independent

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Martin's in a higher class

St. Martin's 1-30 Shelmaliers 0-12

David Medcalf

Seán Keane-Carroll of Shelmaliers under pressure from Eoin O’Leary (2) and Joe O'Connor
Seán Keane-Carroll of Shelmaliers under pressure from Eoin O’Leary (2) and Joe O'Connor
Conor Firman of St. Martin’s coming out of defence past Shelmaliers attacker Aodhán Foley
Ross Banville (Shelmaliers) collides with St. Martin’s goalkeeper Dylan Byrne

Home supporters came to Hollymount looking for a miracle and their Under-21 hurlers failed to produce one against the champions of 2016 and the favourites for the 2017 title.

Instead, all they could do was admire a St. Martin's side which always had enough to account for their game but out-gunned Shelmaliers opponents on a breezy summer evening in this Greenstar Premier championship preliminary round tie on Tuesday.

The young men of Piercestown and Murrintown were never in arrears from the moment that Rory O'Connor collected a pass from Joe Coleman to stroke over the opening point.

The combination of O'Connor and Coleman had a tally of four points racked up by the time as many minutes had been played.

Scores from Shels hard-working centre-forward Conor Hearne and young free-taker Ross Banville took the bare look off their side of the scoreboard.

But the balance of power was consistently weighted in the direction of the visitors, with Joe Coleman the ideal target man benefiting from the good work further out the field.

Banville drew a round of admiring applause when he flicked the sliothar audaciously over his marker on his way to picking up a well-executed point.

This proved the spark for a surge of scores which brought the underdogs to within five of their illustrious rivals with 25 minutes on the clock, but that was as close as they managed to get.

The body language which suggested an upset was not totally out of the question changed from puffed up to deflated at a stroke as corner-forward Conor Coleman made the most of Barry O'Connor's cross to belt home the only goal of the night.

The Martin's led by 1-14 to 0-7 at the interval, and a couple of points from Rory O'Connor immediately after the re-start - beautifully economical in his style - underlined the gap in class.

The host side had to work hard for their scores and the goal they craved never came though Banville hit the bar above Dylan Byrne's head midway through the half, and Hearne failed to make contact on the edge of the square with a Banville delivery.

With their half-back line as secure as Fort Knox and Harry O'Connor spraying intelligent passes out of midfield, the winners were at no stage in any realistic danger of bottling this one, their cause further assisted by the late dismissal of Jody Donohoe on a second yellow.

St. Martin's: Dylan Byrne; Eoin O'Leary, Conor Firman, Michael Codd; Ben Maddock (0-1), Aaron Maddock, Joe O'Connor; Jake Firman (0-1), Harry O'Connor (0-2); Barry O'Connor (0-1), Darren Codd (0-1), Rory O'Connor (0-7); Conor Coleman (1-2), Joe Coleman (0-13, 5 frees), Mikey Coleman (0-2). Subs. - Johnny Hamilton for O'Leary (43), Tony Kelly for M. Codd (43), Pádraig Rossiter for B. Maddock (49), Jack Devereux for H. O'Connor (51), Philip Dempsey for B. O'Connor (51).

Shelmaliers: Adam Howlin; Cian Manley, Aaron O'Neill, Joe Redmond; Craig Parker, Arnie Murphy, Jody Donohoe; Glen Malone, Seán Keane-Carroll; Liam Rockett (0-1), Conor Hearne (0-1), Michael Feeney; Ross Banville (0-9, 6 frees, 1 '65), Aodhán Foley (0-1), Kyle Roche. Subs. - Chris Cowman for Keane-Carroll (34), Adam Hearne for O'Neill (34), Mark Power for Feeney (53), Michael Hearne for Rockett (53), Aaron Doyle for Redmond (56).

Referee: Damien Donovan (Volunteers).

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