Kenny's class stuns holders
Alley dismiss St. Martin's
Andrew Kenny was the inspiration for Buffers Alley as he finished with a remarkable 0-15 in his side's shock victory over reigning champions, St. Martin's, in this excellent Greenstar Under-21 hurling Premier championship game in Monamolin on Monday.
Buffers Alley 2-16 St. Martin's 1-15
The talented attacker, despite being pitted against his inter-county colleague, Jack O'Connor, contributed 0-5 from play, while he also had an input in the lead-up to both second-half goals as the Alley rocked the holders with a committed and passionate display that the south county side couldn't deal with.
While Kenny may have been the main man in this fine victory, the Alley also had major contributions from Seán Murphy at full-back and the excellent John Farrell at centre-back, while John Lee Meyler and Eoin Whelan won their midfield share of possession, with Ross Donohoe, just back following an illness, and Robert Donnelly also contributing handsomely in the attack.
Unfortunately for St. Martin's they were unable to match the passion and direct hurling of their opponents. With Jack O'Connor unable to contain the wily Kenny, forcing his switch in defence, they were left struggling. In the end they were made pay the penalty for some wayward finishing both from frees and play, and this proved a constant thorn in their game.
Despite playing into a strong breeze, Buffers Alley opened brightly with two Andrew Kenny points (one free) inside the opening nine minutes, with St. Martin's having to wait until the tenth minute for their opening score, a Joe Coleman pointed free.
They went on to add four unanswered points through Rory O'Connor (three) and Seán Stafford to lead by 0-5 to 0-2 at the end of the opening quarter.
Kenny and Stafford exchanged points, before the Alley attacker had the best score of the game six minutes before the break.
Having shaken off several attackers out under the clubhouse, he swung over a marvellous point from close to the sideline. St. Martin's finished the half strongly though, with a Joe Coleman pointed free giving them an 0-11 to 0-9 interval lead.
Two pointed Kenny frees had the sides level inside five minutes of the re-start, but when Harry O'Connor found the net from close range, it left his side with a 1-12 to 0-12 lead after 40 minutes.
While the Alley were hanging in there, it looked as if the reigning champions were about to pull clear when a Joe Coleman pointed free at the three-quarter stage gave his side a four-point advantage (1-14 to 0-13).
Excellent saves from 'keeper Oliver O'Leary denied the Martin's goals on two separate occasions. Four minute from the end Robert Donnelly kept his composure to find the net from close in despite the attention of several would-be markers to bring the sides level (1-14 each).
With just 60 seconds remaining, substitute Walter Gahan slotted home a goal having been picked out by a Kenny pass, after the winners' star player picked up a loose Jack O'Connor batted ball. Kenny and Coleman exchanged pointed frees before Kenny swung over a glorious long-range point from play to secure his side's quarter-final passage.
Buffers Alley: Oliver O'Leary; Ryan Gleeson, Seán Murphy, David Ryan; Ciarán Murphy, John Farrell, Leonard Leacy; Eoin Whelan, John Lee Meyler (0-1); Andrew Kenny (0-15, 10 frees), Owen Dempsey; Lee Murphy, Ross Donohoe, Robert Donnelly (1-0). Subs. - Gearóid O'Connor for Ryan, Walter Gahan (1-0) for L. Murphy, Rory Kirwan for Dempsey.
St. Martin's: Luke White; Tony Kelly, Aaron Maddock, Conor Firman; Joe O'Connor (0-1), Jack O'Connor, Adrian Ryan; Ryan Murphy, Donal Kelly; Seán Stafford (0-3), Harry O'Connor (1-0), Johnny Hamilton; Darren Codd. Joe Coleman (0-8, 7 frees), Rory O'Connor (0-3). Sub. - Nicky Greene for Codd.
Referee: Justin Heffernan (Blackwater).