Martin's on rise
Bunclody pipped in tight decider
Winning is the best habit of the lot, and the second string of St. Martin's footballers offer the perfect example.
St. Martin's 1-9 HWH-Bunclody2-5
While their Seniors have ultimately flattered to deceive in the past two seasons, the same certainly cannot be said about the club's Juniors who added the Enniscorthy Farm Systems 'A' football championship title to last year's 'B' success with a one-point win over HWH-Bunclody in Oylegate on Saturday.
The first adult county final of the year could have gone either way, and the losers were aggrieved at the end after referee Jack Stafford blew the long whistle after two minutes and eight seconds of added time.
HWH-Bunclody were pressing hard at that stage, after Darren Kehoe kicked only their third wide of the afternoon from a long-range free, but St. Martin's defended another placed ball from the same player to continue their remarkable rise through the grades.
The Wexford District side had opened brightly as Eoghan Rackard fisted a point and Richard Devereux doubled their lead, but their shooting attempts were generally wayward and they ended up with twelve misses.
HWH-Bunclody captain David Reck got his side off the mark from a tight angle, only for Devereux to double his tally before a high kick from distance by Alan Kehoe was punched over by netminder John Byrne in the eighth minute (0-4 to 0-1).
Martin's captain Pádraig Morrissey made a vital goal-line clearance before they fell behind for the first time. Darren Kehoe followed up his point with a defence-splitting pass to Jamie John Murphy who coolly picked his spot in the corner of the net for a 1-2 to 0-4 lead after 16 minutes, and the goalscorer could have doubled his tally shortly afterwards but saw his soccer-style effort go narrowly wide.
The advantage was widened to 1-4 to 0-5 after points from John Connors and Darren Kehoe (free) on either side of a Diarmuid Byrne placed ball conversion at the other end.
And the opening half ended on a lively note with a brace of goals. St. Martin's were first to pounce, regaining their advantage when John Byrne rose to collect a long free from Diarmuid Byrne but didn't manage a clean catch. Instead the ball broke to Alan Kehoe who side-footed it to Eoghan Rackard, and he applied the finishing touch (1-5 to 1-4).
That lead was shortlived though as Timmy Bolger won a one-on-one tussle from a long Darren Kehoe free and fed David Reck who did a Seamus Coleman on it by practically walking the ball into the net.
Just five points were recorded on the re-start, and HWH-Bunclody will rue the fact that they only registered one more time, from a Darren Kehoe '45 in the 35th minute.
Alan Kehoe (free) had pulled a point back beforehand, and the three subsequent scores that ultimately won the Duffin-Browne Memorial Cup for St. Martin's were extremely hard-earned.
Luke White made it 2-5 to 1-7 in the 40th minute after a Kehoe free was spilled in the square, but the men in maroon hit their eleventh and twelfth wides before Kehoe punished a foul on substitute Conor Coleman (1-8 to 2-5).
The score that decided the outcome arrived in the 55th minute. Coleman picked out James Boggan whose effort on goal was well saved by John Byrne, but a free was awarded for a jersey tug in the build-up and Kehoe calmly knocked it over.
St. Martin's were under pressure for the remainder of the game, especially after losing Richard Devereux to a black card, but HWH-Bunclody couldn't work a scoreable chance close to goal before time ran out on their equalising bid.
St. Martin's: Brad Cohen; Tony Kelly, John Coleman, Pádraig Rossiter; Donal Kelly, Kevin Price, Johnny Hamilton; Luke White (0-1), Pádraig Morrissey (capt.); Darragh Rossiter, Richard Devereux (0-2), James Boggan; Eoghan Rackard (1-1), Alan Kehoe (0-4, 3 frees), Diarmuid Byrne (0-1 free). Subs. - Conor Coleman for Byrne (HT), Darren Codd for Rackard (51), Nicky Greene for Devereux, black card (60), also Ian Curran, Dylan Byrne, Martin Whelan.
HWH-Bunclody: John Byrne; Paul Jackman, Fergal Kelly, Conor Hendrick; Paddy Dunbar, Thomas O'Neill, Seán Nolan; Christy Atkinson, James Taylor; Jamie John Murphy (1-0), Timmy Bolger, Darren Kehoe (0-3, 1 free, 1 '45); David Reck (capt., 1-1), Michael Connors, John Connors (0-1). Subs. - Andrew Kelly for O'Neill (42), Podge Kehoe for Bolger (51), Diarmuid Crean for M. Connors (54), Adam Sadler for Jackman (56), also Gary McLean, Darren Murphy, Gearóid Roberts, Ronan Roberts, Seán Taylor, Seán Hogan, Mickey Connors, Niall Kelly.
Referee: Jack Stafford (Clongeen).