Hughes main man

Conor car­ries on a proud tra­di­tion

New Ross Standard - - SPORT - BRIAN CARTY


BALLINASTRAGH GAELS were the in­au­gu­ral win­ners of the Wex­ford Peo­ple Un­der-17 foot­ball Premier shield fi­nal, when an up and com­ing star with a sur­name syn­ony­mous with Ki­lanerin was to the fore as they de­feated St. Mar­tin’s by 1-10 to 1-4 in the fi­nal at a rain-swept St. Patrick’s Park, En­nis­cor­thy.

The Hughes fam­ily have been front and cen­tre to the north county club’s for­tunes for decades now, and Conor Hughes car­ried on that proud tra­di­tion by kick­ing three points and hav­ing a hand in at least two more as the Gaels con­fi­dently took home the spoils.

Even more im­pres­sive is the fact that they did so hav­ing shipped an early goal from St. Mar­tin’s cap­tain Conor Dev­ereux, who re­ceived Diar­muid O’Leary’s per­fect hand­pass be­fore fir­ing low to the net across Garb­hann Finn.

But St. Mar­tin’s didn’t score again for the next 24 min­utes as in­stead the Matty Forde-coached lads built up a head of steam.

Robert Mur­phy’s sev­enth-minute free was fol­lowed up by Hughes hold­ing his bal­ance in the driv­ing rain be­fore point­ing, while the lat­ter as­sisted full-back Ben Mor­ris ven­tur­ing for­ward to force Bran­don Dodd to touch the ball over the bar on 13 min­utes.

And while Tom Mor­daunt was de­nied from a smart save at the near post from Dodd, Ballinastragh none­the­less de­vel­oped a lead they wouldn’t sur­ren­der when a mark from Hughes pre­ceded Matthew Healy flight­ing over.

Hughes made it 0-5 to 1-0 with a nice point from mid-range, be­fore St. Mar­tin’s pegged back a point from a Dev­ereux free shortly be­fore Joe Cur­tis hit a goal chance straight at Dodd as Ballinastragh led by 0-5 to 1-1 at the break.

Cur­tis and a Healy dou­ble (one free) ex­tended the gap, with Dev­ereux re­ply­ing with an­other free.

A neat counter-at­tack was fin­ished by Hughes on 44 min­utes,while an­other soon af­ter needed an in­ter­ven­tion from Dodd to pre­vent a cer­tain goal.

But the game was ef­fec­tively wrapped up on 46 min­utes when Cur­tis stole a mishit kick-out, drib­bled be­yond the de­fence soc­cer-style and neatly fin­ished along the floor (1-9 to 1-2).

And Healy sup­plied their last point from a free, as points from Dev­ereux and David Cantwell came too late to al­ter the ver­dict.

Ballinastragh Gaels: Garb­hann Finn; Lee Noblett, Ben Mor­ris (0-1), Jake Kin­sella; Si­mon Camp­bell-Carthy, Paddy D’Arcy, Ja­son Bol­ger; Conor Hughes (0-3), Tom Mor­daunt; Seán Hughes, Robert Mur­phy (capt., 0-1 free), Conor Kin­sella; Joe Cur­tis (11), Matthew Healy (0-4, 2 frees), Cian Hughes. Subs. - Michael For­tune, Finn McCauley, Caleb Byrne-Mur­phy, Ai­dan McCauley, J.J. Kin­sella-O’Neill, Cil­lian Byrne, Conor Jones, Mikey Hig­gins.

St. Mar­tin’s: Bran­don Dodd; Oisín Wa­ters, Ben Mor­ris, Jim McDer­mott; Joe Bar­rett, David Codd, Diar­muid O’Leary; Shane Walsh, James Mer­nagh; Conor Stafford, Conor Kelly, David Cantwell (0-1); John Hen­nessy, Conor Dev­ereux (capt., 1-3, 0-2 frees), Adam Feery. Subs. - Rory Dev­ereux for Feery (HT), Cil­lian Cork­ery for Hen­nessy (38), Zach Bres­lin for Stafford (48), David O’Boyle for Mer­nagh (48), Jamie Berry for McDer­mott (51), also Conor Keane, Luke Ka­vanagh, Kevin Reck, Chisto­pher Ryan, John Codd.

Ref­eree: Ian Plun­kett (Mar­shal­stown-Cas­tle­dock­rell).

The rain was no im­ped­i­ment to Ballinastragh Gaels cel­e­brat­ing thei shield vic­tory.

The run­ners-up from St. Mar­tin’s.

Match-win­ner Conor Hughes gains pos­ses­sion of the ball.

Conor Stafford of St. Mar­tin’s holds off Adam Feery.

Robert Mur­phy, the Ballinastragh Gaels cap­tain, with Mar­guerite Fur­long (Coiste na nOg Chair­per­son) and Brian Carty (spon­sors).

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