Newcomers look sharp
Crossabeg-Ballymurn leap-frogged over Ballygarrett on The Courtyard Ferns Intermediate hurling championship Group A table when they pushed on after a bright finish to the first-half in Blackwater on Sunday despite missing a penalty and having a player dismissed.
C'beg-B'murn 2-16 Ballygarrett 1-10
The Gorey District side would have been pleased with their lot after just over 28 minutes when they only trailed by 0-10 to 1-5 despite playing into the wind after winning the toss. However, they were rocked by a 1-2 scoring burst from their Over The Water rivals before the interval, and they never looked like bridging the gap afterwards.
The sides were level twice in the first quarter before Ballygarrett - impressive first round winners over Duffry Rovers - goaled in the 14th minute when Patrick Naughter flicked a Stephen Redmond free from long range to the net (1-3 to 0-3).
That score seemed to shake last year's Intermediate 'A' victors to life though as they drew level inside four minutes and then hit the front with a move started by Billy Roche's catch in his own square and finished by team captain Barry Murphy, with Oisín Foley providing the link in between (0-7 to 1-3).
The gap was only two though after Cathal Dunbar picked off a neat Ballygarrett point in the 29th minute, but the resultant puck-out to the opposing '21 saw Barry Murphy out-wit two defenders and slam a low shot to the net. His brother, Niall, converted a line ball in added time before Barry added a point to the tally, leaving Crossabeg-Ballymurn ahead at the interval by 1-12 to 1-5.
Ballygarrett resumed brightly as Cathal Dunbar forced Mark Dempsey into a fine save before Jack Hobbs (free) and Dunbar pulled back points. They also had a major let-off in the 36th minute when Niall Murphy fired a one-on-one penalty wide after netminder Shane Quinn argued the toss with his fellow referee, Damien Donovan, over the decision to award it in the first place.
Significantly, the next attack of note did end with the second Crossabeg-Ballymurn goal as Bill Eviston and Conor Devereux provided handpasses to split the defence and Barry Murphy rattled the net for a second time (2-12 to 1-7).
Ballygarrett pulled back two points before Eoin McDonald was dismissed after two yellow cards in less than three minutes, leaving the leaders to cope with an extra man. The black and ambers deployed Michael Kinsella as a sweeper, but they shot five wides and just three points while Pádraig Foley and Billy Roche defended stoutly for Crossabeg-Ballymurn.
The winners finished on a high with late pointed frees from the Murphy brothers, with Michael Kinsella collecting a straight red card in between to add to Ballygarrett's woes.
Crossabeg-Ballymurn: Mark Dempsey; Martin Redmond, Paul Larrissy, Matt Sludds; Billy Roche, Pádraig Foley (0-1 free), Cormac O'Rourke; Bill Eviston, Conor Devereux (0-1); Oisín Foley, Barry Murphy (capt., 2-5, 0-2 frees), Eoin McDonald; Niall Murphy (0-5, 2 frees, 1 line ball), Sam Kelly (0-3), David Jackman (0-1).
Ballygarrett: Shane Quinn; Eddie Redmond, Colm Kennelly, Michael Kinsella; Colm Cosgrave, Stephen Redmond (capt., 0-1 free), Darren Morris; Cathal Dunbar (0-3), Cormac Moore-Kavanagh (0-2); Tom Sinnott, Jack Hobbs (0-4 frees), Eoin Corcoran; Harry Byrne, Patrick Naughter (1-0), Jimmy Murphy. Sub. - Seán O'Brien for Sinnott (55).
Referee: Damien Donovan (St. John's).