Mary's spring mild surprise
Town men topple Fintan's
Many clubs will be happy with their weekend's work, but arguably the best performance of the lot came from a spirit-laden St. Mary's (Maudlintown) in Innovate Wexford Park on Saturday when they booked their place in the Ashdown Park/Amber Springs Hotels Intermediate football championship quarter-finals with a richly-deserved Group B victory over already-qualified St. Fintan's.
St. Mary's (Maudlintown) 0-9 St. Fintan's 1-4
It was a considerable scalp for the town team to take, even allowing for the absence of Wexford duo Jim Rossiter and Donal Shanley from the losers' line-up.
Nonetheless, St. Fintan's are just down from Senior ranks while St. Mary's are only in their second year at this level, so it was a sweet win for the Maudlintown men on an atrocious evening for football.
With light but non-stop rain, a slippery surface and poor visibility for most of the second-half, it was no place for fancy football.
The workrate from St. Mary's was very impressive, with full-back Christy Lane giving an exhibition in how to attack a ball with determination in greasy conditions.
Top marks must also go to Alex Lynch alongside him as he stuck to dangerman Conor Sinnott like a limpet, so much so that the Fintan's attacker didn't score from play.
Indeed, it was a tribute to the overall Mary's effort that none of their rival forwards hit the target apart from three frees, with their goal coming from a defender plus a point from a midfielder.
Scores were scarce in the first-half and the Mary's interval lead of 0-3 to 0-2 didn't look to be sufficient given that they were facing into the elements on the re-start.
Ross Lynch had given them a second-minute lead, but they didn't register again until a quick brace from midfielders Donal O'Leary and Graham Carty following passes from Dermot Flood in a 35-second spell midway through the second quarter.
Prior to that Jack Pettit had levelled for St. Fintan's in the 14th minute before Conor Sinnott put them ahead from a free.
St. Mary's resumed full of intent with points from O'Leary and Jason Swords inside four minutes, but two Shane Sinnott frees had St. Fintan's breathing down their necks again before O'Leary - the most accurate player on view on a difficult night for kicking - made it 6-4 in the 40th minute.
The one bright spark for the Ballymore-Mayglass men was provided 90 seconds later when Kevin Day broke forward and fed fellow overlapping defender Peter Goldsmith who planted an unstoppable shot in the top corner of Willie Lambert's net.
It was an undoubted setback for St. Mary's, but it inspired them to really show what they were made of in the last quarter.
They were excellent as they regained the lead while holding the opposition scoreless, with Dermot Flood slotting over a brace before Gavin Cullen was rewarded for his constant hard work with a point in the 52nd minute.
That proved to be the game's last score, with St. Fintan's struggling to create any chance thereafter apart from when substitute Jason Pettit got his fist to a Cathal O'Brien cross but Mary's netminder Willie Lambert made a comfortable save.
St. Mary's: Willie Lambert; Lee Elston, Christy Lane, Alex Lynch; Gary Murphy, Alan Lynch, Gavin Cullen (0-1); Graham Carty (0-1), Donal O'Leary (capt., 0-3); Ross Lynch (0-1), Dermot Flood (0-2), Jason Swords (0-1); Martin O'Connor, Roy Doyle, Pierce Dooley. Sub. - Richie Kehoe for Doyle (47).
St. Fintan's: Patrick McDonnell; Kevin Day, Frank Staples, Peter Goldsmith (1-0); Adrian Murphy, Paddy Keane, Brendan Hughes; Jack Pettit (0-1), Pádraig Doyle; Shane Sinnott (0-2 frees), Joey Wadding, Niall Moore; Conor Sinnott (0-1 free), Cathal O'Brien, Tomás Power. Subs. - Pádhraic Rossiter for Moore (45), Jason Pettit for Keane (48), Eoin Cummins for Wadding, inj. (54), Robert Coakley for Day, inj. (60+2).
Referee: Peter Shannon (Kilmore).