Jack of all trades steers holders to handy victory
ST. MARTIN’S BUFFERS ALLEY 4-16 0-12
REIGNING CHAMPS St. Martin’s blew Buffers Alley away in the first-half at Bellefield on Saturday as they marched on into the Pettitt’s Senior hurling championship quarter-finals as Group A winners with 16 points to spare over their relegation-haunted opponents.
The stiff wind gusting towards the town end of the Enniscorthy venue ensured that the Jack O’Connor-inspired winners had a head start which proved ample foundation for victory.
The Alley made only very limited inroads into the deficit as they wasted a host of second-half chances with a blizzard of wasteful wides.
The Martin’s put down early markers to indicate that they were in no mood to allow an upset, with the imperious Jack O’Connor pointing within seconds of throw-in.
The classy centre-forward seemed to be at the heart of all the action, though it was Jake Firman who had the honour of scampering through for the first goal.
The men from Monamolin made some fist of keeping in the contest in the first quarter, with Andrew Kenny slotting over a neat point.
However, the gap between the sides spiralled out of their control from there to the break as slick St. Martin’s passing had the Alley defence in a tangle.
Darren Codd made a superb catch on the run to turn a pass from Mikey Coleman into the second goal, and six different players chipped in with scores in the following ten minutes as the favourites pulled mercilessly ahead.
Goal number three was added from a short range free hammered through a mass of green shirts on the Alley line by O’Connor as the leaders cruised to half-time in total command (3-14 to 0-6).
Game over - and so it proved, though the Piercestown-based outfit added just three scores in the cruise to the finishing line.
A run of six unanswered points on the resumption, all off the hurl of free-taker Paul O’Leary, hinted briefly at the possibility of an Alley comeback.
But the momentum petered out on the wave of wides - a dozen of them during a half in which they failed to register a point from open play, despite the assistance of the elements.
As they stumbled, the champs signed off with a flourish - Jack O’Connor hitting a free before Harry O’Connor batted in the concluding goal with the help of Conor Coleman’s handpass.
So St. Martin’s proceed safely a further step along the trail towards retention of their title while the Alley must re-group to face a door-die game to retain their Senior status against Glynn-Barntown - a repeat of 2012.
St. Martin’s: Luke White; Michael Codd, Patrick O’Connor, Willie Devereux; Daithí Waters, Aaron Maddock, Joe O’Connor; Mark Maloney (0-2), Barry O’Connor (0-3); Ben Maddock (0-2), Jack O’Connor (1-5, 0-3 frees), Darren Codd (1-0); Mikey Coleman, Ciarán Lyng (0-1), Jake Firman (1-2). Subs. - Joe Coleman for B Maddock (10), Harry O’Connor (1-0) for M. Coleman (30), Conor Coleman (0-1) for Lyng (30), Jack Devereux for D. Codd (47), Paudíe Kelly for Joe O’Connor (51).
Buffers Alley: Darren O’Brien; Paudie Reidy, Ciarán Kenny, Conor Kenny; Robert O’Leary, Ross Donohoe, Ciarán Murphy; Bobby Kenny, John Farrell; Pat Kenny, Willie Doran, Paul O’Leary (0-11, 8 frees); Páraic Roche, John Lee Meyler, Andrew Kenny (0-1). Sub. - Kevin Roche for Meyler (30).
Referee: David O’Leary (Rathnure).