Peter’s bow out after second-half surge from Marist
ST. PETER’S College were completely overturned by Marist of Athlone in a dominant second-half display in this Top Oil Leinster Post-Primary Schools Senior football ‘A’ championship game in Athy on Friday.
St. Peter’s needed a victory by the minimum of a three-point margin to safely negotiate their way out of the group into the knockout stages. And while they played with a first-half breeze, their seven-point interval lead still did not look sufficient as Marist delivered most of the quality football.
To their credit, the Wexford town college did show their potential during passages of the opening half, but it was never going to be enough to contain the midlanders given the amount of possession they enjoyed during that first period.
Marist may have trailed by seven points at the break having played into the breeze, but this was mainly from their lack of accuracy as they kicked a succession of wides, ten in total, compared to their opponents’ four.
It was a case of the eventual winners needing to find their accuracy to turn their possession into scores, and they managed to do this in a dominant second-half display.
They took complete control of the outfield exchanges, with the Peter’s defence coming under incessant pressure as a result.
While it may have taken Marist until the end of the third quarter to get level (1-6 each), they turned in a cracking final quarter as they tore the opposing defence to shreds, now managing to find the target with some long-range points.
St. Peter’s may have got the better start but they needed to deliver a knockout blow during a period when Marist were finding so much difficulty with their finishing.
It was a strong performance from their midfield pairing of Paul Deeny and Conall Clancy that pushed them forward in search of scores, but though they were seven points to the good at the break, it still did not look sufficient.
Marist kicked two wides in the opening minutes before big midfielder Kieran Colclough pointed a 35-metre free into the breeze.
Once they settled, St. Peter’s began to build more attacking moves from deep in defence, and centre-back Sam Audsley, one of their better players, kicked the levelling point after seven minutes.
Ben Stafford added a further point before they got a huge twelfth-minute breakthrough. Diarmuid Barry floated over a high sideline ball that was flicked on by centre-forward Jack O’Leary, with Conor Kehoe availing of hesitancy in the opposing defence to finish to the net from close range, giving his side a 1-2 to 0-1 lead.
While Marist could only manage a further point before the interval, a Ciarán Sugrue 15th-minute effort, they went on to kick a succession of wides.
At the opposite end Peter’s kicked some fine long-range points from less possession through James O’Leary, Diarmuid Barry (two) and Paul Deeny to lead by 1-6 to 0-2 at the interval.
It was a resolute opening 30 minutes from Peter’s, but one felt they would come under even more pressure on the resumption as Marist set about turning the game around with a Colin Murphy point after 32 minutes.
They had reduced the deficit to 1-6 to 0-5 when they got the breakthrough for their opening goal at the end of the third quarter when a high Kieran Colclough ball broke into the path of Ciarán Sugrue who finished to the net, leaving the minimum separating the sides.
There was no shortage of quality football, but Marist drove forward at every opportunity, picking off some excellent points before they closed out the game with an Eoghan Derwin goal six minutes from the end.
While Peter’s battled to get back into the game, they were unable to prise open a now dominant Marist defence, with their solitary second-half score being a Sam Audsley point.
After a tremendous run from halfway, his rising shot struck the bar before going over for a point, but the losers can have few complaints with the end result.
St. Peter’s: David Pettit (Our Lady’s Island); Ryan Furlong (Sarsfields), Barry Ryan (Glynn-Barntown), Aaron Doyle (Shelmaliers); Zac Firman (St. Martin’s), Sam Audsley (St. Martin’s, 0-2), James O’Leary (Our Lady’s Island, 0-1); Paul Deeny (Volunteers, 0-1), Conall Clancy (Sarsfields); Ben Stafford (St. Martin’s, 0-1), Jack O’Leary (St. Fintan’s), Ross Banville (Shelmaliers); Shane Pettit (St. Fintan’s), Conor Kehoe (Sarsfields, 1-0), Diarmuid Barry (St. Martin’s, 0-2, 1 free). Subs. - Jack Fortune (Crossabeg-Ballymurn) for Jack O’Leary, Jake Nobbs (Blackwater) for Deeny, Tomás Murphy (Blackwater) for Kehoe, Garbhan MacCormack (Glynn-Barntown) for Firman.
Marist (Athlone): Eamonn Martin; Kieran Quinn, Pearse Frost, Conor Rushe; Ian O’Rourke, Shane Allen (0-4), Paul McGrath (0-1); Kieran Colclough (0-2, 1 free), Shane Cunnane; Stephen O’Connor, Colin Murphy (0-2), Eoghan Derwin (1-0); Ben O’Carroll, Shane Reid, Ciarán Sugrue (1-3). Subs. - Eddie McDonald for Reid, Daryl Prendergast for O’Connor, Ronan Smith for Derwin, O’Connor for Murphy.
Referee: Eamonn O’Connor (Offaly).