Martin's book final place
Greenstar U20 FC semi-final: St. Martin's 0-12 Sarsfields 0-6
St. Martin's stepped it up considerably in the second-half to advance to the Greenstar Under-20 football Division 1 championship final with a double scores success against Sarsfields under the Piercestown floodlights on Saturday.
While they struggled to find fluency for long stages of the opening period, eventually they settled down and put the outcome beyond all doubt by hitting the first six points after the break without reply.
The home side fielded without Barry O'Connor and Conor Coleman, and they did very well to establish a 0-6 to 0-4 half-time lead considering the early promise shown by the town team.
Kyle Firman did kick St. Martin's into the lead after 49 seconds, but Conall Clancy finished a sweeping team move started by Sars captain Fiach O Crualaoich and also featuring midfielders Cillian Gahan and Dylan Furlong before Andrew Harrington knocked over a free in the sixth minute.
Firman was denied a goal by a fine Jake Clancy save prior to Ben Maddock levelling from a free, but it was 0-4 to 0-2 in favour of the visitors by the end of the opening quarter after Brandon Dodd tipped a Danny Walsh shot over the bar, and Harrington then punished another foul.
While Sarsfields were competitive for long stages, they were never going to win when one considers they went for a staggering 38 minutes without a score.
That was the main tale of the game, with St. Martin's moving into that 0-6 to 0-4 interval advantage thanks to four points on the trot from Peter Barry, Jack Devereux, Kyle Firman, and Devereux again.
Andrew Harrington and Danny Walsh did combine to create a goalscoring chance for Dylan Furlong in the 22nd minute, but Brandon Dodd advanced smartly and blocked his kick for a '45.
St. Martin's resumed with Conor Firman partnering Ben Maddock at midfield, and they were a much-improved side after the accurate Jack Devereux gave them an early boost with the third of his four points.
Maddock (free) widened the margin to five before team captain Philip McDermott advanced from wing-back to take a Peter Barry off-load on the run and split the posts in the 43rd minute.
Sarsfields did have a big opportunity to get back into contention early in the last quarter when Danny Walsh popped the ball to substitute Conor Kehoe whose first effort hit the post before his rebound was scrambled off the line by Philip Dempsey - one of two excellent full-backs on show along with Cathal Kirwan for the losers.
Jack Devereux curled a beauty between the posts after judging the wind to perfection before substitute Conor Devereux and Kyle Firman stretched the St. Martin's lead to 0-12 to 0-4.
And although they didn't score again in the last eleven minutes including added time, the hard work was done by that stage and late Sarsfields points from Danny Walsh and Conor Kehoe were mere consolations.
St. Martin's: Brandon Dodd; Sam Audsley, Philip Dempsey, Eoin O'Leary; Michael Codd, Conor Firman, Philip McDermott (capt., 0-1); Adam Cantwell, Ben Maddock (0-2 frees); Ben Stafford, Peter Barry (0-1), Jack Roche; Diarmuid Barry, Kyle Firman (0-3), Jack Devereux (0-4). Subs. - Zac Firman for Roche (HT), Conor Devereux (0-1) for D. Barry (38), Conor Kelly for C. Firman (59).
Sarsfields: Jake Clancy; Adam Carroll, Cathal Kirwan, Fiach O Crualaoich (capt.); Ryan Furlong, Shane Hall, Conall O Crualaoich; Dylan Furlong, Cillian Gahan; David Gouldson, Conall Clancy (0-1), Jack Finucane; Danny Walsh (0-2), Andrew Harrington (0-2 frees), Gary Carroll. Subs. - Shane Bergin for Harrington (41), Conor Kehoe (0-1) for G. Carroll (44), Lee Donohue for R. Furlong (55), Seán Kelly-Komolafe for Walsh (57), Walsh for Bergin, inj. (60+1).
Referee: Stephen Burke (Volunteers).