Croom will play Mullinahone in the Munster Club JFC semi-final after defeating Ballyduff Lower in Bruff on Saturday.
They led their Waterford opponents 0-4 to 0-2 at the break and held their nerve to set up their last-four clash this weekend. The south Limerick club reached the Munster Championship despite losing the county final to Monaleen, advancing from the province as their opponents also have a senior team.
For former Limerick dual star, and member of the Croom backroom team, Stephen Lucey, it was a hugely important victory.
“We weren’t happy with our county final performance. We went too conservative to be honest. So we changed tack and said we would go for broke. The shackles were off and thankfully it worked out.”
Croom started brightly as scores from Mark O’Riordan, Jamie Greaves and Mark O’Kelly gave them a 0-3 to 0-1 advantage after 16 minutes. That advantage remained in place at the break.
Croom scored two of the next three points but there was a kick from Ballyduff Lower and a fine Eoin Cummins point gave the Waterford men hope and the closed the gap to one entering the final stages.
However, Ryan O’Shea saw Croom home with his second score to book their semi-final spot.
Lucey’s playing time may now be limited due to injury issues, but he is delighted to be still able to contribute alongside former county teammate O’Riordan, as well as helping the younger generation.
“It might be time for myself and Razor (O’Riordan) to hang up the boots,” joked Lucey. “It’s transition. We are kind of blooding management and players at the same time.”
Scorers for Croom: M O’Kelly 0-3 (2f), R O’Shea 0-2, M O’Riordan, J Greaves and E O’Farrell 0-1 each.
Scorers for Ballyduff Lower: E Cummins 0-3 (1f), J Lyons 0-2 and E Power (1f) 0-1.
CROOM: S Burke; P Brennan, A Morrissey, D Hayes; D Woulfe, E Cregan, J Quirke; R O’Shea, M O’Riordan; D O’Farrell, J Greaves, K Laffan; M Cahill, M Reidy, M O’Kelly.
Subs: E O’Farrell for Cahill (39), J Malone for O’Riordan (48), S Lucey for D O’Farrell (57), D Lucey for O’Kelly (59).
BALLYDUFF LOWER: A Carroll; G O’Rourke, C Power, B Power; C O’Brien, C Murphy, C Millea; C Lyons, J Lyons; D Reade, D Cheasty, R Dunphy; J Harrington, E Power, D Dixon.
Subs: E Cummins for Reade (10, inj), A Foley for Dixon (41), N Clifford for Harrington (47), R Coffey O’Shea for E Power (60).
Referee: D Grogan (Tipperary)