Geraldine O'Hanrahans 2-9 Craanford 2-8
For a while it looked as if Geraldine O'Hanrahans would lose a comfortable nine-point lead, but they somehow managed to withstand a second-half Craanford surge to eventually emerge with a one-point victory in this Joyces Expert Intermediate 'A' football championship Group A game in St. Patrick's Park, Enniscorthy, on Sunday.
This was largely a game of two halves as the New Ross town side dominated the opening 30 minutes, having got off to a lightning start with two goals in the opening quarter.
However, the second-half belonged to Craanford as they staged a dramatic recovery helped by two goals within within 60 seconds of the re-start.
In the end though, the Geraldines managed to hold out for a narrow victory, with the two points helping them in their fight against a relegation battle.
Inside the opening two minutes Dylan Egan had kicked over two points to settle his side's challenge. The same player followed with an excellent 13th-minute goal, finishing with a superb low left-footed shot to the corner of the net.
One minute later Barry Roche found the net from close in, a score that helped his side to a 2-8 to 0-5 interval lead, with Pat Murray (two), John Fleming, Ger Lyons and James Smyth responding for the north county side.
The game was transformed within one minute of the re-start. Straight from the throw-in Pat Murray collected a quick ball inside to crash it across the 'keeper into the opposite corner of the net, while Craanford returned to the attack straight from the kick-out for James Smyth to find the net, reducing the deficit to just three points.
However, both sides now began to find scoring extremely difficult with chances being limited, but when recent county Senior Robbie Vallejo got his side's first second-half score, a 53rd-minute point it, it gave them a 2-9 to 2-7 lead to take into the closing stages.
Craanford pressed in search of crucial scores but all they had to show for late pressure was a Jamesie Nolan pointed free, with the Ross side holding firm in a tense finish.
Geraldine O'Hanrahans: David Merrigan; Gerry Cash, Barry Kelly, Robbie Vallejo (0-1); Danielius Niekis, David Crowdle (0-1), Eoin Kelly (0-1); Dylan Egan (1-3), Mossie Somers; Enda Kelly, Michael Cullen (0-2), Seán Culleton (0-1); Dylan Wickham, Tony Murphy, Barry Roche (1-0). Sub. - Tommy Doran for Cullen.
Craanford: Bob Flynn; Michael Sinnott, James Byrne, Joe Berney; Des Kavanagh, Shane Kavanagh, Michael O'Loughlin; Niall Berney, Peter Kavanagh; Michael Lyons, Pat Murray (1-2, 0-1 free), James Smyth (1-1); Ger Lyons (0-1 free), Matthew Nolan, John Fleming (0-1). Subs. - Pat Kenny for Sinnott, James O'Loughlin (0-1) for Lyons, Ollie Doran (0-1) for Nolan, Jamesie Nolan (0-1 free) for Fleming.
Referee: Stephen Burke (Volunteers).