Martin's on song
Sars succumb to the stronger side
A sterling defensive effort was the basis for St. Martin's to get the better of Sarsfields in the Gorey Guardian Coiste na nOg Juvenile football Premier championship semi-final in Taghmon on Monday.
St.Martin's 2-7 Sarsfields 0-5
Apart from one moment of madness, when the ball somehow wouldn't cross the goal-line for the Wexford town side, the victors were always comfortable in defence as they restricted their opponents to just a solitary James Crean 59th-minute score from play.
They were careful, clever enough to not leave themselves exposed at the back and never likely to over-commit to attacking opportunities. They simply didn't have to with five of the starting forwards on the scoresheet and the other, Ben Maddock, a constant thorn in the Sarsfields' side.
Liam O Lionáin fed Jordan Hayes in the opening minute and he flashed just wide of the post, but it was a sign of things to come as St. Martin's did most of their attacking work in the first-half.
Jack Devereux forced Jake Clancy to tip over the crossbar in the fifth minute and the second point arrived just two minutes later from Kyle Firman after the marauding Adam Cantwell was felled.
Things looked bleak for the Páirc Charman boys when Maddock fed Paddy Gallagher who drove at goal and unleashed an unstoppable shot into the top corner of Clancy's net to make the score 1-2 to nil after just nine minutes.
The Sars were settled by a Cathal Kirwan free but the Piercestown-based club responded with a nice point by O Lionáin. Kirwan's second free came in the 20th minute, yet his side fell further behind five minutes later.
Adam McLoughlin's ball into the edge of the square was tipped by a stretching Maddock onto the crossbar and Jack Devereux was quickest to react to find the net. A Firman free late in the half left St. Martin's 2-4 to 0-2 ahead at the break.
It clearly wasn't going to be Sarsfields' night when Kirwan was denied by Diarmuid Barry on the line, Cian Foley hit the crossbar and John Murphy's effort was scrambled away, all in the same attack.
The next three points went to St. Martin's with Hayes, Michael Codd and Firman all on target. The Sars broke a 33-minute scoreless streak with a Kirwan free, yet despite two further late points they couldn't get close enough to deny their opponents a final place opposite Glynn-Barntown.
St. Martin's now have a Juvenile Premier championship double firmly in their sights.
St. Martin's: Matthew Duffy; Diarmuid Barry, Philip Dempsey, Rory Cullen; Eoin O'Leary, Michael Codd (0-1), Ben Stafford; Adam Cantwell, Adam McLoughlin (capt.); Jack Devereux (1-1), Kyle Firman (0-3, 2 frees), Paddy Gallagher (1-0); Jordan Hayes (0-1), Ben Maddock, Liam O Lionáin (0-1). Subs. - David Corcoran for Cantwell (53), Simon Curran for Hayes (55), Callum Quirke for Gallagher (58), also Sam Audsley, Philip McGrath, Tony Rowe.
Sarsfields: Jake Clancy; Conall O Crúalaíoch, Terry Whitty, Darragh Jones; Daire Reville, Shane Hall (capt.), Seánie Banville; Cathal Kirwan (0-4 frees), Ben Butler; Adam Dempsey, Conall Clancy, Alex Innes; Gary Carroll, John Murphy, Cian Foley. Subs. - Killian Gahan for Reville (38), Shane Bergin for Carroll (40), James Crean (0-1) for Murphy (44), also Cameron Farrell, Ryan Furlong, Ryan Dempsey, Conor Kehoe.
Referee: Anthony Tobin (Geraldine O'Hanrahans).