Gorey's glory days
A dogged, relentless Naomh Eanna overcame previously unbeaten St. Martin's to take the Enniscorthy Guardian Coiste na nOg Juvenile hurling Premier championship title at Oylegate on Tuesday.
Naomh Eanna 1-13 St Martin's 0-13
The Gorey guys looked to be peaking at the right time following their big semi-final win over Faythe Harriers, and they stepped it up another level to nab the Syl Barron Cup out of the hands of holders St. Martin's.
Interestingly, it proved to be the first time this season that St. Martin's failed to find the net and that says a lot about the bedrock of this Gorey team that propelled them to victory. With Aaron Byrne holding fort in goal, David Christie, Eoin Molloy and Evan O'Dwyer were truly outstanding in the full-back line.
With the game in the last quarter St. Martin's resorted to dumping star man Michael Codd in the middle of them, looking to do the damage that he was doing further out the field, closer to goal. However, the full-back line repelled his probes like a steel wall, and Gorey held on for a deserved victory.
The champs were already leading by 0-3 to 0-2 following points from Jack Cullen (two) and Tiarnan Doyle when they forced home the goal that proved to be the difference in the end.
Callum Quirke made a good save initially from Doyle's low shot but he couldn't prevent Jack Ryan from kicking over the line on the follow-up.
After Charlie McGuckin pointed, St. Martin's hit back with Codd, Ben Stafford and Kyle Firman all on target to trail by one (1-4 to 0-6) after 25 minutes. Yet, Naomh Eanna finished the half powerfully with Cullen (two) and Michael Molloy scoring to take a 1-7 to 0-6 lead in at the interval.
The second-half was nip and tuck all the way. The Gorey lead failed to grow larger than five points but was never narrowed to less than two as Philip Dempsey and Firman for St. Martin's, Cullen and Tiarnan Doyle for Naomh Eanna, alternated the scoring responsibility.
St. Martin's did have one half-chance in the last ten minutes to find the goal they desperately needed but David Christie executed the perfect hook on Jordan Hayes, just when he looked set to score, as Gorey clung on to their lead and eventually took the title back to Páirc Uí Shíocháin.
Naomh Eanna: Aaron Byrne; Evan O'Dwyer, Eoin Molloy, David Christie; Nathan Byrne, Jack Cullen (0-9 frees), Joseph Naughton; Michael Molloy (0-1), Seán Delaney; Michael Dunne, Charlie McGuckin (0-1), Eoin Kennedy; Eddie Murphy, Tiarnan Doyle (capt., 0-2), Jack Ryan (1-0). Subs. (not used) - Dillon Connolly, Larry Cullen, Tom Cleary, Oran Fitzpatrick, Jordan Nolan, Derek Woods, Corey Meyler, Jack Molloy, Shane Stokes, Patrick Dwyer, Ronan Thornton, Eoin Collins, Robert Kenny, Martin Kavanagh.
St. Martin's: Callum Quirke; Sam Audsley, Ben Maddock, Diarmuid Barry; Adam Cantwell, Eoin O'Leary, Ben Stafford (0-1); Michael Codd (0-1), Jack Devereux; Paddy Gallagher, Philip Dempsey (0-3), Adam McLoughlin; Rory Cullen, Kyle Firman (capt., 0-8, 5 frees, 2 '65s), Liam O Lionáin. Subs. - Jordan Hayes for Gallagher (20), Simon Curran for Cullen (46), also David Corcoran, Aaron Clancy, Matthew Duffy, Philip McGrath, Tony Rowe.
Referee: Brendan Martin (Ballyhogue).