Sunday 24 March 2019

Martin's turn tables

St. Martin's 0-18 Glynn-Barntown 2-6

Aaron Maddock of St. Martin’s looks for a gap as Glynn-Barntown duo Kevin Mahoney (21) and Brendan Doyle close down the space
Aaron Maddock of St. Martin’s looks for a gap as Glynn-Barntown duo Kevin Mahoney (21) and Brendan Doyle close down the space

Alan Aherne

A powerful third quarter performance drove St. Martin's to victory in the rain at Bellefield on Saturday as they made amends for that unexpected exit to Glynn-Barntown in 2016 with an impressive six-point victory in the last of the Tom Doyle Supplies Senior football championship quarter-finals.

It was clear that the double seekers had a big battle on their hands after former Wexford Youths and Waterford F.C. soccer stalwart Gary Delaney coolly slotted home two first-half penalty goals to help last year's runners-up to a 2-4 to 0-7 interval lead.

However, Glynn-Barntown were completely outplayed on the re-start as a well-drilled St. Martin's side thundered into the opposing kick-out and made it nigh on impossible for their rivals to break beyond midfield.

Indeed, the eventual winners were so dominant in the second-half that their one-time under-age partner club were restricted to a mere two points from frees kicked by county hurling goalkeeper Mark Fanning in the 48th and 52nd minutes.

Those scores suggested that a tight finish might yet be in store, as they ended a run of six St. Martin's points on the trot and narrowed the gap to the minimum (0-13 to 2-6).

However, the men in maroon had demons to exorcise after Glynn-Barntown crushed them by 2-12 to 0-9 in the semi-final twelve months ago, and they underlined their superiority not to mention their title credentials with a powerful finish.

Ciarán Lyng was in one of those moods when any yard of space afforded to him close to goal was going to be punished, and he got his team back on track with his fourth point from play after a neat Ben Maddock pass into the left corner.

St. Martin's normally have a big spread of scorers which makes them so hard for opponents to handle, a point borne out when Conor Firman ghosted up from defence to collect a Daithí Waters free all on his own on the right and calmly make it 0-15 to 2-6.

Barry O'Connor (free) and Lyng hammered home their advantage before the former drove at a tiring defence and fisted over the last point, and his third from play, close to the finish.

Glynn-Barntown will be left wondering how they could go from being so competitive and keen to a pale shadow of their best selves on either side of the interval.

The loss of marksman and kick-out target Delaney to injury in the third quarter definitely didn't help, although they were starting to struggle even before his departure as St. Martin's had drawn level.

This game was all the Killurin crew had to focus on after their fifth place hurling finish, and they needed just 15 seconds to hit the front after captain Michael Doyle won the kick-out and fed Mark Fanning who pointed.

And three minutes later only the crossbar saved St. Martin's after Craig Doyle did very well to keep the ball in play before feeding Robert Dempsey whose venomous shot from a tight angle on the right crashed off the woodwork and out towards the left corner.

Ciarán Lyng sold a sweet dummy before kicking the equaliser in the sixth minute, and he was on target once again from a Willie Devereux lay-off after Daithí Waters initially claimed a mark from the kick-out.

The inside Martin's line of attack was purring as Barry O'Connor and Lyng widened the gap to three, before the latter made it 5-1 after a foul on Joe O'Connor in the eleventh minute.

However, Glynn-Barntown were back in business when a brilliant crossfield pass by Mark Fanning was caught by Gary Delaney who was fouled by Joe O'Connor to earn a penalty.

Tomás Hayes guessed right in terms of which side to dive to, but Delaney tucked it away expertly into the right corner (0-5 to 1-1).

And four minutes later another spot-kick was awarded to Glynn-Barntown, this time after Delaney and Michael O'Regan combined to free Robert Dempsey who was impeded by Mikey Coleman.

Delaney stepped up again and planted a low shot to the opposite side, and Glynn-Barntown's tails were really up when Craig Doyle drew his boot on a loose ball and added a point (2-2 to 0-5).

Two further exchanges of scores left the same margin between them at the break, with St. Martin's points from Ryan Murphy and Barry O'Connor cancelled out by Rioghan Crosbie and Delaney (free) respectively.

The Piercestown and Murrintown men eagerly gobbled up practically every Glynn-Barntown kick-out on the re-start, and this provided the platform for victory.

They did kick three early wides, including a surprise miss by Lyng from a free, but their intent was clear after Barry O'Connor (two frees) and Jamie Carty brought them level by the 41st minute.

Carty, Jake Firman and O'Connor (free) then left them 0-13 to 2-4 clear before that brief bright spell for Glynn-Barntown when Fanning kicked one glorious placed ball between the posts and then converting another more straightforward attempt.

The one-point margin with nine minutes left didn't reflect the pattern the game had taken since half-time though, but St. Martin's duly took care of business as five points on the trot left them with a semi-final spot for the third year running.

St. Martin's: Tomás Hayes; Mikey Coleman, Joe O'Connor, Willie Devereux (capt.); Conor Firman (0-1), Aaron Maddock, Jack O'Connor; Daithí Waters, Rory O'Connor; Paudie Kelly, Jamie Carty (0-2), Jake Firman (0-1); Ryan Murphy (0-1), Ciarán Lyng (0-6, 1 free), Barry O'Connor (0-7, 4 frees). Subs. - Ben Maddock for Kelly, inj. (10), Joe Coleman for Murphy (46), Ed O'Byrne for Jack O'Connor (57), Darren Codd for J. Firman (60+1).

Glynn-Barntown: Richie Ryan; Jack Fenlon, Rob Tierney, Stephen Lyne; James Stafford, John Leacy, Nigel Usher; Michael Doyle (capt.), Michael O'Regan; Gary Delaney (2-1, 2-0 pens., 0-1 free), Brendan Doyle, Rioghan Crosbie (0-1); Mark Fanning (0-3, 2 frees), Craig Doyle (0-1), Robert Dempsey. Subs. - Alan Cowman for Delaney, inj. (41), Cian Neville for Stafford (45), Kevin Mahoney for Dempsey (55), Matt Doyle for Ryan (57).

Referee: Anthony Tobin (Geraldine O'Hanrahans).

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