The Heath claimed a vital six point win over Crettyard on Sunday evening to haul themselves out of the relegation zone, and further entrench their opponents in the mire.
The Heath had gotten away to a quick start, with centre-forward Chris Bergin landing a long-range free with just over a minute gone. A burst up field from Jimmy Nerney paved the way for The Heath’s next score, as he drew out the Crettyard defence to make room for Robbie Dowling, who slotted over the bar. Bergin then added another free from the right wing as The Heath went three clear, but Crettyard finally got going after that.
Cristóir Maher pointed a free in the 13th minute, and followed that up soon after with another free after Evan Carroll was fouled after passing off the ball. With momentum now starting to build for them, they continued to pour forward and were rewarded with an equaliser when Niall Purcell floated over a 45.
They weren’t level for long either, as they quickly pushed ahead as Maher scored from play this time as Crettyard went 0-4 to 0-3 ahead. The Heath hadn’t scored in 13 minutes but finally ended their drought when Shane Carroll set Brian Ging up 25 yards out. It was only a brief respite however, as Maher and Purcell again pointed for Crettyard to leave them 0-6 to 0-4 up at half time.
The Heath needed just two minutes to level the game, with Aidan Bergin instrumental as he won a free for one point and scored the other. Chris Bergin then tapped over his fourth free to put them ahead, and they would only streak further ahead from there.
Kieran Hyland put them two ahead when a quick turn and shot on the left wing resulted in a nice point, and Chris Bergin (free) and Brian Ging added points in quick succession. A long range effort from JP Nerney gave something of a cushion as Crettyard were now two scores behind, but they almost narrowed the lead to one.
A 21 yard free saw Cristóir Maher take a quick shot which seemed destined for the top corner, only to strike the post and rebound to safety.
With five minutes to go, Chris Bergin stroked over the last point of the game from a free after Bob Delaney was fouled, but the action didn’t stop there. In a tense closing few minutes, Crettyard’s John Graham was given a straight red card, while Jimmy Nerney picked up a second yellow card for The Heath.
SCORERS – The Heath: Chris Bergin 0-6 (all frees), Brian Ging 0-2, Robbie Dowling, Aidan Bergin, Kieran Hyland, JP Nerney 0-1 each; Crettyard: Cristóir Maher 0-4 (0-3 frees), Niall Purcell 0-2 (0-1 45)
THE HEATH: Shane Booth; Alan Whelan, Ciarán Booth, Ciarán O’Brien; Tony Connolly, Jimmy Nerney, Bob Delaney; Seamus Mulhare, Shane Carroll; Brian Ging, Chris Bergin, Robbie Dowling; Aidan Bergin, Stephen Rainsford, Kieran Hyland. Subs: JP Nerney for C Booth (half-time, inj) John Booth for Dowling (43 mins), Cathal Whelan for Hyland (55 mins), Barry Whelan for A Bergin (58 mins)
CRETTYARD: Ken Dunne; Michael Jordan, Liam Kelly, Jason Dunne; Niall Purcell, Pa Brennan, Liam Hosey; Jimmy Brennan, Conor Barry; John Graham, Cristóir Maher, Cormac Murphy; Brendan Fox, Evan Carroll, Mark Lyons. Subs: Mark Kelly for Lyons (40 mins), Jason Kelly for Fox (43 mins), Cormac Phelan for J Dunne (50 mins)
Referee: Brendan McCann (Portarlington)