*Diarmuid O’Brien and Cian Dillon contest the dropping ball. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
A dramatic chink of light at the end of a cauldron of tension saw Danny Reddan pop up with a last gasp equalising point as Broadford sent Crusheen crashing into the dreaded relegation group.
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis
In the end, score difference would see Broadford consolidate their senior status after hitting the last three points in what was a character-filled display of persistence and sheer grit. Broadford’s failure to turn chances into scores appeared costly amidst 14 wides as Crusheen looked the more efficient side. However, with the battle taking its toll in terms of casualties, Crusheen were merely hanging on for a finish, a dangerous game that ultimately went against them when impact substitute Padraig Hickey inspired a brace of points before wing-back Danny Reddan took the plaudits with that leveller from 60 metres in the 65th minute.
Seeing was believing as hurling went out the window for long tracts of a tense tie as this dogfight magnified every possession and errors were plentiful amidst the inclement conditions.
Broadford began the brighter, even if they did struggle to manifest that on the scoreboard as Diarmuid Moloney and Breffni Horner traded eye-catching points while there would also be goal chances at either end for Stiofan McMahon who tested Donal Tuohy’s reflexes while Fergus Kennedy just got the ball stuck in his feet when put through by Conor O’Donnell.
An impressive Eoin O’Brien lineball allied to a Stiofan McMahon point ensured a 0-3 to 0-1 first quarter lead for the 2019 Intermediate champions, with the roles reversed in the second quarter as Crusheen finally settled with six of the last seven points.
Freetaker Ross Hayes (2) along with fellow young guns Luke Ketelaar, Oisin O’Donnell and Breffni Horner did the majority of the damage as Crusheen took a 0-7 to 0-4 advantage into the break. That margin would be sustained by the turn of the final quarter too after six wides halted Broadford’s comeback hopes at 0-8 to 0-5.
They simply never gave up though and that persistence would be eventually rewarded in injury-time as impact sub Padraig Hickey scored one and earned a subsequent free for Stiofan McMahon to convert as Broadford slashed the arrears to the minimum.
However, their bravest move would be saved for last as Craig Chaplin played a crossfield lineball from halfway into the path of Reddan who cooly slotted over from 60 metres for a valuable draw that sees Broadford gladly take their place in the Senior B Championship.
On the flip side, Crusheen will have to patch themselves up for three more battles in the relegation series with Clarecastle, Clooney-Quin and O’Callaghan’s Mills that starts in less than a fortnight’s time.
Scorers for Broadford: Stiofan McMahon (0-4, 2f); Eoin O’Brien (0-2, 1f, 1s/l); Diarmuid Moloney, Padraig Hickey, Danny Reddan (0-1 each)
Scorers for Crusheen: Ross Hayes (0-4f); Breffni Horner (0-2); Luke Ketelaar, Oisin O’Donnell, Conor O’Donnell (0-1 each)
1: Cian O’Brien
2: Darragh Whelan
3: Eoin Donnellan
4: Cian Mulqueen
5: Paurig Taylor
6: Darren Chaplin
7: Danny Reddan
8: Paddy Donnellan
17: Davy Boland
19: Eoin O’Brien
11: Diarmuid O’Brien
10: Cathal Chaplin
15: Mark Moloney
14: Stiofan McMahon
13: Diarmuid Moloney
18: Oisin Kavanagh for E. O’Brien (HT)
21: Padraig Hickey for M. Moloney (51, inj)
9: Craig Chaplin for Cathal Chaplin (55)
1: Donal Tuohy
8: Tadhg Dean
4: Eanna McMahon
2: John Brigdale
23: Ciaran O’Doherty
6: Cian Dillon
5: Ross Hayes
7: Cilléin Mullins
12: Jamie Fitzgibbon
13: Murrough McMahon
15: Conor O’Donnell
9: Oisin O’Donnell
17: Luke Ketelaar
11: Fergus Kennedy
14: Breffni Horner
10: Diarmuid Mullins for Horner (41, inj)
3: Cathal Dillon for O. O’Donnell (57, inj)
20: Conor Hayes for Brigdale (63, inj)
Referee: Niall Malone (Éire Óg)