Martin’s have a lit­tle ex­tra

Ferns fought all the way be­fore four-in-a-row se­cured

New Ross Standard - - SPORT - BREN­DAN FUR­LONG

ST. MARTIN’S FERNS 1-14 1-10 (AET)

IT MAY have taken ex­tra-time, but in the end St. Martin’s pre­vailed with an ex­cel­lent four-point vic­tory over a bat­tling Ferns St. Ai­dan’s out­fit in this thrilling Wex­ford Peo­ple Mi­nor hurl­ing Premier cham­pi­onship fi­nal in Belle­field on Satur­day.

A scor­ing burst dur­ing the open­ing three minutes of ex­tra-time even­tu­ally sealed the vic­tory for the south county side as, up to then in had been prac­ti­cally im­pos­si­ble to sep­a­rate two fine hurl­ing out­fits.

Level af­ter 60 minutes, and still dead­locked at half-time in ex­tra-time, the sides went on to share a point apiece but then up stepped Adam Cantwell with a vi­tal point from mid­field.

This was fol­lowed by a fur­ther long-range ef­fort from the hugely im­pres­sive Jack Dev­ereux, two scores that even­tu­ally proved suf­fi­cient to kill off the dogged Ferns chal­lenge.

Both teams fought tooth and nail all through with lit­tle sep­a­rat­ing the sides at any stage, and re­ally it was a re­sult that could have gone ei­ther way through the open­ing 60 minutes.

En­ter­ing the fi­nal quar­ter St. Martin’s were de­fend­ing a three­p­oint lead with Philip Dempsey, Ben Mad­dock, David Codd and Adam Cantwell su­perb in de­fence, while Michael Codd and Eoin O’Leary were push­ing for­ward at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity from mid­field.

St. Martin’s, with Jack Dev­ereux and David Cantwell lead­ing the way in at­tack, looked to have dug deep enough, lead­ing by three points en­ter­ing the fi­nal quar­ter, but there was still to be much drama.

Work­ing their way back into the game through the per­sis­tent fine hurl­ing of Conor Scallan, Rory Scallan and Kieran Mur­phy, Ferns showed un­be­liev­able char­ac­ter.

Eight minutes from the end a Chris Turner goal had them dra­mat­i­cally in front by the min­i­mum mar­gin, but St. Martin’s ‘keeper Cal­lum Quirke lofted over an 80-me­tre pointed free on 60 minutes to bring the sides level.

The drama was by no means over as, two minutes into additional time, Chris Turner saw a ris­ing shot re­bound back into play off the cross­bar, thus en­sur­ing the game went to ex­tra-time.

The early stages of play saw scor­ing lim­ited as both sets of play­ers tried to come to terms with the heavy un­der­foot con­di­tions. Both sides were cre­at­ing chances but were find­ing dif­fi­culty in trans­lat­ing pos­ses­sion into scores, with St. Martin’s lead­ing by 0-2 to nil af­ter eight minutes through points from Ben Stafford (free) and David Cantwell.

Dur­ing this open­ing spell Chris Turner was wide with two at­tempts on goal, one from a free, be­fore Ferns even­tu­ally opened their ac­count through a 16th-minute Shane Breen 40-me­tre point, leav­ing the score­line 0-2 to 0-1.

St. Martin’s suf­fered a blow at the end of the open­ing quar­ter when they lost in­flu­en­tial at­tacker and free-taker Ben Stafford with an in­jured shoul­der. Jack Dev­ereux, who as­sumed the man­tle of placed balls, was wide with his ini­tial at­tempt on goal, but still the sides went on to ex­change points through Eoin O’Leary with a good run an fin­ish, Jeff Tobin, Turner and Dev­ereux (free) to leave them level (0-4 each) at the in­ter­val.

Within two minutes of the restart a Turner pointed free had Ferns in front, but one minute later Jack Dev­ereux pow­ered home a su­perb ground shot to the op­po­site cor­ner of the net, leav­ing St. Martin’s two points clear (1-4 to 0-5).

A Turner point left the min­i­mum sep­a­rat­ing the sides, but mid­fielder Michael Codd took the ini­tia­tive by pow­er­ing over two ex­cel­lent points, one from a free, to leave his sides lead­ing by 1-6 to 0-6 af­ter 47 minutes.

But with Conor Scallan driv­ing his side on, Ferns re­sponded with a Chris Turner goal eight minutes from the end hav­ing cut in along the end­line, and this af­ter he had pointed a free one minute ear­lier, leav­ing his side dra­mat­i­cally in front by 1-7 to 1-6.

With the clock run­ning down it took the cool Cal­lum Quirke to power over a huge lev­el­ling point on 60 minutes, en­sur­ing the game went to ex­tra-time.

The sides were still dead­locked (1-9 each) at the end of the first ten-minute pe­riod. Eoin Mur­phy and Zac Fir­man ex­changed open­ing points, and then it was the turn of the re­spec­tive net­min­ders, with James Lawlor point­ing an 80-me­tre free off the side­line, be­fore a sim­i­lar ef­fort from Quirke en­sured the sides re­mained level (1-9 each) at the break.

Sixty sec­onds into the sec­ond pe­riod of ex­tra-time, David Cantwell swung over a great point, but Ferns re­sponded through a Turner 40-me­tre free off the side­line.

Then came the defin­ing mo­ments as in the sec­ond and third minutes, Adam Cantwell and Jack Dev­ereux shot long-range points from mid­field, and with Quirke and sub­sti­tute Kyle Fir­man point­ing long-range frees, St. Martin’s pre­vailed af­ter a most dra­matic fi­nal to com­plete four ti­tles in a row.

St. Martin’s: Cal­lum Quirke (0-3 frees); Shane Walsh, Philip Dempsey, Sam Aud­s­ley; David Codd, Ben Mad­dock, Adam Cantwell (0-1); Michael Codd (0-2, 1 free), Eoin O’Leary (0-1); Ben Stafford (0-1 free), Paddy Gal­lagher, David Cantwell (0-2); Conor Dev­ereux, Jack Dev­ereux (1-2, 0-1 free), Zac Fir­man (0-1). Subs. - Aaron Clancy for Stafford, inj. (15), Rory Cullen for Clancy (40), Liam O Lionáin for C. Dev­ereux (56), Kyle Fir­man (0-1 free) for Gal­lagher (58), also Adam McLough­lin, Si­mon Cur­ran, James Mer­nagh, Jordan Hayes, Conor Kelly, Adam Feery, Diar­muid Barry, Matthew Duffy.

Ferns St. Ai­dan’s: James Lawlor; Brian O’Neill, Pa­trick O’Ha­gan, Wil­liam Bol­ger; Rory Scallan, Conor Scallan, Kieran Mur­phy; Niall Mur­phy, Eoin Mur­phy (0-1); Lee Quigley, Jeff Tobin (0-1), Shane Breen (0-1); Shane Stafford, Chris Turner (1-6, 0-4 frees, 0-1 ’65), Pádraig Kin­sella. Subs. - Seb Ryn­hart for Kin­sella (39), Pa­trick O’Toole for Stafford (40), also Evan Mur­phy, Eoghan Mur­phy, Liam Mur­phy, Michael O’Brien, Barry O’Toole, Bob Byrne, Steve War­ren, Kevin Stafford, By­ron Jordan, Barry Mur­phy.

Ref­eree: John O’Lough­lin (Mon­ageer-Boolavogue).

St. Martin’s cel­e­brate af­ter adding a fourth suc­ces­sive Wex­ford Peo­ple Mi­nor hurl­ing Premier ti­tle to the Se­nior, Un­der-21 and Ju­nior ‘A’ cham­pi­onship wins from ear­lier in the year.

Ferns St. Ai­dan’s, who pro­duced such a strong fight in Satur­day’s fi­nal in Belle­field.

Cal­lum Quirke and Philip Dempsey, the St. Martin’s joint cap­tains, with Bren­dan Fur­long of Peo­ple News­pa­pers who spon­sor all Coiste na nOg cham­pi­onships from Un­der-14 to Mi­nor.

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