Sunday 22 September 2019

Vital win for Gorey

Martin's left with lots of work to do

Eoin O'Leary (St. Martin's) tackles Jack Cullen of Naomh Eanna
Eoin O'Leary (St. Martin's) tackles Jack Cullen of Naomh Eanna
Seamus O'Donnell of Naomh Eanna is chased by Kyle Firman
The victorious Naomh Eanna squad

Dean Goodison

St. Martin's left themselves with plenty of work to do in their final outing against HWH-Bunclody if they are to wrap up a place in the Wexford People Minor football Premier championship semi-finals after a surprise loss to Naomh Eanna in Páirc Uí Shíocháin on Wednesday.

Naomh Eanna 1-12 St. Martin's 1-10

A victory in that game will guarantee the Piercestown-based side one of the two last four spots on offer for the top two finishers in the group, but a loss will likely sent them into the quarter-finals.

Should that happen they could meet Gorey again.

The victors in this game had just one win in five coming into the tie but they thoroughly deserved to keep their knockout hopes alive by beating their top of the table opponents.

Despite only leading by three at the break, they did most of the damage against the breeze in the first-half.

St. Martin's looked to go long and early with the elements but that tactic proved disastrous as Gorey mopped up almost everything sent their way.

It looked set to be a long evening for the hosts when Conor Coleman played a one-two with Barry O'Connor before snapping a low, powerful shot past Derick Woods to the bottom of the Gorey net with just 72 seconds on the clock.

However, Gorey hit back on their first foray forward when Eoin Molloy forced the ball in to Corey Meyler and he found the net from the left of the posts.

With Charlie McGuckin outstanding as a sweeper, Gorey were much the better team, kicking six of the next seven points.

Three of those were Michael Molloy frees, while Jack Cullen and Eoin Molloy also hit the target. St. Martin's did give themselves hope just before the break, kicking the last two scores through Adam Cantwell and Barry O'Connor (1-6 to 1-3).

The visitors adjusted their style in the second-half and eventually began to dominate.

Yet Gorey proved swift and dangerous on the counter-attack and won frees that Michael Molloy usually converted.

St. Martin's were still trailing by 1-10 to 1-7 with five minutes left but two super Kyle Firman points and a close-range Conor Coleman point tied the game heading into the final minute of normal time.

Just when they looked spent, Gorey rebounded. Jack Cullen landed a superb point from the left wing to give them the lead back, and Jack Cushe made sure of the victory two minutes later to move Naomh Eanna into position to nab a quarter-final spot.

Naomh Eanna: Derick Woods; Luke Willoughby, Gary Molloy, Eoghan Kennedy; Cillian Donoghue, Seamus O'Donnell, Jack Willoughby; Jack Cullen (0-3), Eoin Molloy (0-1); Jack Cushe (0-1), Michael Molloy (0-7 frees), Charlie McGuckin; Dillon Connolly, Shane Stokes, Corey Meyler (1-0). Subs. - Jordan Nolan for Donoghue, black card (52), Evan Dwyer for L. Willoughby (58), also Larry Cullen, Nathan Byrne.

St. Martin's: Callum Quirke; Stephen Doyle, Michael Codd, Philip Dempsey; Cian Ryan, Conor Firman, Eoin O'Leary; Ben Maddock, Rory O'Connor; Jack Devereux, Barry O'Connor (0-2, 1 free), Conor Coleman (1-4, 0-2 frees); Kyle Firman (0-3), Adam Cantwell (0-1), Ciarán Dunne. Subs. - Philip McDermott for Devereux (42), Adam McLoughlin for Doyle (52).

Referee: James Owens (Kilrush).

Wexford People

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