Mary's on the rise
St. Mary's (Maudlintown) 1-12 Gusserane 1-8
St. Mary's (Maudlintown) leapt into position to nab a place in the Gorey Guardian Juvenile football Roinn 1 championship quarter-finals with a hard-fought victory over Gusserane in The Rocks on Monday of last week.
The Wexford town club started their campaign with consecutive losses but have bounced back in style and are unbeaten in four. They led throughout this game but there was no real secret to their success, as they played like a side desperate for the win and got what they deserved.
Maudlintown are a dangerous team once they reach the knockout stages. It's almost part of the DNA of the club at this stage, and once they get a sniff of success they are incredibly difficult to deny. One thing is for sure, you must have quality because their desire to win is tough to match.
On a warm, draining evening, the hosts burst out of the blocks. Aaron Roche was superb in the opening half, scoring four of St. Mary's seven points. He notched the opener, a point that was followed by a brace from the marauding Lee Nolan.
Dylan Ryan momentarily slowed the Mary's momentum but it didn't last for long. Roche booted the next three points to make it 0-6 to 0-1. The scoring dried up a little in the last ten minutes of the half but the drama intensified.
After Jamie Sheehan nailed a '45, Daniel Pender clanked the post at the other end in the 21st minute. Emmet Cullen dribbled through soccer-style and cracked the Mary's crossbar six minutes before the interval. Traded Jordan Donovan and Evan Kiely points left four between the teams at the change of ends (0-7 to 0-3).
Still buzzing with enthusiasm, two carbon copy Emmet Nolan points, from short Pender frees, increased the advantage to six. However, after an Evan Cahill point, Gusserane closed the deficit to two when Cullen sauntered through the centre to net.
T.J. Nolan settled the nerves with a lovely point and when Roche volleyed home Lee Nolan's long ball the game looked almost up (1-10 to 1-5).
Kyle Scallan and Pender kept the scoreboard ticking over but the hosts had to survive Jamie Sheehan's penalty miss in added-time before they secured a vital two points in their quest for a quarter-final spot.
St. Mary's (Maudlintown): Byron Sweeney; Gavin Roche, Josh Kavanagh, Josh Long; Kyle Scallan (0-1), Lee Nolan (capt., 0-2), Adam O'Connor; Jordan Donovan (0-1), Emmet Nolan (0-2); John Hore, Daniel Pender (0-1), James Cullen; T.J. Nolan (0-1), Cian Connolly, Aaron Roche (1-4). Subs. - Stephen Doyle for T.J. Nolan (47), Mikey O'Dowd for Hore (60+2), Daniel Bent for A. Roche (60+2), also Nicky Roberts, Dylan O'Connor, Wictor Janskwy, Cade Caulfield, Kyle Malone.
Gusserane: Mark Flynn; Shane Power, Micheál Hennessy, Aaron Whelan; Patrick Sinnott, Shane O'Grady, Darragh Egan; Emmet Cullen (1-0), Matthew McQuillan; Ben Whitty, Jamie Sheehan (0-1 '45), Dylan Ryan (capt., 0-3 frees); Evan Kiely (0-3, 1 free), Jack Holden, Seán Maher. Subs. - Evan Cahill (0-1) for McQuillan, inj. (27), Conor Twomey for Holden (31), McQuillan for Maher (34), Aaron Ryan for Whelan (51), Alan Sinnott for Ryan (57).
Referee: Martin Conway (Clonard).