Wednesday 21 March 2018

Crossabeg-Ballymurn upset the formbook

A RESOLUTE performance from Crossabeg-Ballymurn helped the Wexford District side upset the form book and claim their opening victory against Ballyfad in the Top Oil Intermediate 'A' hurling championship in Ballygarrett on Sunday last.

From the first whistle the previously point-less Junior winners of 2012 went looking for the victory that would re-ignite their championship campaign and they got it - aided by a superb performance from Under-21 star Niall Murphy.

The nippy forward was in inspirational form, scoring seven points and making many more for team-mates that ably assisted with quality finishing and a strong defensive showing.

Three dead balls from the Crossbeg-Ballymurn hotshot helped the Over The Water side keep up with high-flying Ballyfad but, with full-forward Barry Murphy coming into the game and creating space for himself inside the '45, a five-all tie quickly developed into a 0-10 to 0-6 Crossabeg-Ballymurn lead.

Ballyfad, with two wins out of two to their name, could muster only a brace of Tom Hughes placed balls in the second quarter and were five points behind at the break after Barry Murphy hit his fourth point in the final minute of the period (0-12 to 0-7).

Little in the opening 20minutes of the second-half suggested that Ballyfad could overturn the five-point deficit as it remained intact (0-17 to 0-12). However, almost out of nowhere, Ballyfad netted when Dean O'Toole forced a handpass into the path of Lorcan Clare and the corner-forward kicked past Mark Dempsey to put the game back on the line.

A Tom Hughes free cut the gap to just a point with four minutes remaining but, to their credit, Crossabeg-Ballymurn knuckled down again and hit the next two settling points through Pádraig Foley and Barry Murphy.

Ballyfad did manage to put late pressure on their opponents but several good chances were wasted by poor decision-making and they are now left to re-group before facing Fethard next time out. Crossabeg-Ballymurn can keep their hopes of qualifying alive if they can beat the Shamrocks in round four.

Crossabeg-Ballymurn: Mark Dempsey; Matty Sludds, Billy Roche, Timmy Cosgrave; Declan Byrne, T.J. Parle, Alan Byrne; Pádraig Foley (0-1), Seamus Carroll; David Murphy (0-1), Conor Devereux, Niall Murphy (0-7, 4 frees, 2 '65s); David Bury (0-1), Barry Murphy (0-8, 3 frees), Eoghan Kehoe (0-1). Subs. - Bill Eviston for Bury, Michael Eviston for Cosgrave.

Ballyfad: Michael Byrne; Aidan Jones, Enda O'Leary, Killian O'Toole; Stephen Hughes, Colm Kavanagh, Jim Hughes; Mark Gethings (0-1), Denis Jones; Niall Hughes (0-1), Bobby Hughes, Tom Hughes (0-6 frees); Lorcan Clare (1-1), Peter Hughes (0-1 line ball), Mark Boland. Subs. - Edward Hughes for O'Toole, Conor Devitt (0-2) for S. Hughes, Dean O'Toole (0-1) for Boland, Damien Whelan for N. Hughes.

Referee: Brendan Martin (Ballyhogue).

New Ross Standard