Craanford win by big margin
Craanford 2-14 Kilmore 2-7
Craanford came up with one of their best displays in recent years to comfortably account for Kilmore with seven points to spare in this Joyces Expert Intermediate 'A' football championship Group A opener in Monamolin on Sunday.
The seasiders had won their last meeting - in the quarter-final of 2017 - by four points after extra-time, but they had no answers this time around to the superior teamwork of the Gorey District men who weren't upset by the concession of a goal just before half-time.
Prior to that Craanford had been completely on top, availing fully of the wind blowing towards the main road to surge into a 1-7 to 0-1 lead by the end of the opening quarter, although Kilmore's Tom White did strike the crossbar at one stage.
The tactic of playing corner-forward Eoin Doyle outfield and running at their rivals paid rich dividends in that period, with Kilmore hit for 1-6 without reply after Tommy Cousins responded to the first point from Jamie Doyle.
Craanford's goal in the fourth minute was a real fillip, with Eoin Doyle bravely flicking a 50-50 ball into the path of the accurate Pat Murray who had a fine game on the '40.
He in turn picked out Jamie Doyle whose shot was saved, but the break was turned home by full-forward Martin Doyle for a lead that the north county men never relinquished.
Murray (three, one free) and Ollie Doran (two) added points before Kilmore stopped the rot with three on the trot from Tom Byrne, Noel Casey and Daithí Moore (1-7 to 0-4), while a Moore snapshot was also kept out by Bob Flynn's feet.
However, the respite was brief, as Matthew Nolan, Jamie Doyle and Murray (free and play) stretched the Craanford lead to a commanding ten points.
After a second point for Tom Byrne, whose suspended brother, Paddy, was a notable absentee, Kilmore got the lifeline they needed in first-half added time.
Late arrival Rob Cousins had played 90 minutes of soccer earlier in the day, but he still had plenty of energy to spare as he cut through a gap within seconds of his introduction and kicked first-time to the net when the ball fell out of his grasp to the ground.
That goal perhaps left Craanford a little edgy, given that just six points now divided them (1-11 to 1-5) and they were about to face the elements.
A super save just 53 seconds after the re-start by Bob Flynn to deny Tom Byrne was pivotal, and the fact that a paltry seven scores were added by the two teams combined thereafter suited Craanford down to the ground.
The leaders received another huge boost when Jamie Doyle finished a Martin Doyle knock-down from Ollie Doran's probing ball from the right to the net in the fifth minute.
Kilmore did respond with Rob Cousins' second goal midway through the third quarter, but they only added two more points and didn't register at all for 21 minutes as Craanford kept them comfortably at bay.
Craanford: Bob Flynn; Michael Sinnott, William Conroy, Páuric Redmond; Joe Berney, Michael O'Loughlin, Jim Kenny; Niall Berney, Matthew Nolan (0-1); Ollie Doran (0-3), Pat Murray (0-7, 2 frees), Michael Lyons (capt.); Jamie Doyle (1-2), Martin Doyle (1-0), Eoin Doyle. Subs. - Pat Kenny for Redmond (50), Ger Lyons (0-1) for J. Kenny, inj. (60+2).
Kilmore: Kevin Casey; Willie Carley, Stevie Cousins, Conor Power; Tommy Cousins (0-1), Denis Kenny (0-1), Aaron Kielty; Páraic Reville, Tom Byrne (0-2); Shane Goff (0-1 free), Daithí Moore (capt., 0-1), Criostóir Reville; Aaron Goff, Noel Casey (0-1), Tom White. Subs. - Rob Cousins (2-0) for A. Goff, inj. (30+3), Graham Mernagh for Power (39), Martin Frayne for S. Cousins, inj. (54).
Referee: Shane Quinn (Réalt na Mara).