Jack of all trades steers hold­ers to handy vic­tory

New Ross Standard - - SPORT - DAVID MED­CALF


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).

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