Craanford 1-9 Realt na Mara 1-8
RAANFORD GOT a critical victory over Réalt na Mara in Group A in Monamolin on Sunday as they look to secure a place in the quarter-finals of the Whizzy Internet Intermediate ‘A’ football championship.
They didn’t have it easy, in fact they worked it hard despite leading all the way from the second minute after being kicked up front by Eamonn Doran.
For much of the game they seemed comfortable, but to Réalt na Mara’s credit they fought to the end.
It would be hard to argue that either side is a realistic title contender.
For Réalt na Mara a place in the round of 16 is still possible; they are a well organized but extremely limited group and realistically if they avoid a relegation playoff it will be a success.
They have the tiebreaker over St. Patrick’s and that could be vital.
At the same time, they have nothing to fear from a Glynn-Barntown team that hasn’t exactly reached the levels of previous seasons.
Craanford’s decent score spread is helpful, but they also face the undisputed best team of this group in Cloughbawn. With the Castleboro-based club secured in the top spot, they may have an eye on the quarterfinals, but it’s still hard for the Gorey district team to emerge victorious from that matchup.
If their shot selection and shot selection are better than they were in the first half here, they might have a chance. However, if they dot eight open shots from a series of tough shots, they won’t find themselves with a halftime lead like they did this time.
In fact, they were lucky to get that early lead, as with just 20 seconds on the scoreboard, James Fleming pierced through the heart of their defense and hit Stuart Byrne’s crossbar.
Réalt na Mara was down to 14 in the sixth minute, and referee James Owens had no choice but to show the black card when Dylan Sweeney drilled Aodán Whitty late when the ball was gone.
Des Kavanagh and Brendan Tobin made Craanford 0-3 to nil after the first quarter, but two quick points from Brendan Corcoran and Shane Quinn cut the gap to a minimum.
Kiran Gigi made a routine save from a Kavanagh strike in the 21st minute, but the impressive Eamonn Doran made it two more points before the interval.
That meant that, despite a late point from Tom Sinnott, Craanford led 0-5 to 0-3 at half-time. That lead increased after the break, as Doran pointed out before Brendan Tobin was brought down by Aidan Murphy for a penalty.
The offender received a black card, while the offender shook himself and sent a succulent penalty to the upper right corner.
The situation revived Réalt na Mara and after the penalty they beat Craanford a man light 0-3 to 0-2.
Sinnott, Sweeney and Kevin Jordan signed on for the Ballygarrett, Courtown and Riverchapel crew, while Joe Conroy and Tobin answered (1-8 to 0-6).
Craanford would score just one more point, a free Tobin in the 54th minute, as Réalt na Mara fought back.
There were four points when Sinnott scored his team’s only goal in the 61st minute, but their opponents dominated the ball in added time to take the spoils.
Craanford: Stuart Byrne; Paraic Redmond, Michael O’Loughlin, John Lancaster; James Doyle, Aodán Whitty, Kevin Hyland; Ollie Doran (captain), Niall Berney; Eamonn Doran (0-4), Michael Lyons, Des Kavanagh (0-1); Martin Doyle, Brendan Tobin (1-3, 0-3 free, 1-0 penalties), Joe Conroy (0-1). Substitutes – Jim Kenny for Lyons (31), Aidan Kavanagh for M. Doyle (43), Ted Kenny for D. Kavanagh (59), Michael Sinnott for Redmond (60).
Realt na Mara: Kiran Gigi; Harry Byrne, Aidan Murphy, Kyle Moore-Kavanagh; Stephen Redmond, Brendan Corcoran (0-1), John Doyle (0-1); James Fleming, Tom Sinnott (1-2, 0-1 free); Michael Bolger, Dylan Sweeney (0-1), Jack Doyle; Eddie Redmond, Shane Quinn (0-1), Sean O’Brien. substitutes – Kevin Jordan (0-2, 1 free) for Bolger (38), Johnny Sinnott for Jack Doyle (38), Farrell Doyle for E. Redmond (50), Jimmy Murphy for O’Brien (55). No bin: Dylan Sweeney (6), Aidan Murphy (30+3).
Referee: James Owens (Kilrush).