Tight finish

Hayes hits late, late winner

Dean Goodison

Published 22/10/2016 | 00:00

Ben Stafford, the St. Martin's captain, with Bobby Goff (Coiste na nOg Loch Garman Chairman) and Dean Goodison (People Newspapers)
Ben Stafford, the St. Martin's captain, with Bobby Goff (Coiste na nOg Loch Garman Chairman) and Dean Goodison (People Newspapers)
The triumphant St. Martin's squad

A Jordan Hayes '65, four minutes into added time, sent St. Martin's to victory and broke Naomh Eanna hearts in the Enniscorthy Guardian Juvenile hurling Premier shield final in St. Patrick's Park recently.

St. Martin's 2-9 Naomh Eanna 2-8

The talented attacker had fired his club in front in the 61st minute, breaking onto a Ben Stafford free before rifling to the top right corner of the Gorey net.

However, when Eddie O'Brien-Murphy was fouled a minute later, it looked like a long-range Evan O'Dwyer dead-ball was going to be enough to send the game to extra-time.

That wasn't counting on one of St. Martin's star performers. It was his dipping attempt that won the '65 in the first place, and when Hayes stepped up to take it there was little doubt that the man who already had scored five dead-balls was going to do anything other than split the posts.

The Wexford District side still had a little defending to do. Gorey threw everything they had at their opponents for a frantic two minutes but the score wouldn't come and St. Martin's hung on admirably to claim a nice reward for a year of hard work.

Earlier, the first-half proved to be a tight affair. Hayes got the first two points on the board for the Piercestown-based club but Gorey responded with a purple patch.

Scores from Nathan Byrne, Jack Doran and Evan O'Dwyer put them 0-3 to 0-2 ahead but better was to come.

In the 14th minute O'Dwyer dropped a long range free into the goalmouth.

It broke to Eddie O'Brien-Murphy and the impressive corner-forward made no mistake with the finish, lashing past Rory Walsh between the St. Martin's posts.

Despite scores from Sam Audsley, Hayes and substitute David Cantwell, Gorey eventually took a 1-5 to 0-6 lead in at the interval on the back of points from O'Brien-Murphy and Aaron Byrne.

Yet St. Martin's dominated the third quarter, holding Naomh Eanna scoreless in that spell.

After strong work from Conor Kelly, Cantwell pulled to the net at the second time of asking to put his side ahead.

Points by Audsley and Hayes further increased that lead heading into the final 15 (1-8 to 1-5).

St. Martin's then went 20 minutes without scoring.

Jack Doran cut the gap to two and created the chance that Nathan Byrne drilled into the roof of the net in the 47th minute.

Barry Levingston made it 2-7 to 1-8 with a lovely point from almost 60 metres, out but Gorey couldn't get two scores clear and St. Martin's eventually snagged an impressive victory.

St. Martin's: Rory Walsh; James Mernagh, Diarmuid Barry, Ben Morris; Conor Stafford, Ben Stafford (capt.), David Codd; Shane Walsh, Zac Firman; Conor Kelly, Sam Audsley (0-2), Jordan Hayes (1-6, 0-4 frees, 0-2 '65s); Simon Curran, Aaron Clancy, Conor Devereux. Subs. - David Cantwell (1-1) for Curran (28), Joe Barrett for Clancy (55), Jim McDonald for Mernagh (58), Adam Feery for Devereux (58), also Philip McGrath, John Hennessy, Jamie Barry, Rúairí Whelan, Matthew Duffy.

Naomh Eanna: James Doran; Oran Fitzpatrick, Seán Dowling, Cian Kenny; Cian Molloy, Seán Delaney, Callum Travers; Evan O'Dwyer (capt., 0-2 frees), Martin Kavanagh; Jack Doran (0-2), Larry Cullen, Barry Levingston (0-1); Eddie O'Brien-Murphy (1-1), Nathan Byrne (1-1), Aaron Byrne (0-1 free). Subs. - Cian Browne for Cullen (46), Cathal Stokes for Byrne (60), also Eoin Collins, Seán Callaghan, Mikey Cushe, Andrew Cushen, Jack Ryan, Michael Kennedy, Robert Kenny.

Referee: Dan Crosby (Kilmore).

Wexford People

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