Kilanerin 1-8 Crossabeg-Ballymurn 1-6
A monstrous last-minute free from Matty Forde signalled a surprise victory for Kilanerin over Crossabeg-Ballymurn in this closely-fought Joyces Expert Intermediate 'A' football championship Group B tie in Oylegate on Saturday.
After a very cagey and low-scoring affair throughout, the final ten minutes exploded to life and saw both sides hit late goals and fight desperately for the winning scores.
That was before Forde pulled off a familiar-looking party trick, hitting a free from 45 metres along the sideline, inspiring his side to hold on to their two-point lead.
Crossabeg-Ballymurn, having lost a number of players to travelling this summer, lacked the killer instinct they showed earlier in the year.
This was evident as both sides failed to entertain the crowd in a low-scoring opening half. Sam Kelly hit two sweet points with help from Conor Shovlin, Rob Byrne and Niall Murphy, with Jim Hughes, Willie Murphy and Emmet O'Toole doing the honours for the eventual winners, leaving the sides level at the break on 0-5 apiece.
The second-half continued in the same pedestrian pace with Conor Devereux and Danny Howard trading early scores.
The moments of excitement were in short supply until the 51st minute when a high ball in the Crossabeg-Ballymurn square was caught by Matty Sludds but the inrushing O'Toole put him under pressure, doing enough to bundle Sludds and the ball into the net and giving Kilanerin a three-point lead.
Kilanerin's glee was shortlived however, as Sam Kelly gathered the ball a minute later and unleashed a cracking shot to the net.
There was, all of a sudden, a scramble for scores and O'Toole gave a slight edge to his side with a point before Forde stepped up with his huge effort to ensure the win.The veteran moved up a grade the next day and his club won again.
Kilanerin: Eoin Lucey; Damien Tobin, Eddie Hughes, Lorcan Clare; Paddy Carton, Killian O'Toole, Conor Byrne; Stephen Hughes, Jim Hughes (0-2, 1 free); Willie Murphy (0-1), Peter Hughes, Danny Howard (0-1); Emmet O'Toole (1-3), Wayne Farrell, Colin Breen. Subs. - Martin Sheehan for Murphy, Donnacha McDonald for Breen, Matty Forde (0-1 free) for Howard, Richard Hughes for S. Hughes.
Crossabeg-Ballymurn: Mark O'Connor; Conor Barlow, Mick Eviston, Eoin O'Connor; Matty Sludds, Ronan Devereux, Conor Devereux (0-1); Sam Kelly (1-2, 0-1 '45), David Kehoe; Conor O'Rourke, Rob Byrne (0-1), Conor Shovlin (0-1); Evan Kinlough, Billy Roche, Niall Murphy (0-1). Subs. - Cathal Devereux for Roche, Shane Whelan for E. O'Connor.
Referee: Philip Murphy (Faythe Harriers).