Courtwood's Niall Donoher's
Courtwood have ground it out and held on to their senior status as they withstood a late rally from Arles-Kilcruise to edge home by two points.
They were the better team on the night as Niall Donoher led the charge from centre forward as the gallant Kilcruise men just came up short in the end.
Played in the Centre of Excellence, Courtwood had that bit more about them with the presence and play making of Donoher, the hard running of Sean O'Flynn and the free taking of Danny Luttrell all crucial to their win. On the flip side, Kilcruise were unlucky that David Conway picked up an injury in the opening half and struggled to even run for large parts of the second half.
They took him off late in the opening half to get him attention, brought him back on at half time but didn't last the full 30 minutes in the second half either.
Kilcruise had the better of the early exchanges with Ross Munnelly kicking the first two points of the game inside five minutes. Colm Wilson had number four on his back but started at wing forward and the Courtwood man kicked two fine scores to level matters before the 10th minute.
The low scoring nature of the game continued and after David Conway and Mick Doyle exchanged scores, Kilcruise edged ahead just before the water break to make it 0-4 to 0-3.
Courtwood had Matthew Byron to thank for a point blank save from Caomhan Brennan as his finger tips save sent the ball over he bar rather than into the net.
That was a let off for Courtwood and they came down the field and got the last score of the half from a Danny Luttrell free to give them a 0-6 to 0-5 half time lead.
Points from Luttrell and the outstanding Donoher but Courtwood three up just after the restart and it looked like they might pull away. A 10 minute scoring lull followed before Luttrell kicked over another free to make it 0-9 to 0-5 at the water break.
Kilcruise had one more big push in them. They kicked the next three points in a row in the space of two minutes with Ross Munnelly kicking two, one from a mark while David Conway converted the third to leave them just a point down coming into the final 10 minutes.
Courtwood keeper Byron was then called on again for a point blank save from Cialann Mulhall as they came under a serious attack from Kilcruise.
They managed to weather it though and two late frees from Luttrell pushed them out to a three point lead before Kilcruise sub Dylan Waters kicked the final score of the game to leave it a two point margin.
SCORERS: Danny Luttrell 0-7 (0-6 frees), Colm Wilson 0-2, Mick Doyle and Niall Donoher 0-1 each.
TEAM: Matthew Byron; Andrew Mulhare, Rob Flynn, Nathan Little; Seth Mooney-Burns, Sean O'Flynn , Paul O’Flynn; Mark O’Halloran, Danny Luttrell; Colm Wilson, Niall Donoher, David Duffy; Mick Doyle, Paddy Wilson, Cian Doyle. Subs: Matt Kelly for Duffy (61m)
SCORERS: Ross Munnelly 0-5 (0-1 free, 0-1 mark), David Conway 0-2, Caomhan Brennan and Dylan Waters 0-1 each.
TEAM: Colm Munnelly; Cialann Mulhall, PJ Lawlor, Anthony McElroy; Fran Egan, Conall Brennan, Caomhan Brennan; Kevin Meaney, Mark Wall; Alan McLoughlin, Liam Whelan, JP Conway; Ross Munnelly, David Conway, Chris Conway. Subs: Dylan Waters for D Conway (29m, inj), David Conway for Waters (half-time), Kevin O’Neill for Whelan (39m), Dylan Waters for D Conway (58m, inj)
REFEREE: Maurice Deegan (Stradbally)