Shock as Ferns slay Kilanerin
Anger at Hughes’ dismissal
The gleeful footballers of Ferns showed how it was possible to score two points in the second half and still progress to the semi-finals of the IFC.
Ferns St Aidan's 0-9 Kilanerin 0-7
They left 14-man Kilanerin aggrieved with the decision of referee Brendan Martin to send off substitute Peter Hughes shortly after his introduction at corner forward.
But the losers would do better to look at how they managed to extract just seven points from a match in which they held the upper hand for long periods.
The Saturday afternoon fixture at St Patrick's Park commenced in sunshine and Ferns with their fluid formation promptly looked set to make hay.
Initial efforts were wayward but then John Breen started the ball rolling with a couple of very stylishly kicked points following by a free.
Kilanerin's early tactics appeared to be based around soaking up pressure and then find Matty Forde on the break with Dean O'Toole running himself to exhaustion providing ball for the great man.
Unfortunately, the former All-Star's shooting boots were off-key as Forde struck a series of wides, plus one tame effort straight at goalie Ivan Meegan.
When he returned the compliment with a nice pass to tee up O'Toole, his sidekick had his attempt on goal superbly saved by Meegan.
As a result, it was 23 minutes before the north county side registered their first score when their talismanic number 14 used his height to collect the ball and kick over the bar.
As the sun turned to rain and the wind freshened, the slow start (0-2 to 0-7 behind at the interval) looked anything but fatal to their cause.
With Paul Morris directing affairs, Ferns resumed happy to play possession football rather than look to extend a lead that soon looked far short of being a commanding advantage.
Forde took a pass from Bobby Hughes to close the gap to four and he had the Kilanerin supporters applauding as he knocked over another point from the right before popping up on the left to repeat the dose.
Then, on 41 minutes came the sending off just as Forde was poised to go for goal. Ferns defender Niall Maguire went down in a mysterious heap and the ref reached for the red after his umpire identified Peter Hughes as the off-the-ball culprit.
The effect of being short-handed was not immediately obvious as Kilanerin continued to press towards the goal at the dressing room end of the field.
Matty Forde's free, swung high over Meegan's bar with a lazy swing of his right leg reduced the gap between the teams to the minimum on 46 minutes.
That, however, was as close as they came, with Ferns resuming their point gathering after more than a quarter hour in which their total remained stuck on seven points.
Veteran Edward Cullen stabbed the ball over to end the worrying drought and the same player was called upon to add a free kicked from off the ground on 59 minutes.
All Kilanerin could muster in reply was a delightfully struck point from Bobby Hughes before the final whistle sounded, greeted with something close to disbelief by the Ferns players and faithful.
The instinct of the defeated side was to turn on referee Martin who added to the collective misery with a red card issued to Forde for his abusive language as the season ended on a sour note for one of Wexford's finest ever footballers.
Ferns St Aidan's: Ivan Meegan; Brian O'Neill, Padraig Bolger, Niall Maguire; Keith Breen, Declan Byrne, Colm Whelan; Thomas Hawkins, Tommy Dwyer (0-1); Patrick Breen (0-1), Peter Nolan, Paul Morris (0-2); Edward Cullen (0-2, 1 free), Ryan Nolan, John Breen (0-3, 1 free).
Kilanerin: Tom Hughes; Aidan Jones, Colm Kavanagh, Brian Hughes; Killian O'Toole, Richard Hughes, Gavin O'Toole; Jim Hughes, Niall Hughes; Mark Boland, Mark Gethings, Bobbly Hughes (0-1); Dean O'Toole, Matty Forde (0-5, 1 free), Denis Jones. Subs: Peter Hughes for D O'Toole 36 minutes; Tommy Boland for J Hughes 41; Lorcan Clare for K O'Toole 48 minutes.
Referee: Brendan Martin.