Martin's win by double scores
St. Martin's 4-12 HWH-Bunclody 2-6
St. Martin's never looked in any real trouble as they brushed past hosts HWH-Bunclody and into a Greenstar Under-21 football Premier 'A' championship semi-final meeting with Gusserane on Saturday.
The visitors led from the moment Jake Firman's second-minute free squirmed past Jack Regan and into the Bunclody net and they never trailed, despite being a few players short of their usual well-filled squad.
It didn't seem to matter a whole lot on the field. Application is important in this type of game, at this stage of the season, and St. Martin's never lacked in that department.
They went about their business in the usual fashion and built a comfortable interval lead.
Conor Coleman pointed after the early Firman major and then saw his effort on the turn clatter the crossbar. A couple of Barry O'Connor frees and a Darren Codd point saw the Piercestown-based side further clear at 1-4 to 0-1 after 13 minutes.
Bunclody had their best spell of the game in the second quarter. However, despite keeping in the contest with three Eoin Kelly frees, when Stephen Kavanagh sent John McCormack away to calmly net it was still a bolt out of the blue.
Maybe angered somewhat by that 28th-minute strike, St. Martin's finished the half with a Barry O'Connor free that was immediately followed by a cool Michael Codd finish after great work in midfield by Peter Barry (2-8 to 1-4 at the break).
The first ten minutes of the second-half went by without further action on the scoreboard but Bunclody did have their chances. They couldn't afford a poor spell in front of the posts but four wides in a row really hurt the hosts.
When the next score did arrive it was the clincher at the other end. A tidy one-two between Harry and Barry O'Connor saw the former felled and Ben Maddock clinically struck home the resulting penalty.
Things were in danger of falling apart for Bunclody when Firman slotted his second major of the afternoon in the 46th minute, but a raft of substitutions helped break up play and the home side finished with renewed vigour.
Eoin Kelly stuck out his foot to deflect Eddie Dunbar's shot past Adam Cantwell in the St. Martin's goal with three minutes left.
Double scores it finished and overall that was probably a fair reflection on the balance of the game as the victors move ominously into the semi-finals.
HWH-Bunclody: Jack Regan; Adam Hogan, Martin O'Connor, Paddy Dunbar; Byron Byrne, Conor Crean, Stephen Kavanagh (0-1); Peadair Cowman, John Dunne; John McCormack (1-0), Josh Martin, Eoin Kelly (1-5, 0-5 frees); Brandon Kavanagh, Eddie Dunbar, Cathal Doyle. Subs. - Lee Conroy for McCormack (47), Tadhg Kelly for P. Dunbar (51), Darren Murphy for Doyle (53), Diarmuid Crean for S. Kavanagh (54), Andrew Kelly for B. Kavanagh (55), Bobby McKeown for Regan (56).
St. Martin's: Adam Cantwell; Eoin O'Leary, Philip Dempsey, Mikey Coleman; Ben Maddock (1-0 pen.), Aaron Maddock, Harry O'Connor; Joe O'Connor, Peter Barry; Jake Firman (2-1, 1-0 free), Joe Coleman, Michael Codd (1-1); Conor Coleman (0-2), Barry O'Connor (0-7 frees), Darren Codd (0-1). Subs. - Diarmuid Barry for J. O'Connor (50), Sam Audsley for M. Coleman (50), Coleman for M. Codd, inj. (51).
Referee: Brendan Martin (Ballyhogue).