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Friday 24 May 2019

Martin’s coast to 34-point win

Senior Hurling Championship Group A: St. Martin's 8-22 St. Anne's 0-12

Mikey Coleman of St. Martin’s moving away from Tomás Cullen (St. Anne’s) towards goal
Mikey Coleman of St. Martin’s moving away from Tomás Cullen (St. Anne’s) towards goal

Alan Aherne

The Pettitt's Senior hurling championship Group A campaign won't really start for St. Martin's until next weekend, because they scarcely had to break sweat en route to this runaway 34-point victory over a completely outclassed St. Anne's side in O'Kennedy Park, New Ross, on Saturday.

Manager Tomás Codd reminded his charges in their warm-down afterwards that 'a bit of humility wouldn't go astray', and he was dead right because any bragging after such a handy win would be a pointless exercise.

St. Martin's met their neighbours at their most vulnerable, and didn't show any mercy.

Even if the experienced quartet of Diarmuid O'Keeffe, Liam Og McGovern, Aidan Rochford and Redmond Barry had been available, it would have been a stretch to expect the Rathangan men to reverse the outcome of the clubs' last three meetings.

Defeat, therefore, may have been somewhat inevitable, but what should concern the St. Anne's mentors is the meek way in which it was accepted as it doesn't bode well for future prospects.

For a club always renowned for fighting to the bitter end, no matter what the circumstances, this template was discarded as they appeared to accept their fate at a very early stage.

St. Martin's had scored 7-24 against the same opponents in a 2016 group game, and that tally was bettered in added time when Mikey Coleman punished some comical defending to boost their figures to 8-22.

The first-half was bookended by a brace of goals from Jack O'Connor as St. Martin's surged to an interval lead of 4-7 to 0-9 despite playing against the wind.

His opener was a superb solo effort and clinical finish to the roof of the net after a mere 23 seconds, and he went on to spend most of his time in the full-forward line after picking up a knock midway through the half.

Mark Maloney and Ciarán Lyng combined before his second goal in the fourth added minute, and prior to that St. Martin's had raised another brace of green flags.

They only led by 1-4 to 0-6 after 17 minutes, with Mark Furlong accurate from frees for St. Anne's, but the floodgates well and truly opened once Joe Coleman goaled from a ground stroke after earlier attempts from Jake Firman and Jack O'Connor were blocked.

The third goal was a near-post finish from Lyng after catching a crossfield Darren Codd pass in the 29th minute, and about the only positive for St. Anne's to take from that half was the fact that young Darragh Furlong picked off two points and looks like he has a bright future in the top flight.

There was absolutely no chance of a comeback, though, a stark reality emphasised when the leaders added seven points without reply in the first twelve minutes on the re-start.

Rory O'Connor, operating at midfield, opened his shoulders and caused havoc with his penetrating runs, while it was a 'welcome to Wexford club hurling' experience that he undoubtedly didn't want for Westmeath's Aaron Craig who man-marked Jack O'Connor throughout.

The goals flowed in the last quarter, starting in the 46th minute when Jack and Rory combined for Mikey Coleman's first (5-15 to 0-11).

Number six came from substitute Harry O'Connor after a Jake Firman handpass, and he also scored the seventh when he was picked out in space by younger brother Rory.

That eighth goal, courtesy of Coleman again, brought this non-event to an end, with St. Martin's now gearing up to face another neighbouring club, Faythe Harriers, next Saturday.

St. Martin's: Luke White; Eoin O'Leary, Willie Devereux (capt.), Conor Firman; Daithí Waters, Aaron Maddock, Patrick O'Connor; Mark Maloney (0-1), Jack O'Connor (2-5, 0-3 frees); Darren Codd, Rory O'Connor (0-3), Jake Firman; Ciarán Lyng (1-4), Mikey Coleman (2-1), Joe Coleman (1-7, 0-6 frees, 0-1 '65). Subs. - Harry O'Connor (2-1) for Codd (38), Ben Maddock for P. O'Connor (40), Paudie Kelly for Waters (41), Joe O'Connor for Coleman (42), Waters for C. Firman (52).

St. Anne's: Paul Brennan; Kenny Cloney, Tomás Cullen, Páraic O'Keeffe; Cian McGovern, Aaron Craig, Finn O'Driscoll; Kevin Whelan (0-1), Mark Furlong (0-8, 7 frees); David O'Connor, Mikey Fogarty, Jonathan Fogarty; Darragh Furlong (0-2), Liam Rochford (capt., 0-1), Kevin Breen. Subs. - Kevin White for McGovern, inj. (24), Seán Gaul for J. Fogarty, inj. (45).

Referee: Barry Redmond (Na Fianna Clonard).

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