Saturday 21 September 2019

Martin's look team to beat

Gorey seen off by 15 points

Alan Aherne

St. Martin's won't know their final opponents for another week, but they will carry the mantle of favourites into the Greenstar Under-21 hurling Premier championship final on August 30 after this clinical demolition of a younger Naomh Eanna side in Piercestown on Tuesday.

St. Martin's 3-24 Naomh Eanna 3-9

The 2014 winners were caught on the hop by Buffers Alley in the first round last year, but they seem determined to make full amends as they have now amassed a very impressive 13-63 in their three games to date.

Naomh Eanna came into this game bolstered by solid wins over holders Crossabeg-Ballymurn and Shelmaliers, but they simply couldn't cope with a home team featuring eight players with plenty of inter-county experience.

The clubs met again the following night in the Wexford People Minor football Premier championship and Gorey had seven of their Under-21 starting 15 in action again, compared to three for St. Martin's.

This edge in experience worked in the Wexford District side's favour on Tuesday, while they had a captain intent on leading by example in centre-forward Joe Coleman. His supreme accuracy from placed balls ensured the contest was more or less done and dusted by half-time when St. Martin's held a commanding 1-17 to 0-3 lead.

Wind advantage was put to full use as Coleman repeatedly arrowed frees over the bar and towards Piercestown village. He had ten points to his name by the break (eight frees, one '65 and one from play), while four of his fellow five forwards had also registered a score.

Conor McDonald grabbed all three Naomh Eanna points off limited service, one from a '65, but St. Martin's were simply too strong in all departments.

They led by 0-6 to 0-1 after ten minutes and had widened the gap to 11-2 early in the second quarter when an incisive run and pass by Joe O'Connor set up prolific full-forward Seán Stafford for their opening goal.

Coleman added another four points before half-time as the gap was widened to 17, and it took a superb Jack Cushe save to deny his fellow county Minor, Rory O'Connor, a second Martin's goal.

The leaders monopolised the opposition puck-outs and could even be excused their nine wides given such a tremendous strike rate, with many of the 'misses' coming from passes into the corners carried by the wind rather than shots at the posts.

Naomh Eanna, to their credit, kept trying and did enjoy a bright spell near the end of the third quarter when they struck 2-1 without reply.

Aodhán Doyle, moved from midfield to corner-forward for the second-half, goaled before wing-back David Kennedy picked off a point, and a Conor McDonald major further reduced the gap to 1-21 to 2-7.

The strength-in-depth of St. Martin's was evident though as goals from substitutes Conor Coleman and Nicky Greene kept them comfortably ahead, with a Gorey consolation from Aodhán Doyle - after good work by their best player, county Minor Jack Cullen - sandwiched in between.

A second successive all-Wexford District county final is in store, with St. Martin's either facing last year's runners-up Glynn-Barntown or Faythe Harriers in a fortnight's time.

St. Martin's: Dylan Byrne; Donal Kelly, Conor Firman, Johnny Hamilton; Mikey Coleman, Aaron Maddock, Adrian Ryan; Joe O'Connor, Jake Firman (0-1); Barry O'Connor, Joe Coleman (capt., 0-14, 10 frees, 2 '65s), Darren Codd (0-1); Rory O'Connor (0-3), Seán Stafford (1-4), Harry O'Connor (0-1). Subs. - Conor Coleman (1-0) for R. O'Connor (43), Nicky Greene (1-0) for B. O'Connor (52), Tony Kelly for J. O'Connor (55), Michael Codd for J. Firman, inj. (60).

Naomh Eanna: Jack Cushe; Seamus O'Donnell, Eoin Molloy, Daniel Sunderland; David Kennedy (0-1), Gary Molloy, Jack Cullen (0-1); Aodhán Doyle (2-0), Kevin Harrington (0-1); Darragh Hughes (0-1), Gearóid Cullen (0-1), Michael Molloy; Ross Murphy, Conor McDonald (capt., 1-3, 0-1 '65), Charlie McGuckin (0-1). Subs. - Shane Stokes for M. Molloy (54), Eoin McGuckin for C. McGuckin (54), Evan Dwyer for Hughes (58), Eoin Harris for Murphy (58), Dillon Kenny for Doyle (60).

Referee: Justin Heffernan (Blackwater).

Wexford People

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