Do-or-die for Craanford after loss to neighbours
CRAANFORD ARE facing a tough challenge to reach the quarter-finals of The Courtyard Ferns Intermediate hurling championship as they are left with a must-win game against Blackwater after being defeated by one of their biggest rivals, Askamore, in Farmleigh on Tuesday last.
The Group B leaders put on an impressive performance with P.J. Nolan being most influential, securing his side's first point within a few minutes of the throw-in. Kevin Poole was in charge of Craanford's placed balls and he gave his team a 0-2 to 0-1 lead.
Nonetheless, from here on Askamore accelerated into top gear with fantastic points from Eoin Boggan and P.J. Nolan. The consistent Poole added three more points to his tally from frees, thus concluding the first-half scoring for Craanford.
Askamore weren't finished though, with Garry Doran walking through the Craanford back line to claim their first goal and leave seven points between them at half-time (1-9 to 0-5).
The beginning of the second-half imitated the dying minutes of the first, as Askamore dominated proceedings. Frank Boggan secured their second goal with a speculative shot to the corner of the Craanford net.
Although scoring two points, county Senior Shane Tomkins was quieter than usual for the winners. Tom Byrne, Conor Levingstone and Tommy Devereux all put a point to their name before Craanford began to play to their potential.
Oliver Doran's powerful shot found the back of the Askamore net to inspire his side. Kevin Poole followed suit a few minutes later to claim their second goal.
From here on Craanford redeemed themselves through fantastic points from Peter Kavanagh, Jamesie Nolan, Oliver Doran and two from Des Kavanagh. This was just not enough, however, as Askamore sealed victory with additional points from Garry Doran, Frank Boggan and Podge Byrne.
The second-half therefore ended like the first, with Craanford being behind by seven points. Askamore remain at the top of the table on full points from four games, whereas Craanford will now have to fight for their quarter-final place in that crunch match versus Blackwater.
Askamore: Brian Hayden; Patrick Nolan, Colm Buttle, Frank Lancaster; Tommy Devereux (0-1), Eoin Boggan (0-1), James Lancaster; P.J. Nolan (0-8, 4 frees), Shane Tomkins (0-2); Podge Byrne (0-1), Garry Doran (1-1), Patrick Boggan; Tom Byrne (0-1), Frank Boggan (1-1), Conor Levingstone (0-1).
Craanford: Derek Finn; Joe Berney, Stevie Greene, Aidan Doyle; Niall Berney, Pat Murray, Oliver Doran (1-1); James O'Loughlin, Michael O'Loughlin; Seán O'Brien, Peter Kavanagh (0-1), Kevin Poole (1-5, 0-5 frees); John Fleming, James Byrne, Des Kavanagh (0-2). Subs. - Jamesie Nolan (0-1) for Kavanagh, Shane Kavanagh for Fleming, Mathew Kenny for Byrne.
Referee: Eddie O'Sullivan (Ballyfad).
New Ross Standard