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Wednesday 14 November 2018

Craanford cushion

Craanford 2-11 Clongeen 0-14

Páraic Redmond of Craanford coming out of defence as Clongeen duo Richard Rochford and Shane Cahill give chase
Páraic Redmond of Craanford coming out of defence as Clongeen duo Richard Rochford and Shane Cahill give chase

Michael Heffernan

Two goals either side of half-time gave Craanford the cushion they needed to see off a gallant Clongeen side in this competitive Joyces Expert Intermediate 'A' football championship Group B tie in St. Patrick's Park, Enniscorthy, on Saturday.

Both sides were evenly matched throughout, with Clongeen taking an early lead, Craanford fighting back to go in front, and in the end battling tooth-and-nail to hold on to their lead as their opponents threw everything they had at them trying to rescue something from the game.

Clongeen looked best in the early exchanges, with Jamesie Rochford accurate from two placed balls.

And with help from Jim Bennett and Shane Cahill, they found themselves three up midway through the half, although Matthew Nolan had a great chance on goal somehow kept out by Ricky Rochford.

It took Craanford a while to settle but when they did they played with aggression and conviction.

With Matthew Nolan and Ger Lyons getting through a Trojan amount of work around the middle, and Patrick Murray accurate from placed balls, the eventual winners fought their way back to within a point just before the break thanks to a fine effort by Nolan.

Then, they were given a great lift, as Clongeen rushed the resultant kick-out which ended up in Jamie Doyle's hands, and the corner-forward made no mistake from close range to give his side a two-point lead at half-time.

Jim Bennett pulled one back for Clongeen immediately on the resumption, which was cancelled out shortly afterwards by another well-taken free from Patrick Murray.

Minutes later, Clongeen were caught napping at the back, and Craanford hit the net again, this time through Michael Lyons.

They added two quick points to put seven between the sides, but Clongeen were not finished just yet.

They fought back excellently with Anton Stafford strong at the back, and Jamesie Rochford accurate from placed balls, outscoring their victors by six points to two in the final third of the game.

But they had just too much to do and suffered their first defeat of the campaign, with Craanford holding on for their second win after earlier accounting for St. Martin's and losing to Volunteers.

Craanford: Bob Flynn; Pat Kenny, William Conroy, Páraic Redmond; Eoin Doyle, Michael O'Loughlin, Joe Berney; Martin Doyle, Matthew Nolan (0-2); Ger Lyons (0-1), Patrick Murray (0-5 frees), Michael Lyons (1-0); John Fleming (0-1), Niall Berney (0-1), Jamie Doyle (1-1). Sub. - Jamesie Nolan for M. Nolan.

Clongeen: Ricky Rochford: Steven Curtis, Enda Murphy, Jamie Keating; Tom Donovan, Anton Stafford, Richard Rochford; Shane Kilkenny, Robert Farrell (0-2); Leon Stafford, Shane Cahill (0-2), Jamesie Rochford (0-6, 4 frees, 1 '45); Jamie O'Grady, Jim Bennett (0-2), Ger Foxe (0-1). Subs. - Paudie Cahill (0-1) for Donovan, Cathal Murphy for Curtis, Paul Curtis for Stafford.

Referee: Pat Kehoe (Rathgarogue-Cushinstown).

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