*Cathal McInerney controls the sliotar ahead of Colin Ryan. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
It had to take a late brace of goals to finally rubber-stamp Cratloe’s first semi-final appearance in three years following a deserved derby victory over Newmarket-on-Fergus in Cusack Park on Saturday afternoon.
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis
The seeds of victory were sown in a dominant first half display in which led by the electric Podge Collins, seven different scorers contributed to a powerful second quarter in which Cratloe outscored their neighbours by 0-9 to 0-2 to ease 0-14 to 0-5 clear by the break.
That cushion would eventually be stretched to ten at the start of the second period. However, far from being game over, the Blues, who were surprisingly lacking their usual battling qualities, finally found their feet with the aid of the conditions.
A brace of Eoin Guilfoyle goal chances went abegging but Newmarket remained steadfast, with a five point unanswered blitz from play through Colin Ryan, Eoin Hayes, Peter Power, Niall O’Connor and Eoin Guilfoyle slashed the deficit to just four entering the final quarter at 0-16 to 0-12.
Cratloe did relievedly halt a 15 minute barren patch through points from Shane Gleeson and the immense Diarmuid Ryan by the 52nd minute, only to be sucker-punched by a superb Peter Power strike that billowed the left corner of the net following great work from Eoin Hayes at 0-19 to 1-14.
It seemed to come at just the right time for Newmarket but as quickly as they gathered momentum, they would be left deflated by a devastating brace of Cratloe goals within the space of a minute nearing the hour mark.
The first was a brilliant solo goal from Rian Considine to turn his marker and finish to the net while he inadvertently turned provider for the second in the next passage of play as he shot was only parried into the path of substitute Sean Gallagher to providing the finishing touches at 2-21 to 1-15
Newmarket did score a consolation goal with the final puck of the game when a foul on Coin Guilfoyle saw Colin Ryan emphatically convert the penalty to the right corner. However, there was no denying the merits of Cratloe’s victory, even if they made harder work of it than entirely necessary.
Scorers for Cratloe: Rian Considine (1-8, 3f, 3’65); Cathal McInerney, Shane Gleeson, Diarmuid Ryan (0-3 each); Sean Gallagher (1-0); Podge Collins, Conor McGrath (0-2 each); Daithi Collins, Shane Neville (0-1 each)
Scorers for Newmarket-on-Fergus: Colin Ryan (1-4, 1-0 Pen, 1f, 1’65); Peter Power (1-2, 1f); Liam Clancy (0-3f); Eoin Guilfoyle, Mikey McInerney (0-2 each); Colin Guilfoyle, Eoin Hayes, Niall O’Connor (0-1 each)
1: Gearoid Ryan
4: Damien Browne
3: Liam Markham
2: David Collins
5: Shane Neville
6: Diarmuid Ryan
7: Sean Collins
8: Daithi Collins
19: Sam Sheehy
13: Shane Gleeson
12: Cathal McInerney
9: Conor McGrath
11: Padraic Collins
14: Mikey Hawes
15: Rian Considine
20: Jack Donnelly for Sheedy (46)
22: Sean Gallagher for D. Collins (48)
17: Emmet Costigan for Daithi Collins (61)
1: Ronan McCormack
2: Sean O’Connor
3: James McInerney
4: Jack Enright
5: Colin Guilfoyle
6: Enda Barrett
7: Stephen Casey
8: Paudie McMahon
10: Mikey McInerney
14: Colin Ryan
11: John Feehily
12: Liam Clancy
15: Peter Power
9: Eoin Guilfoyle
13: Éanna Crimmins
17: Niall O’Connor for Enright (27)
18: Eoin Hayes for Clancy (HT)
20: Frank Melody for N. O’Connor (60, inj)
Referee: Niall Malone (Éire Óg)