Friday 19 January 2018

Devastating double seals semi spot for Crossabeg-Ballymurn

Dave Devereux

Two goals in the space of a minute in the second-half propelled Crossabeg-Ballymurn to a hard-earned victory in this Joyces Expert Intermediate 'A' football championship quarter-final in Monamolin on Saturday.

Crossabeg-Ballymurn 2-7 Naomh Eanna 0-9

With two thirds of the game gone Naomh Eanna were ahead by a single point (0-4 to 0-3) but those quick-fire goals completely turned the game on its head.

First Sam Kelly rifled a penalty past goalkeeper Kenneth Byrne and seconds later Eoin McDonald pounced on a defensive blunder to steer the ball into an empty net.

However, the Gorey side will rue opportunities that went a begging in the first-half, particularly when William Cullen saw his penalty saved by Ben Turner.

A goal then would have given Naomh Eanna a five-point advantage midway through the opening period and would have left Crossabeg-Ballymurn playing catch-up.

Instead the sides were deadlocked at three points apiece apiece, with two points from William Cullen and a Pedro Travers score helping Naomh Eanna to a 0-3 to 0-1 advantage and Crossabeg-Ballymurn responding with three frees, one from the boot of Andy Butler and two from Cormac O'Rourke. The north county men had a gilt-edged opportunity to really stamp their authority on the game though, when Crossabeg-Ballymurn goalkeeper Ben Turner impeded Pedro Travers and James Owen awarded a penalty.

However, Turner atoned for his error, getting down well to save William Cullen's spot-kick.

Crossabeg-Ballymurn went close to raising a green flag themselves just before the interval, but Mark O'Connor's shot was blocked after he had been played in by Robert Byrne.

A fine point from William Cullen edged the Gorey men back in front in the 35th minute, but four minutes later it all turned sour for Naomh Eanna.

After Mark O'Connor had been fouled in the area, Sam Kelly confidently dispatched the penalty and seconds later Kenneth Byrne was again picking the ball out of his net when Eoin McDonald was allowed to saunter through and slip the ball into an empty net to make it 2-3 to 0-4.

An Andy Butler score gave Crossabeg-Ballymurn a further cushion but Naomh Eanna rallied with brothers Willam and Gearoid Cullen sharing the next four points between them to drag their side back within two.

Andy Butler and David O'Brien then exchanged scores, before Crossabeg-Ballymurn sealed the deal with points from Sam Kelly and Mark O'Connor to copper-fasten their spot in the last four.

Crossabeg-Ballymurn: Ben Turner; Martin Redmond, Eoin McDonald (1-0), Oisin Foley; Cian Lambert, Ronan Devereux, Seamus Carroll; Paddy Devereux, David Kehoe; Cormac O'Rourke (0-2 frees), Andy Butler (0-3, 2 frees), Bill Eviston; Sam Kelly (1-1, 1-0 pen.), Robert Byrne, Mark O'Connor (0-1). Subs. - Conor Shovlin for McDonald, Alan Byrne for Lambert.

Naomh Eanna: Kenneth Byrne; Seamus O'Donnell, Simon Doran, Brendan Travers; Dara McDonald, Tom Stafford, Aodhán Doyle; John O'Brien, Darragh Hughes; Kevin Harrington, Pádraig Doyle, Seán Doyle; William Cullen (0-5, 3 frees), Gearoid Cullen (0-2), Pedro Travers (0-1). Subs. - David O'Brien (0-1) for Harrington, Eoin Conroy for John O'Brien.

Referee: James Owens (Kilrush)

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