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Friday 17 August 2018

Crossabeg-Ballymurn clinch it with last five points

Crossabeg-Ballymurn 0-13 St. Patrick's 0-7

Alan Aherne

They say that a rising tide lifts all boats, and if the aphorism was applied to sport it would certainly be appropriate to describe the Crossabeg-Ballymurn club right now.

The last six years have been very productive for the Wexford District crew in both codes, and 2017 is shaping up to be every bit as fulfilling.

With the footballers in an Intermediate 'A' final, and the hurlers qualifying for the Intermediate last four on Saturday, the Junior 'B' players were in no mood to spoil the party.

And that determination to keep the strong run going on as many fronts as possible was crystal clear in Oylegate on Sunday when they hit the last five points from the 50th minute onwards to finally shake off the persistent challenge posed by St. Patrick's and advance to the county final.

While the first-half was very poor, it developed into a tight contest in the third quarter before the Over The Water side repeated the dose from their first District title win since 2010.

That was achieved against St. Martin's without scoring or conceding a goal, and it was a similar story this time around although the gap went from nine points to six.

Crossabeg-Ballymurn lost midfielder Seamus Carroll to their Intermediate side just under 24 hours earlier, but that was offset by the return of Martin Redmond who had been away for the District campaign.

It was a scrappy first 30 minutes, with more wides (seven for the eventual winners, and three for their Ballyoughter rivals) than points. The scoreboard operator was only troubled six times before the interval, with Crossabeg-Ballymurn moving into a 0-4 to 0-2 lead.

Eoghan 'Snowy' Kehoe got them off the mark from a free inside 30 seconds, but it most definitely wasn't a foretaste of things to come.

Paul McDonald finally levelled for the Gorey District winners in the eleventh minute, and he also added their second from a placed ball deep into the next quarter.

Robert Byrne and Kehoe had pushed Crossabeg-Ballymurn into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead, and their fourth point arrived in added time when Kehoe and Mark Campbell combined to create space for the accurate Paul Larrissy.

Campbell had lost his bearings and miscued a kick after soloing through a gap in the 13th minute, while the sole goal chance for St. Patrick's fell to Caymon Flynn whose shot was well saved by Noel Scallan.

Eoghan Kehoe hit the target again from a '65 on the re-start, but John Morris replied with the first Pat's point from play in the 33rd minute.

Conor O'Leary had a decent save to deny Kehoe before Niall O'Brien made it a one-point game, and a further exchange between Kehoe and Damien Grannell left Crossabeg-Ballymurn ahead by 0-6 to 0-5 entering the last quarter.

Kehoe (free) and Paul Larrissy picked off points before St. Patrick's produced their last big push, yielding scores from another Grannell placed ball and Niall O'Brien (0-8 to 0-7).

However, Crossabeg-Ballymurn had more to offer in the closing stages, with Conor Barlow, Declan Byrne and Cormac O'Rourke all leading the charge.

A Mark Campbell point in the 52nd minute was the first of five without reply to see them home, with free-taker Eoghan Kehoe planting three between the posts before Paul Larrissy added his third from play.

There's now the 50-50 possibility of a local derby in the final as Crossabeg-Ballymurn await the outcome of the Oylegate-Glenbrien versus Adamstown clash.

Crossabeg-Ballymurn: Noel Scallan; Daithí Redmond, David Scallan, Michael A. Doyle (capt.); Conor Barlow, Declan Byrne, Robert Byrne (0-1); Martin Redmond, Cormac O'Rourke; James White, Eoghan Kehoe (0-8, 5 frees, 1 '65), Paul Larrissy (0-3); Mark Campbell (0-1), James Grannell, Josh Whitehead. Subs. - Seán Kehoe for Whitehead (50), Shane Conroy for Grannell (60), Evan Kinlough for Campbell (60+2).

St. Patrick's: Conor O'Leary; David Graham, John Cousins, Parish Flynn; Lorcan Hamilton, Kyle Byrne (capt.), Enda Murphy; Ian Maguire, Mikey Byrne; Caymon Flynn, Mark Furlong, Damien Grannell (0-2 frees); Niall O'Brien (0-2), Paul McDonald (0-2 frees), John Morris (0-1). Subs. - Dillon Kavanagh for K. Byrne, temp. (25-27), Ger Gahan for Furlong (39), Kavanagh for Maguire (47), Furlong for McDonald (56).

Referee: Aiden O'Brien (Cloughbawn).

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