Mac delivers the killer blow
One last desperate swish, that's all it took. Time seemed to be ticking away on Crossabeg-Ballymurn's Courtyard Ferns Intermediate hurling championship lives in Bellefield on Sunday as Niall Murphy stood over a '65 in the third minute of added time.
Crossabeg-Ballymurn 2-16 Adamstown 1-18
He had the opportunity to drop one last ball into the edge of the square after an almighty scramble just moments earlier.
The goalmouth had been loaded on that occasion and Crossabeg-Ballymurn just couldn't get the ball to fall for them.
It seemed like the danger might have been cleared when the eleven men up for the Wexford District side couldn't latch onto Murphy's invitingly hanging '65. Adamstown forced it out to the 20-metre line and then it happened.
Eoin McDonald can't have ever caught a sliothar as sweetly. He had almost no space to work a shot but somehow, some way, the ball found a path, zipped into the air and bulged Paul Cooper's net just inches under the crossbar. Cue pandemonium.
As half the Crossabeg-Ballymurn team looked to celebrate the goal that would send them through to the semi-final, the others had realised that the full-time whistle hadn't gone. They didn't have to wait long though as John Carton's whistle came immediately after Paul Cooper despondently pucked the ball out.
It was an apt way for a thoroughly entertaining game to finish. The first-half saw Crossabeg-Ballymurn play with the breeze and rack up twelve points. McDonald had been key with four, while Niall Murphy also hit a quartet as their side led by 0-12 to 0-10 at the interval.
Lorcan French was scorer-in-chief for Adamstown before the break with six points and by the time he notched his seventh, seven minutes into the second-half, Crossabeg-Ballymurn had their opening goal on the board.
It was a really well-taken major too as Barry Murphy pulled in the influential Pádraig Foley's long ball and dispatched it past Cooper. They just about hung on to their lead until Paddy Whitty's effort came down off the left upright and fell perfectly for Seán Barden who fed Liam Stafford for the lead goal (1-16 to 1-15).
Twice Adamstown got themselves two ahead as time ticked away but there was one last, crucial twist in the tale as McDonald pounced to drill Crossabeg-Ballymurn into a semi-final clash with HWH-Bunclody.
Crossabeg-Ballymurn: Mark Dempsey; Martin Redmond, Billy Roche, Matty Sludds; Cormac O'Rourke, Pádraig Foley (0-1 free), Alan Byrne; Bill Eviston, Conor Devereux; Oisín Foley (0-3), Sam Kelly (0-1), Eoin McDonald (1-4); Barry Murphy (capt., 1-0), Niall Murphy (0-7, 3 frees), Andy Butler. Subs. - Seamus Carroll for Butler (37), Paddy Devereux for O'Rourke (37), Liam Kehoe for Kelly (57).
Adamstown: Paul Cooper; Johnny Connors, M.J. Cooper, Michael Curtis; Brendan Furlong, James Breen, Paudie Barden; Shane O'Gorman (capt., 0-3), Lorcan French (0-10, 8 frees, 1 '65); Tony French (0-1), P.J. Carroll, Liam Stafford (1-1); John French (0-1), Paddy Whitty (0-1), Seán Barden (0-1). Subs. - Ian Bradley for Carroll (46), Barry Power for J. French (55).
Referee: John Carton (Monageer-Boolavogue).