Hughes main man
Conor carries on a proud tradition
BALLINASTRAGH GLS 1-10 ST. MARTIN’S 1-4
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).