murphy and Andy Butler to regain the lead.
Crossabeg-Ballymurn were 0-7 to 1-2 to the good on 23 minutes, with Glen Murphy, Cormac O'Rourke and the busy Paddy Devereux adding to their tally and Bob Whitty replying with a couple of points.
Cloughbawn never really found their swagger in the first-half, but without playing particularly well they dragged themselves level by the 27th minute, with Bob Whitty popping over a point from a tight angle and Martin Kehoe adding a good left-footed score.
Cormac O'Rourke slotted over a fine effort on the turn to give Crossabeg-Ballymurn the lead as the sides switched ends, but a resurgent Cloughbawn assumed complete control on the resumption, and a 37th-minute goal from Martin Kehoe gave them a 2-6 to 0-9 lead.
Barry Kehoe played in a long delivery, which Martin Kehoe gathered, turned and buried to the net. The celebrations had barely died down when substitute Paul Foley ran on to a loose ball and had the simple task of tucking it away.
Cloughbawn had only four minutes to wait for their next goal, when Barry Carton applied a cool finish after being picked out by Harry Kehoe to make it 4-7 to 0-9.
Crossabeg-Ballymurn did manage to pull one goal back, with substitute Mark O'Connor finding the net from an acute angle, but the three-pointer was wiped out within two minutes when Barry Carton ran on to a handpass from Colm Kehoe and squeezed the ball inside the right-hand post.
After a Glen Murphy effort was deflected just wide, Bob Whitty then got in on the goalscoring act after being found by Paul Foley, and Niall Murphy went close to grabbing a consolation for Crossabeg-Ballymurn, but his ferocious drive rattled the crossbar.
Cloughbawn now have a meeting with Duffry Rovers in the final to look forward to.
Cloughbawn: Lee Keeley; Gavin Murphy, David Doyle-Murphy, Cillian Doyle; Connal Flood, Barry Kehoe, Harry Kehoe; Colm Kehoe, Páidí Cullen; Billy Wickham (1-0), Robert Kinsella, Bob Whitty (1-4, 0-1 free); Barry Carton (2-1), Martin Kehoe (1-1), Shane Greene. Subs. - Paul Foley (1-2) for Greene, Aaron Byrne for Doyle (black card), Cian O'Connor for Keeley.
Crossabeg-Ballymurn: Ben Turner; Martin Redmond, Oisín Foley, Matthew Sludds; Conor Maddock, Bill Eviston, Cian Lambert; Paddy Devereux (0-2), Pádraig Foley; Cormac O'Rourke (0-3), Andy Butler (0-1), Glen Murphy (0-1); Sam Kelly (0-2, 1 free), Eoin McDonald, Niall Murphy (0-2, 1 free). Subs. - Mark O'Connor (1-0) for McDonald, Alan Byrne for Sludds, Robert Byrne for Butler, David Kehoe for Lambert.
Referee: David Jenkins (Gusserane).