Last three points land first District ti­tle since 2013

New Ross Standard - - SPORT - ALAN AHERNE

ST. MARTIN’S 2-10 ST. ANNE’S 1-11

ST. MARTIN’S hit the last three points in an en­ter­tain­ing lo­cal derby in Tagoat on Sun­day to se­cure the Per­ma­nent TSB Wex­ford District Ju­nior ‘B’ hurl­ing championship ti­tle for the first time since 2013 at the ex­pense of near neigh­bours St. Anne’s.

Last year’s run­ners-up fell one point in ar­rears with just over seven min­utes left when Brian Ka­vanagh edged the blues in front, but they made the most of their chances in the cru­cial clos­ing stages.

Ex­pe­ri­enced sub­sti­tute Phe­lim Crotty lev­elled from a Dar­ragh Wa­ters de­liv­ery be­fore chances were missed at both ends, with St. Anne’s strik­ing two wides on ei­ther side of an off tar­get long-range free by Alan Ke­hoe for their ri­vals.

How­ever, St. Martin’s hit the front at the vi­tal junc­ture, al­most two and a half min­utes into added time, when Richard Dev­ereux grabbed an at­tempted St. Anne’s clear­ance and re­turned it over the bar with in­ter­est (2-9 to 1-11).

And when Leo Burke burst out of de­fence and won a vi­tal free, Alan Ke­hoe was cool­ness per­son­i­fied as he stroked it be­tween the posts from 90 me­tres.

St. Anne’s did cre­ate enough late at­tacks to per­haps force ex­tra-time, but a missed free pre­ceded strong de­fend­ing from the even­tual vic­tors who had lost at the same stage to Cross­abeg-Bal­ly­murn twelve months ago by nine points.

They came from be­hind to forge this win, as St. Anne’s had first use of the wind and held their op­po­nents score­less from play in the open­ing half as they es­tab­lished a 0-9 to 0-3 lead.

Those three Martin’s strikes from Alan Ke­hoe placed balls left them trail­ing 6-3 af­ter 20 min­utes, but St. Anne’s ex­tended their ad­van­tage be­fore the break with points from Dy­lan O’Brien (free), Robert Byrne and Niall Doyle (free) de­spite a ris­ing wides tally of nine.

The wily Fran­cis Simp­son and Kevin White had con­trib­uted a brace of scores apiece be­fore­hand, but St. Anne’s strug­gled to add to their tally when fac­ing the el­e­ments on the re-start.

Af­ter a swift Aaron Clancy point, St. Martin’s were really back in busi­ness when a long line ball by Alan Ke­hoe was bat­ted out into the path of Dar­ragh Wa­ters who first-timed it to the net in the 37th minute (0-9 to 1-4).

Wa­ters and Micheál Lyng were de­nied goals shortly af­ter­wards, but mo­men­tum swung to­wards the men in ma­roon as points from Lyng, Ryan Mur­phy and Lyng again pushed them clear for the first time.

The first of just three sec­ond-half scores for St. Anne’s came in the form of an equal­is­ing point by Fran­cis Simp­son in the 46th minute, and they looked to be back in busi­ness when Niall Doyle’s high de­liv­ery was fin­ished to the net by sub­sti­tute Diar­muid Kelly to cre­ate a 1-10 to 1-7 lead.

Just 60 sec­onds later the sides were level again though, as Alan Ke­hoe crashed a free to the net af­ter a foul on Richard Dev­ereux.

An ex­change of points be­tween Brian Ka­vanagh and Phe­lim Crotty left it all to play for, but Dev­ereux and Ke­hoe (free) struck those late clinch­ers as the Martin’s third string ul­ti­mately ac­counted for the Anne’s sec­onds.

Un­der the new sys­tem in­tro­duced this year, both teams will con­test county quar­ter-fi­nals.

St. Martin’s: Michael Kear­ney; Cian Ryan, Martin Whe­lan, Derek Bur­rell (capt.); Michael Car­roll, Ryan Mur­phy (0-1), Philip McDer­mott; Aaron Whitty, Richard Doyle; Aaron Clancy (0-1), Richard Dev­ereux (0-1), Dar­ragh Wa­ters (1-0); Micheál Lyng (0-2), Alan Ke­hoe (1-4, 1-3 frees, 0-1 ’65), Jack Roche. Subs. - Leo Burke for Doyle, inj. (22), Phe­lim Crotty (0-1) for Clancy (41), Philip Cole­man for Roche (60+6).

St. Anne’s: Paddy Miskella; Vin­cent Car­roll, Robert Byrne (0-1), Gavin O’Brien; Michael O’Brien, Niall Doyle (capt., 0-3 frees), Paul McDon­nell; Joe O’Con­nor, Jim Ryan; Brian Ka­vanagh (0-1), Fran­cis Simp­son (0-3), Kevin White (0-2); David Ka­vanagh, Dy­lan O’Brien (0-1 free), Barry Roche. Subs. - Conor Ryan for D. Ka­vanagh, inj. (30+4), Diar­muid Kelly (1-0) for J. Ryan, inj. (38), David Ka­vanagh for B. Ka­vanagh (60+1).

Ref­eree: Niall McDonald (Cross­abeg-Bal­ly­murn).

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