Martin's stroll to easy victory
St. Martin's 1-28 Faythe Harriers 0-10
Have we seen the demise of Faythe Harriers and hurling in Wexford town as we once knew it?
Sadly, they must have been a mightily-relieved bunch to have heard the final whistle after a wretched display in going under by 21 points to St. Martin's in this Pettitt's Senior hurling championship Group B game in Innovate Wexford Park on Saturday.
The above comment should be viewed in the overall context as it's not intended to take away from the dominant display of St. Martin's who simply did as they pleased, for the most part simply going through the motions, in perhaps what will be their easiest game of the campaign.
While they will have learned little from this game, still with six points they are assured of a knockout spot. They would have liked a more stern test though than this stroll in the park.
Such was their control and dominance in every sector of the pitch that their victory margin could have been far greater had they chosen to press home their advantage.
For Faythe Harriers this will rank as one of their poorest-ever displays in Senior ranks. Now for the second successive season they could be engaged in a battle for survival.
They only avoided the drop last year with a relegation play-off victory over St. Anne's, but there is no masking over the challenge facing them to take anything from their final two group games.
It will be difficult for Faythe Harriers to put a brave face on this display. They presented just token opposition, with the stats from the game saying it all, as their entire forward line failed to register a single score between them.
Midfielder Lee Chin chipped in with nine points from frees, while their sole point from play came courtesy of wing-back Brendan Mulligan two minutes into first-half additional time.
They had some firsts for all the wrong reasons, no doubt being the first time an attack failed to register even one score in a Senior championship game, and they now face a real battle to re-capture some respect for the game of hurling in the capital town.
The fact that St. Martin's finished off their opponents with such ease leaves them in a comfortable position.
Their experienced backroom will not allow them take their eyes off the more stiffer tests that await them, but they have the quality and skill right through the team to suggest they are now serious title contenders.
They cruised through this game without hitting top gear but they still showed the potential that is in this side.
Rory O'Connor opened the scoring with a point inside 30 seconds while the Harriers responded almost immediately with a Lee Chin pointed free, but that was as good as it was to get for the town side.
By the end of the opening quarter they trailed by 0-6 to 0-2, with the Martin's striking seven wides through this passage of play.
However, with Joe Coleman finding the range from frees they soon created a gap, and by the interval they went in leading by 0-14 to 0-6.
Chin added four pointed frees, along with Mulligan's effort, while Harry O'Connor, Darren Codd and Jack O'Connor all found the range for the opposition.
The second 30 minutes turned into a non-event as the Harriers were unable to offer any real opposition, with only Chin, Brendan Mulligan, Colm Heffernan and Michael Heffernan offering any kind of resistance.
With Darren Codd now getting in on the scoring act with a succession of points, the Martin's had cruised into a 0-20 to 0-8 lead by the end of the third quarter.
As the Harriers struggle became more pronounced, Rory O'Connor waltzed through the defence for a 48th-minute goal, giving them a 1-21 to 0-9 lead, by which stage it was only a matter of what the winning margin would be.
It was a pathetic display from the Harriers, with all the hurling being served up by a dominant Martin's outfit, but it all left supporters puzzled as to the one-sided nature of the game.
St. Martin's: Luke White; Willie Devereux, Patrick O'Connor, Paudie Kelly; Daithí Waters (0-1), Aaron Maddock (0-1), Jack O'Connor (0-1); Harry O'Connor (0-1), Mark Maloney; Rory O'Connor (1-5), Darren Codd (0-6), Joe O'Connor (0-1); Joe Coleman (0-8, 5 frees), Jake Firman (0-1), Mikey Coleman (0-2). Subs. - Barry O'Connor for Firman, Eoin O'Leary for Waters, Jack Devereux for Codd, Michael Codd (0-1) for Coleman.
Faythe Harriers: Ian Scallan; Cormac Byrne, David Mooney, Ross Lynch; Brendan Mulligan (0-1), Richie Kehoe, Colm Heffernan; Lee Chin (0-9 frees), Rhys Clarke; Wayne Mallon, Michael Hanrahan, John Bridges; Alex Lynch, Pádraigh Farrell, Jim Berry. Subs. - Con O Donnagáin for Bridges, Stephen Kearney for Mallon, Dean Walsh for Clarke.
Referee: Dan Crosby (Kilmore).