Crettyard Gaels 0-15
By Pat Delaney
Twelve months ago Emo left the pitch after suffering a heavy double digit defeat but then returned to play in two county finals. On Sunday, after one of the most entertaining games of the weekend, Pat Ryan’s charges suffered another defeat, but only by a single point and must now regroup for another battle for survival.
Crettyard competed in the second tier of the league and came close to making the knock out stages and all the football they played certainly stood to them. At the end they celebrated survival again, and the rest will be a bonus.
Crettyard were quick off the mark and went in front in the second minute when Cormac Murphy converted a free, and 60 minutes later he kicked the winning point.
Emo were level minutes later when Paul Lawlor converted a free and then put last year’s finalists in front with another free. He would add number three soon afterwards but in between Cormac Murphy added his second and it looked like it would be a shoot out between the two.
Cristoir Maher levelled matters after 18 minutes, the game’s first score from play. Emo began to dominate but Paul Lawlor hit a wide before John Booth had their first score from play in the 21st minute. Maher added his second and it was all square again.
Cha Dwyer had dragged Ballinakill through the hurling championship a week earlier, and was expected to repeat the feat here, but without a stick his radar was not good kicking three wides before the interval.
Mick Nash and Evin Costelloe exchanged points and Paul Lawlor edged Emo in front in the final minute of the half but Conor Murphy levelled matters again. In injury time Nigel Murphy had the score of the half to put Emo in front 0-7 to 0-6 at the break.
Whatever Sammy said to Cha at the break it worked because he scored the equaliser within a minute of the resumption and Cormac Murphy edged the coalminers in front two minutes later.
Paul Lawlor levelled matters and when Darren Strong landed two superb points it looked as Emo might pull away. But Cormac Murphy cancelled out the two point advantage and when he landed his seventh the teams were all square with 10 minutes remaining.
Mick Lawlor edged his side back in front but a great point by Jim Brennan levelled matters with seven minutes remaining. Crettyard introduced two more hurlers, Sean Downey and Paul Simms, and the latter, playing his first championship at this level, kicked a superb point off his left foot to edge Crettyard in front with three minutes left.
A superb left foot effort by Darren Strong levelled once again but Murphy’s Law prevailed and calmly Cormac kicked what proved to be the winner.
Emo tried desperately to rescue the game but it ended in disaster with full back Niall Wheeler being sent off.
EMO: Paul Kirwan; Shane Murphy, Niall Wheeler, Paddy Dunne; Ray Ryan, Glen Brophy, Mick Lawlor (0-1); Darren Strong (0-3), Mark Carney; Evin Costelloe (0-1), Nigel Murphy (0-1), Finbar Crowley; John Booth (0-1), Paul Lawlor (0-7), David Gorman.
Subs: Conor Lawlor for Booth (50m), Chris Gleeson for M Lawlor (55m)
CRETTYARD GAELS: Jeff Moran; Ciaran Hosey, Sean O’Shea, Pat Gorman; Cormac Phelan, Podge Lalor, Pat Brennan; Pat O’Reilly, James Brennan (0-1); Michael Nash (0-1), Cristoir Maher (0-3), Niall Purcell; Willie Fitzpatrick, Cormac Murphy (0-9).
Subs: Paul Simms (0-1) for Nash (50m), Sean Downey for Fitzpatrick (51m)
Referee: Davy Moore (St Joseph’s)