An overcast sky in Timahoe provided the backdrop for a comprehensive twelve point victory for Crettyard following their stellar second half performance which saw them fire 3-5 at Ballyroan’s expense to claim the Intermediate title.
Following quite an evenly matched first half which saw Crettyard lead at the interval on a bleak scoreline of three points to two, they pulled out all the stops in the second half with three emphatic goals to blow Ballyroan out of the water.
Crettyard looked dangerous from the outset and opened the scoring after just three minutes with pacy wing-forward Caoimhe Simms weaving her way through the Ballyroan defence before cooly slotting the ball over the crossbar for the first point of the day.
Crettyard continued to assert themselves on the game and doubled their lead to two points with full-forward Aisling Behan finding her range after eight minutes as Ballyroan looked flat footed in the opening minutes.
The first half was proving to be dreary affair with both sides ‘dragging their heals’ to an extent, with their lack of composure in front of goal quickly becoming the predominant theme of the game. In the first half alone Ballyroan were accountable for six scoreable wides, while Crettyard racked up a staggering and blatantly wasteful ten wides.
With no adverse weather conditions to blame, or even a wet pitch, it simply must have been the occasion of a county final that was lingering in the players’ minds.
Ballyroan finally overcame their mental block and set their side of the scoreboard in motion after a quarter of an hour with Eimer McWey calmly slotting a free to leave just a point separating the sides after a low-scoring opening to the game.
Ballyroan put their slow start behind them to draw level with Eimer McWey grabbing her second consecutive point from a free as Ballyroan looked to be finding their footing in the game at exactly the right time.
Crettyard closed out the half on a high with Linda Brennan grabbing an injury time point to see them go in a point ahead at the break. By any standard, a collective tally of five points between two teams after thirty minutes of play reflects a poor opening half of football. That said, Crettyard completely lifted the standard in the second half and were almost like a different team.
Crettyard restarted the game with a bang, and after just two minutes they had claimed their first of three goals for the half to come. Full-forward Aisling Behan stormed through the ballyroan defence before rifling the ball past Shalane Phelan in the Ballyroan goal to extend their lead to four points.
Crettyard followed up their impressive start to the second half with a further two points in quick succession from Sarah McEvoy and Ciara Kelly as Crettyard opened up a six point lead within ten minutes of the restart.
Ballyroan eventually found their composure and notched two points with the first coming from centre-back Clodagh Dunne, and the second from the ever-reliable Eimer McWey to cut the deficit back to four points with fifteen minutes left to play.
Crettyard quashed any notion of a Ballyroan revival and took control of the game for the final quarter. In just eleven minutes Crettyard racked up an impressive tally of 2-4 to seal victory, and the intermediate title in the process. Sarah McEvoy was on hand to slot 1-1, while Marie Mahon wandered forward from her defensive position to claim the final goal to put the result beyond doubt.
SCORERS - Crettyard: Sarah McEvoy (0-1 free) and Aisling Behan 1-2 each, Marie Mahon 1-0, Caoimhe Simms, Linda Brennan, Ciara Kelly and Ceire Whelan 0-1 each; Ballyroan: Eimear McWey 0-4 (two frees), Clodagh Dunne 0-1
CRETTYARD: Claire Kelly; Marie Mahon, Alison O’Reilly, Laura Buggy; Sharon Kelly, Patrice Whelan, Sarah Haughney; Sarah McEvoy, Tara Kelly; Caoimhe Simms, Linda Brennan, Ciara Kelly; Niamh Smith, Aisling Behan, Sarah Fleming. SUBS: Natasha Donoghue for Sarah Fleming; Ceire Whelan for Ciara Kelly; Annmarie O’Reilly for Marie Mahon; Clodagh Whelan for Sarah Haughney.
BALLYROAN: Shalane Phelan; Jenny Scully, Gemma Corcoran, Leanne Wall; Aine Delaney, Clodagh Dunne, Laura Corcoran; Ciara Delaney, Rosie Phelan; Rachel Corcoran, Eimer McWey, Leanne Hanrahan; Orla McWey, Aoife McWey, Laura Whelan. SUBS: Eimilie McWey for Leanne Hanrahan.
Referee: Kevin Phelan