A brace of points during the closing four minutes secured St Martin’s (Muckalee) their third win in the senior hurling league and a comfortable third place finish in Group A.
The bold Fenians (Johnstown) gave their all during a close and well contested match in cold Freshford on Saturday, but limited resources limit their scope for achievement and they now face a battle against relegation.
The losers had first use of the fresh breeze blowing from the town end. Despite a promising start that saw points from John Broderick, the deadly finishing Kevin Power and Mark Webster give them an early 0-3 to 0-1 lead they didn’t maintain those promising returns. They were caught at 0-5 each in the 27th minute by a John Maher free after the excellent James Maher was fouled, and at the break it was all square at 0-6 each.
St Martin’s opened the second half with a brace of points from the strong hurling Thomas Breen, and while they too hinted at great things, they didn’t come to pass. After 42 minutes things were looking good for them when they led by 0-12 to 0-8, but when Kevin Power pulled back a badly goal for Fenians (0-12 to 1-8) in the 43rd minute things became complicated again. The equal division of the next six scores left the minimum in it with 10 minutes to go (0-14 to 1-10).
The strong Breen/Dowling partnership in midfield for Martin’s was slowly putting the squeeze on the losers. Breen shot his third score of the half to double the divide. Eoin McGrath then made a contribution and when the Fenians had a goal attempt from a close in free saved, you sensed the game was gone on them.
Late points from James Dowling and Robert Shore sealed the deal for Martin’s.
Scorers: St Martin’s - John Maher (0-6, four frees); Thomas Breen, James Dowling (0-3 each); Robert Shore, John Mulahll (0-2 each); Eoin McGrath, Canice Maher (0-1 each). Fenians - Kevin Power (1-4, 1-1 frees); Mark Webster (0-3, two frees); Conor Tobin (0-3, one free); John Broderick (0-1).
St Martin’s - Colin McGrath, Niall Moran, Ollie Walsh, Shane Cadigan, Brian Byrne, Patrick Nolan, Michael Morrissey, Thomas Breen, James Dowlikng, Paul Maher, Eoin McGrath, Canice Maher, John Mulhall, John Maher, Robert Shore. Sub - Shane Kinsella for P. Maher.
Fenians - P.J. Ryan, Declan Garrett, John Henderson, Ger Henderson, John Broderick, J.J. Delaney, Rory Phelan, Darragh Tobin, Cathal Ryan, Conor Tobin, Willie Brennan, Kieran Grehan, James Whelan, Kevin Power, Mark Webster. Sub - Sean Brennan for Whelan.
Referee - John Guinan (St Lachtain’s).