Martin’s com­plete Un­der-20 dou­ble

Martin’s com­plete dou­ble in in­au­gu­ral year

Enniscorthy Guardian - - SPORT - ALAN AH­ERNE

A WELL-WORKED goal ten min­utes from the end by cor­ner-for­ward Jack Dev­ereux was ul­ti­mately the match-win­ning score in St. Patrick’s Park, En­nis­cor­thy, on Satur­day when St. Martin’s held off a de­ter­mined chal­lenge from HWH-Bun­clody to com­plete a Greenstar Un­der-20 Di­vi­sion 1 cham­pi­onship dou­ble.

With the hurl­ing ti­tle al­ready safely se­cured, the young men in ma­roon brought this in­au­gu­ral com­pe­ti­tion to a suc­cess­ful end, giv­ing the thriv­ing club its sec­ond ma­jor vic­tory in a mat­ter of hours fol­low­ing the Mi­nor camo­gie de­cider.

And while that goal was the even­tual win­ning mar­gin be­tween the sides, its tim­ing was of equal sig­nif­i­cance.

HWH-Bun­clody had been push­ing very hard in the min­utes be­fore­hand, and had man­aged to re­duce the deficit from four points to two de­spite shoot­ing a cou­ple of wides as well.

On other oc­ca­sions threat­en­ing at­tacks broke down as a re­sult of the fi­nal pass go­ing astray, while the St. Martin’s de­fence de­served credit too for block­ing the area in front of their goal with am­ple bod­ies when the pres­sure was at its great­est.

Af­ter six min­utes of near-con­stant pres­sure dur­ing the third quar­ter, the siege was even­tu­ally lifted.

Barry O’Con­nor, the game’s most in­flu­en­tial fig­ure, was nar­rowly wide from a free, while an at­tempt at a fisted point from Peter Barry came back into play off the post.

Given that they held a lead of 0-10 to 0-8 at the time, St. Martin’s needed some­thing more to get them over the line, and it duly ar­rived in the 50th minute.

Team cap­tain Philip McDer­mott found Barry whose long hand­pass be­yond the last cov­er­ing de­fender was gath­ered by cor­ner-for­ward Jack Dev­ereux, and he slot­ted low to the far cor­ner of Jack Re­gan’s net with a com­posed fin­ish.

It was a crush­ing blow for HWH-Bun­clody and, although they reg­is­tered four of the fi­nal six points, they were de­nied the goal they needed by a fine save from Bran­don Dodd in the 55th minute when he kept out a pow­er­ful ef­fort from Peadair Cow­man.

There was a some­what sub­dued air to pro­ceed­ings for most of the open­ing half, with the long ball tac­tic into Barry O’Con­nor pay­ing div­i­dends for St. Martin’s as they hit two late points to es­tab­lish a dou­ble scores in­ter­val lead (0-8 to 0-4).

O’Con­nor and Conor Cole­man re­turned to the start­ing line-up af­ter miss­ing the semi-fi­nal win against Sars­fields seven days ear­lier, and they were re­spon­si­ble for the open­ing two Martin’s points from frees af­ter Cathal Doyle had ini­tially given HWH-Bun­clody the lead.

The losers’ top scorer, Eoin Kelly, lev­elled from a free in the eighth minute, but O’Con­nor re­stored his side’s ad­van­tage from another dead-ball be­fore mid­fielder Adam Cantwell kicked a fine score from dis­tance (0-4 to 0-2).

An O’Con­nor brace, the first from play, high­lighted the threat he posed, and the HWH-Bun­clody men­tors switched John Dunne on to the dan­ger­man at an early stage.

St. Martin’s also re-shuf­fled their pack mid­way through the sec­ond quar­ter, in­tro­duc­ing Diar­muid Barry to their at­tack and mov­ing Ben Stafford to the full-back line.

An Eoin Kelly free nar­rowed the gap to three in the 23rd minute, and it took a fine diving block by Philip McDer­mott to deny Peadair Cow­man a shot at goal af­ter a move started by HWH-Bun­clody’s best de­fender, the tena­cious Jamie Ka­vanagh.

By­ron Byrne picked out Cathal Doyle for his sec­ond point in the 27th minute to make it 6-4, but St. Martin’s fin­ished the half on a high note as Kyle Fir­man kicked a good score un­der pres­sure be­fore Barry O’Con­nor pointed via the cross­bar af­ter Michael Codd won an op­po­si­tion kick-out.

Codd part­nered Ben Mad­dock at mid­field for the sec­ond-half throw-in, and they were faced by Martin O’Con­nor and Josh Martin, with Eoin Kelly on the ’40 for HWH-Bun­clody while Peadair Cow­man now fea­tured on the edge of the square.

And the En­nis­cor­thy District side couldn’t have asked for a bet­ter start, as Kelly pulled back two points in a mere 85 sec­onds, from a free and play af­ter a Tadhg O Ceal­laigh as­sist re­spec­tively (0-8 to 0-6).

Michael Codd and Barry O’Con­nor com­bined to cre­ate an open­ing for Kyle Fir­man to re­spond with a point, and O’Con­nor also reg­is­tered from a free shortly af­ter Josh Martin and Peadair Cow­man switched po­si­tions for their ri­vals.

HWH-Bun­clody then en­joyed that spell of supremacy, with Ciarán Ka­vanagh set­ting up Eoin Kelly for a point be­fore the lat­ter added one more from a free af­ter full-back Adam Ho­gan was fouled on a driv­ing run (0-10 to 0-8).

That Jack Dev­ereux goal hit them like a train and stalled the mo­men­tum, although Ka­vanagh did man­age to notch a point less than 60 sec­onds later from a John Dunne pass.

A Barry O’Con­nor point kept HWH-Bun­clody at arm’s length, but it might have been a dif­fer­ent story if Bran­don Dodd had been beaten by that Peadair Cow­man shot in the 55th minute.

The play was called back for a free as there was no ad­van­tage to the at­tack­ing team, and Eoin Kelly slot­ted it over be­fore do­ing like­wise af­ter a foul on Josh Martin (1-11 to 0-11).

HWH-Bun­clody fol­lowed up with two wides for a fi­nal tally of seven (St. Martin’s had five), and the even­tual vic­tors kicked a pre­cious clos­ing point in the 60th minute when Kyle Fir­man fired over his third from a tight an­gle af­ter good work by Adam Cantwell.

Eoin Kelly brought his own tally to nine points from a free, and there was still a glim­mer of hope for the Car­low bor­der crew when they launched one last at­tack over three min­utes into added time.

John Dunne found Cathal Doyle whose hand­pass was in­ter­cepted by Sam Aud- sley, and that was greeted by the fi­nal whis­tle as St. Martin’s de­servedly be­came the first win­ners of this new cham­pi­onship.

At least HWH-Bun­clody had the conso- la­tion of win­ning the Di­vi­sion 2 hurl­ing ti­tle ear­lier in the sea­son and, given that they beat Satur­day’s op­po­nents by 2-9 to 1-10 in the last Un­der-18 Mi­nor fi­nal in 2017, there’s a strong chance that these teams will lock horns once again at Un­der-20 level next year with a big prize at stake.

There was one very un­usual as­pect to the game that is wor­thy of com­ment. Ref- eree Bren­dan Holo­han kept firm con­trol of pro­ceed­ings with­out the need to is­sue a card of any colour, and in my view he is an up and com­ing of­fi­cial with a big fu­ture.

And yet, it was a free-rid­den en­coun- ter, due largely to the heavy un­der­foot con­di­tions and the tough tack­ling from both sides.

A first-half fea­tur­ing 23 frees was

fol­lowed by 35 af­ter the break, with HWH-Bun­clody awarded 32 in to­tal while 26 went to the win­ners.

St. Martin’s: Bran­don Dodd; Sam Aud­s­ley, Philip Dempsey, Eoin O’Leary; Philip McDer­mott (capt.), Conor Fir­man, Michael Codd; Adam Cantwell (0-1), Ben Mad­dock; Ben Stafford, Peter Barry, Barry O’Con­nor (0-7, 4 frees); Kyle Fir­man (0-3), Conor Cole­man (0-1 free), Jack Dev­ereux (1-0). Subs. - Diar­muid Barry for O’Leary (22), Zac Fir­man for Dev­ereux (60+3), also Jack Roche, Paddy Gal­lagher, Conor Dev­ereux, Stephen Doyle, Rúairí Cullen, Conor Kelly, Adam McLaugh­lin, Shane Walsh, Ben Mor­ris, Conor Stafford, James Mer­nagh, Liam O Lionáin.

HWH-Bun­clody: Jack Re­gan; Jamie Ka­vanagh, Adam Ho­gan, Paddy Dun­bar; By­ron Byrne, John Dunne, Ciarán Ka­vanagh (0-1); Martin O’Con­nor, Peadair Cow­man; Ed­die Black, Josh Martin, Steven Ka­vanagh; Cathal Doyle (0-2), Eoin Kelly (0-9, 7 frees), Tadhg O Ceal­laigh. Subs. - Dar­ren Doyle for O Ceal­laigh (33), Bran­don Ka­vanagh for S. Ka­vanagh (52), John McCor­mack for Martin (57), also Cathal Dun­bar, Ed­ward Dun­bar, Lee Con­roy, Bobby McK­e­own, Ai­dan Ma­hon.

Ref­eree: Bren­dan Holo­han (Rath­garogue-Cushin­stown).

St. Martin’s cel­e­brate af­ter com­plet­ing the Un­der-20 dou­ble on Satur­day.

The HWH-Bun­clody squad prior to Satur­day’s fi­nal.

Barry O’Con­nor of St. Martin’s burst­ing past By­ron Byrne and Peadair Cow­man.

Sam Aud­s­ley of St. Martin’s keep­ing a close eye on HWH-Bun­clody’s Josh Martin.

Win­ning cap­tain Philip McDer­mott with An­drew Egan of Greenstar and Cian O Lionáin.

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