Timely first win
Craanford 2-7 OLI/Fintan's 2-5 (aet)
Hosts Craanford eked out their first win of the season after a titanic struggle against gutsy Our Lady's Island/St. Fintan's in the New Ross Standard Under-14 hurling championship on Thursday.
The victory, after two periods of attritional extra-time, was enough to send the Gorey District side into a Division 2 shield decider against the winners of St. Anne's and Askamore in the coming weeks.
These clubs drew when they met in the group stages, all the way back in early June, and it was easy to see why in this clash. They both possessed serious playmakers and neither side have any quit in them.
For the visitors Kyle Rankin was superb. He was listed at centre-forward but his job involved much more than the typical number eleven.
Of his supporting cast, Oisín Meyler was excellent and a huge loss when he got injured, and John Kelly produced several moments of brilliance.
Jack Fleming started the game on fire for Craanford and was a constant influence.
However, the longer the game wore on, the more the diminutive Brendan Tobin came to the fore. It was his energy and drive that won the day in extra-time.
Inside the first minute Paddy Redmond pulled to the net from a breaking ball to give Craanford the perfect start.
While Lee Kelly flipped over a classy point, three Fleming scores had the home side 1-3 to 0-1 ahead after 14 minutes.
The remainder of the half belonged to the Wexford District boys. Rankin managed to score two points but it could have been a lot worse had the superb Dean Wadding not made two fantastic saves from John Kelly between the sticks.
Within 40 seconds of the re-start, the goal that separated the sides at the interval (1-3 to 0-3) was wiped out by a fantastic catch and finish by John Kelly from Liam Kelly's searching ball forward.
A Rankin brace put the the Island/Fintan's combo two ahead but the 'Ford battled back to force extra-time with points from Fleming and Brendan Tobin (1-5 each).
They then struck first in overtime when Thomas Tobin pulled home from close range after a solid David Meyler save from Brendan Tobin's initial shot.
Again the travelling team dragged themselves level through Dylan Fortune (2-5 each), but Craanford registered points from Tobin and Billy Redmond either side of the overtime intermission to eventually advance to the shield decider.
Craanford: Dean Wadding; Ted Kenny, Maurice Tobin, Lee Clare; Michael Kinsella, Kevin Hyland (capt.), Brendan Greene; Brendan Tobin (0-2), Ciarán Lynch-Doyle; Danny Kenny, Jack Fleming (0-4, 1 free), Billy Redmond (0-1); Paddy Redmond (1-0), Pádraig Donoghue, Thomas Tobin (1-0). Subs. - Oran Kelly-Doyle for D. Kenny (36), Seán Doyle for Kelly-Doyle (51), also Keelan Doyle, Jack Smyth.
Our Lady's Island/St. Fintan's: David Meyler; Jordan Boggan, Quinn Kelly, Conor Swan; Oisín Meyler, Liam Kelly, Dan Kelly; Dan Devereux, Lee Newport; John Kelly (capt., 1-0), Kyle Rankin (0-4, 2 frees, 1 '65), James Wright; Seán Denton, Cillian Doyle, Lee Kelly (0-1). Subs. - Dylan Fortune (1-0) for Denton (26), Cormac Lyons for Doyle (26), Doyle for O. Meyler, inj. (51), Denton for D. Kelly, inj. (60+4), Kelly for L. Kelly, inj. (61).
Referee: Joe Kelly (Naomh Eanna).