Crettyard can now breathe a sigh of relief, as they produced a match-winning performance when they needed it most to beat The Heath and secure their SFC status for 2013.
Two first half goals from Keith Nolan laid the foundations for the win, and while they laboured at times after that promising start, The Heath never really got close to them. The reward for Crettyard is that they have no more games this year, but for The Heath, they have one last hurdle to try to clear in order to retain their senior status.
It was another very poor performance from the men in black and amber, as they managed to score just seven points against a team which had conceded 9-35 in their two previous games. They lost Ciaran Booth to injury and Jimmy Nerney picked up a needless red card late in the game to leave them in even more trouble ahead of a relegation playoff against Clonaslee St Manman’s.
Keith Nolan gave them the ideal start when he took advantage of a slip up in The Heath’s defence to run through on goal, and although he appeared to shoot for a point, his effort looped over Alan Bell and in off the post for a goal. Patrick O’Reilly added a point moments later before Crettyard broke from midfield and again Nolan provided the finish with a thunderous effort.
The Heath now found themselves seven points down after just nine minutes, and finally opened their account soon after when Cathal Whelan scored a long-range free. Patrick Brennan responded soon after for Crettyard, and that would be the last score for 16 minutes of play, with the only chance of note coming to The Heath, when Cathal Whelan had a goal chance saved.
They would finish the half well though, with Luke Hyland pointing under pressure, with further points coming from Cathal Whelan and Eoin Delaney to leave them just four adrift at the break, 2-2 to 0-4.
The Heath needed to carry that form into the second half, but it was Crettyard who started the better, with Liam Kelly pointing a brace of frees to push them into a six point lead. The Heath tried to freshen things up with a couple of substitutions, but even with a stiff breeze at their backs they couldn’t create or take any scoring chances.
Cathal Whelan then pointed to finally end their scoring drought, but they were quickly running out of time. Cristóir Maher responded with a fine effort for Crettyard, and despite two points in reply from Cathal Whelan, Crettyard had done enough to earn the victory. Neither team managed a score in the final ten minutes, but The Heath did lose Jimmy Nerney to a red card when a row broke out in injury time. It mattered little in the end though, as Crettyard held on for their biggest win of the year.
SCORERS – Crettyard: Keith Nolan 2-0, Liam Kelly 0-2 (both frees), Chris Maher, Patrick Brennan, Patrick O’Reilly 0-1 each; The Heath: Cathal Whelan 0-5 (three frees), Luke Hyland, Eoin Delaney 0-1 each
THE HEATH: Alan Bell; Michael Lenihan, Ciaran Booth, Eoin Delaney; Tony Connolly, Denis Booth, Alan Whelan; Shane Carroll, Donal Bigley; Colin Nestor, Jimmy Nerney, Aidan Bergin; Cathal Whelan, Luke Hyland, Brian Ging. Subs: Mark Dowling for C Booth (21 mins – injured), Kieran Hyland for Ging (58 mins), JP Nerney for Bigley (40 mins), John Booth for L Hyland (42 mins), Barry Whelan for Nestor (50 mins)
CRETTYARD: Danny Kelly; Michael Jordan, Ciaran Hosey, Raymond Buggy; Conor Barry, Jimmy Brennan, Sean O’Reilly; John Graham, Patrick O’Reilly; Keith Nolan, Patrick Brennan, Cristóir Maher; Mark Kelly, Liam Kelly, Eddie O’Reilly. Subs: Philip Brennan for Nolan (37 mins – injured), Evan Carroll for E O’Reilly (37 mins), Cormac Murphy for P Brennan (46 mins), Sean O’Shea for S O’Reilly (54 mins)
Referee: Davy Moore (St Joseph’s)