Martin's pile pressure on under-performing Shels

BRENDAN FURLONG in Taghmon

SHOWING A far greater appetite for the game, St. Martin's convincingly saw off a disappointing Shelmaliers challenge in this Senior football championship Group A game played at Taghmon on Friday last.

The final scoreline was somewhat flattering to the Shels who could only manage two secondhalf points, while their two goals came from firsthalf Craig Mccabe penalties which managed to keep them in the game. But apart from a brief spell they were out-played and out-thought by a St. Martin's side that produced some quite impressive football.

Daithí Waters and Darren Jordan controlled midfield, with Waters in particular having a huge influence on the outcome. The inter-county midfielder was in sparkling form, with his high fielding, strong runs and huge workrate ensuring that his side was always dominant in this sector of the pitch.

One had to wait until the ninth minute for the game's opening goal. Darren Jordan floated a long free into the danger zone where Diarmuid Byrne applied the finishing touch, and when Brian Berney added a point almost immediately St. Martin's had moved into a 1-1 to nil lead.

However, by the end of the opening quarter, amazingly the Shels were in front after two goals in a three-minute spell. After 13 minutes, referee Damien Donovan awarded a penalty after Derek Walsh had his jersey stretched, leaving Craig Mccabe to neatly tuck the spot kick low past 'keeper Tomás Hayes.

Two minutes later, Brian Malone was hauled down by Daithí Waters as he moved in on goal, for a second penalty that Mccabe also shot beyond the reach of 'keeper Hayes, leaving his side with a 2-0 to 1-1 lead. By the 17th minute Paudie Kelly had the sides level with two points, while Ciarán Lyng and Stephen Banville went on to exchange points, leaving St. Martin's with a three-point interval lead (1-7 to 2-1).

Within minutes of the re-start Daithí Waters swung over a long-range point, and further points from Lyng and Richard Devereux stretch the eventual winners into a 1-10 to 2-1 lead. With Shels only managing two second-half points through Banville and Craig Mccabe, it was St. Martin's who opened their Senior campaign with an impressive victory.

A significant addition to the winners' line-up was centre-back Stephen Murphy, a former member of the Kilruane Mcdonaghs club in Tipperary who won a county Senior football medal with the Thomas Mcdonagh's divisional team lst year.

Murphy, a former Tipperary Senior footballer, made his debut for the Wexford Senior hurlers as a late substitute against Laois in Nowlan Park on Sunday week last.

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