Ford boys in control
Whitty leads charge versus Mallow
Craanford put another two points on the board in their battle to reach the New Ross Standard Coiste na nÓg Under-14 hurling championship Division 2 semi-finals against Liam Mellows in Coolgreany on Thursday.
Craanford 3-13 Liam Mellows 1-4
There were star performers all over the field for the visitors but nobody controlled his area quite like Aodán Whitty. The Craanford defender was superb as the last line of defence, keeping the hosts quiet with great aerial ability and silky clearances.
Further forward Jack Fleming's fielding was excellent. His command of the centre of the field, with fellow playmaker Brendan Tobin, ensure Craanford were able to create plenty of scoring chances for their forwards.
Inside Pat Doyle was the man in-form, but the fact that the 'Ford boasted seven different scorers indicates just how well their attack was functioning. At the back Liam Mellows were dogged and cleared a lot of the danger through their relentless set of defenders.
However, most impressive for the home side was goalkeeper Dylan Farrell who made several fantastic saves to keep the score down. He made a couple in the opening quarter as Craanford moved into a 0-7 to nil lead.
Pat Doyle grabbed three nice points and rattled the angle of post and crossbar in that spell, Brendan Tobin picked off a pair of points, while Pádraig Donohue and Paddy Tobin both got on the scoresheet.
When the impressive Geoffrey Lande picked out Jack Higgins with a fine pass, and the Liam Mellows attacker flashed over the crossbar, the hosts had their only score of the first period.
Back came Craanford with two goals in less than 30 seconds. Ciarán McLoughlin caught Jack Fleming's effort that came down off the upright and netted the first, while Pat Doyle slalomed through to finish the second off the stanchion.
There was still time for Fleming to score twice and Doyle to bring his tally to 1-4 as Craanford went in 2-10 to 0-1 clear. To their credit, Liam Mellows battled away and were competitive in the second period.
Fleming and Tom Tobin got on the scoresheet first for the visitors but the Coolgreany boys responded with Lande getting his first point. Trailing by 2-12 to 0-3, Lande flashed a 20-metre free past substitute 'keeper Kevin Hyland, but Craanford finished with a flourish as Tobin drilled home their third major late on.
The victors face Rapparees in Craanford this week, a game that will go a long way towards deciding if either side will move into the last four of the championship after the final round of fixtures next month.
Craanford: Dean Wadding; Maurice Tobin, Aodán Whitty; James Doyle, Paddy Tobin (0-1), Brendan Greene; Brendan Tobin (0-2), Jack Fleming (0-4); Ciarán McLoughlin (1-0), Pat Doyle (1-4), Pádraig Donohue (0-1); Tom Tobin (1-1), Seán Doyle. Subs. - Joseph Conroy, Kevin Hyland.
Liam Mellows: Dylan Farrell; Michael Morrissey, Conor Gregan; Robbie Morris, Donnacha O'Connor, Evan Mulligan; Geoffrey Lande (1-2, 1-1 frees), Seán O'Hagan; Cathal Ó Dubhlaing, Jack Higgins (0-1), Eoin Kinsella; Gavin McNulty, Ross Arnold. Subs. - Pat Doyle, Joseph Conroy (0-1).
Referee: Seán O'Brien (Naomh Eanna).