Cumann Pheadaír Naofa 4-6
In the blues last game of the all-county league and missing several key players through injury and holidays this was going to be a real challenge to see if the blues could put last weeks’ nightmare of a game behind them when faced with the strongest team in the county, Portaferry with the abysmal weather conditions not being conducive to good hurling after the long journey.
Fielding a slightly weaker side the blues took an early lead when Oran Murney opened the scoring with a point from play, indeed the constant running and play making of Tiarnan Kelly and James Sweeney in midfield proved to be the difference in the end as they made sure that the blues forwards of Darragh Austin, Jarlath Donnelly, Oran Murney and Ruairí McIntyre were not lacking in possession. But Ballycran didn’t travel to Milltown just to fulfil a fixture and it was them that stuck for goal first, twice in fact, as the blues suddenly faced the fact that the Ballycran side could possibly beat them. Tiarnan Kelly had the blues second goal shortly after, when he was well set up by midfield partner James Sweeney, but for a third time the blues saw the Ards boys put the sliotar in their net for a well-deserved lead. To their credit Cumann Pheadaír Naofa battled hard and backs Ben Lock, Caolan Freer, Oisín Ruane and Evan McLoughlin tightened up to give the Ballycran boys less room to move the sliotar so freely. It was the combined efforts of the defence and the hard working midfielders that saw Ruairí McIntyre collect the sliotar and strike for the blues first goal, a fine individual effort. Halftime CPN were behind 1-2 to 3-0.
In the second half the blues proved to be a much more accomplished team and when Jarlath Donnelly struck for a superb goal and Darragh Austin followed it up with an awesome point under pressure to level the scores, the complexion of the game had changed. The blues took the lead with another point when Oran Murney dropped the sliotar over the bar, but the blues lead was short lived as Ballycran pulled away with a gaol and a point to take a three-point lead with just ten minutes to go. It was then that the blues took the game by the scruff of the neck and as they say “cometh the hour, cometh the man” a super catch by Oisín Ruane and great delivery into Ruairí McIntyre saw him score a super point from out on the side-line. Within a minute Ruairí was fouled in possession and he got, gathered himself and calmly slotted his free over the bar to makes it a one-point game once more. Again Ballycran pointed to leave the blues needing a goal to change the result in their favour. It came down to player of the game, Tiarnan Kelly who once more proved to be a real asset to the blues cause, as he gathered the sliotar, broke two tackles, side stepped a third and unleashed a bullet like strike giving the Ballycran keeper no chance. Straight from the puck out Tiarnan caught the sliotar and as the Ballycran defence were caught flat footed his speculative goal bound shot flew straight into an open net for the last score of the game.
CPN were: Tiarnan Kelly 2-1, Ruairí McIntyre 1-2, Jarlath Donnelly 1-0, Oran Murney 0-2, Darragh Austin 0-1