Spectators in Bill Delaney Park, Stradbally were treated to a seven goal thriller on Saturay afternoon as Crettyard/Killeshin overcame the challenge of Graiguecullen with six points to spare to book their place in the final.
Both sides hit 14 scores on the day but in the end it was Crettyard/Killeshin’s killer instinct in front of goal that proved to be the deciding factor in the game.
Crettyard/Killeshin were aided by the wind in the opening half, and they took full advantage of it as they slotted four goals past Paddy Branagan in the Graiguecullen goals. Eoin Lowry was on hand to bag a brace of goals, the first of which came from the penalty spot, while Evan O’Carroll and Stephen Attride completed their four-goal first half blitz.
Eoin O’Shea and Evan O’Carroll bagged two points apiece also for Crettyard/Killeshin, while an Eoin Lowry point made up their 4-5 tally. Graiguecullen’s Dale Byrne landed a brace, while Bobby Doogue grabbed a goal before the break to see Crettyard/Killeshin lead on a scoreline of 4-5 to 1-5 at the break.
Having trailed by twelve points at one stage in the game, a second half revival spurred on by the wind saw Graiguecullen remarkably pull the game back to within two points. Two points apiece from Dale Byrne and Danny Alsybury, and one from Lee Timmons edged Graiguecullen closer, before Aaron Forbes grabbed a timely goal.
The reintroduction of Stephen Attride steadied the Crettyard/Killeshin ship, and they went forward to with Evan O’Carroll landing his second goal of the day to give them some breathing space once again.
A Dale Byrne brace kept Graigue in touch and closed the gap to three points approaching the final ten minutes, but this was as close as they came as Crettyard/Killeshin pushed on and finished up six points clear thanks to points from Lowry (2) and O’Carroll.
Crettyard/Killeshin will now go on to meet Portlaoise in the final following their victory over St Joseph’s/Barrowhouse in the other semi-final.
Scorers - Crettyard/Killeshin: Evan O’Carroll 2-3 (0-2f); Eoin Lowry 2-3 (1-1f); Stephen Attride 1-0; Eoin O’Shea 0-2; Jeff McDermott 0-1. Graiguecullen: Dale Byrne 0-7 (0-4f); Bobby Doyle 1-0; Aaron Forbes 1-0 ; Danny Alsybury 0-3; Lee Timmons 0-2f.
CRETTYARD/KILLESHIN: Adam Brennan; Brian Lowry, Kevin Ryan, James Davis; Eoin Farrell, David McDermott, Jeff McDermott; Eoin Brennan, Ruairi Mannion; Cormac Murphy, Stephen Attride, Mark Lyons; Eoin O’Shea, Evan O’Carroll, Eoin Lowry. Subs: Aaron McGrath for Stephen Attride, Stephen Attride for O’Shea, Cormac Phelan for Eoin Farrell, Ronan Phelan for Mark Lyons.
GRAIGUECULLEN: Paddy Branagan; Jamie Malone, Wayne Humphries, Eoin Alsybury; Pádraig Murphy, Jimmy Bolton, Gearóid Cuddy; Daniel O’Reilly, Lee Timmons; Barry Regan, Danny Alsybury, Bobby Doyle; John Branagan, Aaron Forbes, Dale Byrne. Subs: Julian Strain for Barry Regan.