Craanford come good for crucial second win
Craanford 1-12 St. Martin's 1-5
Jamie Doyle gave a real coming of age performance to guide Craanford to a crucial second win in Group A of the Joyces Expert Intermediate 'A' football championship when an efficient second-half display saw them defeat 14-man St. Martin's in Tuesday's fourth round game in St. Patrick's Park, Enniscorthy.
The stakes couldn't have been higher in the quagmire conditions, as both teams were anxious for a win that would steer them away from the unwanted territory of a relegation final.
In fact, neither side had won since the opening round, but it was Craanford who replicated that prior form as they took full advantage of playing the entire second-half with a numerical advantage after St. Martin's captain Tony Kelly was dismissed for an off-the-ball incident in first-half injury-time.
Earlier, Ryan Murphy had twice been the creator in chief when the experienced Richie Devereux flighted over two identical points as St. Martin's created a 0-2 to 0-1 lead by the sixth minute.
And when Murphy's ball towards the danger-zone, with Philip Coleman lurking at the edge of the square, appeared to land untouched in the net, the Piercestown and Murrintown natives were suddenly 1-2 to 0-1 to the good after eleven minutes.
However, they simply had too many fallow periods between scores thereafter, and registered only three more times before the end.
Meanwhile, Martin Wadding, Jamie Doyle (free), Ollie Doran and Patrick Murray all scored at the dressing-room end, with Kelly receiving his marching orders in the meantime, as Craanford pulled level at 0-5 to 1-2 by half-time.
Leo Burke converted a free two minutes into the new half to forge St. Martin's last lead of the game, but they found themselves in arrears by the time they troubled the scoreboard again some ten minutes later.
Doyle equalised from a free before his expansive pass found Murray to pop over. Doyle really thrived in the extra room he was afforded, and he kicked a nice effort from play on 40 minutes, although the Martin's hit back through Burke (free) and Devereux's third point from limited action to force parity one last time (1-5 to 0-8).
Still, Murray was fouled for Doyle to tap over a 52nd-minute free.. The latter pointed from play three minutes later, and he also did the spadework for Jamesie Nolan to fire home the game-clinching goal five minutes from time.
St. Martin's are marooned at the bottom of the table, but can retain their status if they beat Volunteers in the final round and Craanford do them favour by defeating Rathgarogue-Cushinstown.
Craanford: Bob Flynn; Páraic Redmond, Michael Lyons (capt.), Michael Sinnott; Joe Berney, Jim Kenny, Eoin Doyle (0-1); Ollie Doran (0-1), Niall Berney; Ger Lyons, Patrick Murray (0-2), Eamonn Doran; Martin Wadding (0-1), John Lancaster, Jamie Doyle (0-7, 4 frees). Sub. - Jamesie Nolan (1-0) for Wadding (38).
St. Martin's: Tomás Hayes; Conor Kelly, Kevin Price, Adam McLoughlin; Philip McDermott, Tony Kelly (capt.), Ryan Murphy (1-0); Leo Burke (0-2 frees), Darragh Rossiter; Jack Roche, Richie Devereux (0-3), Zac Firman; Conor Devereux, Jordan Hayes, Philip Coleman. Subs. - Ben Morris for J. Hayes (HT), Adam Murphy for Coleman (35), James Mernagh for Morris (47).
Referee: Paddy Brady (Réalt na Mara).