Martin's squeeze through
St. Martin's 0-9 Castletown 0-7
St. Martin's timed their run down the home straight to perfection as points from Diarmuid Byrne and Ciarán Redmond saw them see off a dogged Castletown in Sunday's competitive Enniscorthy Farm Systems Junior football championship semi-final in a bright Farmleigh.
The Piercestown and Murrintown men were warm favourites ahead of the game as they had comfortably won when the sides met in the group stages, but they were hit with a ferocious display from Castletown, who were never headed until the final twelve minutes.
In hindsight, Castletown had their fair share of chances to put the game away, but they kicked 13 wides over the hour, while a couple of individual errors directly led to St. Martin's scores at a crucial juncture in the second-half.
Castletown already had three wides on the board before Aaron Condren kicked a fine opener on seven minutes, while Gavin Stamp and Mark Halpin also registered as they held a 0-3 to 0-1 lead after twelve minutes.
Seán Stafford and Conor Coleman helped restore parity, although Condren landed an almost identical score to his first to keep Castletown in front.
Diarmuid Byrne registered twice before the break but an excellent point on the turn from Darragh Brooks ensured that things were finally poised at 0-5 apiece at the interval.
Substitute Ross Bealin fed Mark Halpin for a point 40 seconds after the re-start, while veteran Kevin Morris kicked the losers' last point on 40 minutes, by which stage they held a 0-7 to 0-6 advantage.
However, St. Martin's sprung Brian Berney and Ciarán Redmond from the bench, and they made a lasting impression with a point apiece to sandwich Byrne's fifth point as they squeaked through for a final showdown with Rathgarogue-Cushinstown.
St. Martin's: Nicky Greene; Pádraig Rossiter, Mark Maloney, Tony Kelly; Kyle Firman, James Boggan, Eoin O'Leary; Luke White (capt.), Darragh Rossiter; Adam Cantwell, Conor Coleman (0-1), Diarmuid Byrne (0-5, 2 frees, 1 '45); Eoghan Rackard, Seán Stafford (0-1), Jack Devereux. Subs. - Ciarán Redmond (0-1) for Rackard, Donal Kelly for Firman, Brian Berney (0-1) for White, Kevin Price for Cantwell.
Castletown: Niall Hempenstall; Killian Pierce, David Deering, Paul Nugent; Aaron Condren (0-2), Risteárd Kinsella, Danny Dixon; Oisín Condren, Rory Heffernan; Mark Halpin (0-2), Kevin Morris (capt., 0-1), Seán Roche; Shane Halpin, Gavin Stamp (0-1), Darragh Brooks (0-1). Subs. - Ross Bealin for S. Halpin, Stephen Gardiner for Morris.
Referee: Jack Stafford (Clongeen).