Hat-trick Hamitlon strikes for Martin's
A first-half treble from ace attacker Becky Hamilton set St. Martin's on their way to yet another title - this time it was the Wexford People Under-16 camogie Premier championship heading from Innovate Wexford Park on Friday down the road to Piercestown.
St Martin's 4-07 Glynn Barntown 3-06
The full-forward grabbed a hat-trick, and really should have earned her side a penalty too, as the victors used a powerful first-half display to edge past a spirited Glynn-Barntown in what was an entertaining, open match throughout.
Indeed, with a little luck in the second-half the Killurin girls might just have dragged themselves back from a seven-point interval deficit (3-4 to 1-3) to force extra-time, or maybe even snatch what would have been a stunning win.
Alas, there's a reason why St. Martin's are stacking up the under-age camogie titles - this one joins the Under-14 equivalent won eleven days earlier - and that's the fact that they are putting out excellent teams packed with talented players right up through the ages.
They were made to work for this one as Holly Hynes' ball into the space between goalkeeper and full-back line was pounced on by Eva Crean who flicked an effort to Tara Doyle's net with just 34 seconds on the clock.
Hamilton was clobbered when shooting close to goal two minutes later, sending the forward to the ground and the sliothar wide, but no penalty was forthcoming from an overall out-of-form Justin Heffernan.
Quality players don't fade away after a thumping and Hamilton brushed herself off to goal four minutes later. It was the diminutive Emma Codd with the feed into the goalmouth; Emma Kelly kept it out as Ciara O'Connor attempted to net but Hamilton nipped in amongst them to flick home.
Hamilton and Cora Doyle traded points before the O'Connors, Ella and Ciara, pointed to leave St. Martin's 1-3 to 1-1 ahead. More swapping of minors followed through Hynes and Lettie Whelan before the victors found the net again.
Ella O'Connor's long ball was difficult to deal with under the crossbar. Emma Kelly did well to force it away but Hamilton anticipated perfectly and pulled to the net from the rebound.
Three minutes later and the hat-trick was complete when Codd's pass was again taken in by Hamilton and she handpassed to the net to leave her side 3-4 to 1-2 ahead. Glynn-Barntown added an injury time point through Emma Sweeney but still trailed by seven at the interval.
Again an exchange of points between Doyle and Hamliton meant that not much had changed on the scoreboard after 35 minutes, but Glynn-Barntown were slowly growing in confidence and playing the better camogie.
They pulled a goal back when Róisín Cooney's shot was saved by Tara Doyle but Crean followed up to nab her second major. St. Martin's response was immediate and Ciara O'Connor's handpassed goal just two minutes later proved to be the most important score of the game for the champs.
That was especially true as Glynn-Barntown had several chances to goal, with Sweeney and Hynes both coming within inches of getting their side back into the final.
It was 4-6 to 2-6 heading into added time after a Whelan free for St. Martin's and points from Sweeney and Doyle at the other end.
The goal Glynn-Barntown so desperately needed earlier came four minutes into added time when Hynes eventually finished to the net after a Clodagh Jackman effort was initially saved and a Sweeney shot was blocked.
With the tempo ratcheted up to the max, St. Martin's kept their cool, pointed though Siobhán Alouf, and held on to take the cup back to Piercestown after one huge battle with a disappointed but not broken group of Glynn-Barntown girls.
St. Martin's: Tara Doyle; Lucy McGuinness, Niamh Dunne, Kate Frayne; Alannah Davis, Anna Hennessy, Anna Mai Stafford; Ella O'Connor (0-1), Megan Carty; Mary Barrett (capt.), Emma Codd, Anna Mulligan; Lettie Whelan (0-2 frees), Becky Hamilton (3-2), Ciara O'Connor (1-1). Subs. - Siobhán Alouf (0-1) for Stafford (42), Ciara Harrington for Davis, inj. (52), Ellie Mernagh for McGuinness (60 + 2), also Peig Busher-O'Sullivan, Ciara Whelan, Claire Culleton, Rachael Reid, Aine Coleman.
Glynn-Barntown: Emma Kelly (joint capt.); Niamh Buckley, Caoimhe Neville, Eva Arthur; Aisling Halligan, Clodagh Jackman (joint capt.), Emma Goff; Jessie Morrissey, Cora Doyle (0-3 frees); Sophie Connolly, Róisín Cooney, Holly Hynes (1-1); Eva Crean (2-0), Emma Sweeney (0-2), Clodagh White. Subs. - Emma Dempsey for White (15), Andrea Carley for Crean (48), also Lara O'Shea, Kayleigh Furlong, Orla Neiland, Sally Walker, Ellen Murphy, Alanna Randall, Katie Barron.
Referee: Justin Heffernan (Blackwater).