Naas 2-17 Camross 1-17
By Barry McEvoy at Laois Hire O’Moore Park
Naas eventually prevailed following a lively encounter with Camross in Portlaoise.
Jack Sheridan led the charge as the visitors took a six-point lead at half time, but a commendable second half comeback from the hosts meant Naas had to defend for their lives in injury time.
The game opened with frees being converted as Zeenan Keenan and Jack Sheridan traded a brace before Tomas Keyes got the opener from play on nine minutes for Camross, soon replied to by Brian Byrne.
Keenan cut over the score of the half from a sideline on the 45 and followed with a free to edge Camross in front, but Naas soon found their range and would hit the next 1-3 to no response.
Sheridan made amends for a rare missed free with a point under pressure and he followed with a masterful goal into the top corner after Simon Leacy picked off a handpass on the Camross 21.
Cian Boran struck from play before Sheridan added another free to put four between the sides.
Naas were rolling and Sheridan continued to fire over frees alongside points from Leacy and Cian Boran.
Camross had Keenan to thank for keeping them in touch with his dead ball accuracy, but they couldn’t hold off the Naas attack and two monstrous frees, including one from 90 metres from Sheridan before half time meant the Kildare champions led 1-11 to 0-8 at half time.
Keenan cut the gap by three early in the second half before Sheridan saw a penalty dribble wide at the other end.
Undeterred Sheridan came back strongly with two scores either side of a fantastic Brian Byrne goal after a delightful flick inside by Rian Boran.
Momentum swung back to the hosts as Keenan popped over frees and added a goal as he rocketed a 21 metre free into the net.
Kevin Aherne, Sheridan and Boran all pointed back for Naas to gain a five point lead with minutes left.
Tomas Keyes set up a tense finish with a brace of points leaving Camross chasing a levelling goal.
A huge effort at the back from Naas denied Camross as Gallagher saved several shots and gathered two 65s before finally having to face a second 21 metre free from Keenan, this time they got enough bodies behind to see it out.
Scorers for Naas: Jack Sheridan 1-10 (8fs, 1 65), Brian Byrne 1-1, Cian Boran 0-3, Simon Leacy 0-1, Kevin Aherne 0-1, James Burke 0-1.
Scorers for Camross: Zane Keenan 1-13 (1-11fs, 1 sideline), Tomas Keyes 0-3, Liam Delaney 0-1.
Naas: Cormac Gallagher; John McKeon, Ross Kelly, Peter O’Donoghue; Harry Carroll, Sean Gainey, Kevin Whelan; Rian Boran, Simon Leacy; Conan Boran, Kevin Aherne, Ferran O’Sullivan; Brian Byrne, Jack Sheridan, Cian Boran.
Subs: James Burke for O’Sullivan (39), Cathal Dowling for Aherne (62).
Camross: Tadgh Doran; Darragh Duggan, Cathal Cuddy, Joe Phelan; Eoin Dowling, Eoin Gaughan, Tom Cuddy; Dwane Palmer, Odhran Phelan; Andrew Collier, Liam Delaney, Zane Keenan; Tomas Keyes, Mark Dowling, Dan Delaney.
Subs: Ciaran Collier for O Phelan (38), Gearoid Burke for Delaney (41), Lorcan Burke for Gaughan (48), Oisin Bennett for A Collier (56).
Referee: Caymon Flynn (Westmeath)