THE thoughts of many people had already switched to the impending Champions League final when John Maher easily slotted over the bar a 21metre free with 10 minutes to go to put St Martin’s (Muckalee)1-14 to 0-10 ahead after the Notherners had played all good hurling in this senior league clash on Saturday.
However, in the twinkling of an eye Bill McCormack pounced on a mistake in the Saints goalmouth and lashed the sliotar to the net. The Dunnamaggin comeback was on. It ended somewhat controversially with Kenny Moore equalising in injury-time when goaling a 20 metre free which some felt was a hard call.
This match at Palmerstown began with a blaze of scores. Dunnamaggin’s Sean O’Neill fired over a fine point after 90 seconds but Martin’s response was emphatic. John Mulhall, Joe Maher, John Maher (free) and Shane Coonan all helped themselves to points.
Canice Hickey briefly lifted the siege starting to develop on the Southerners goal with a converted free which was followed by points from Joe Maher, Eoin McGrath and John Maher.
Dunnamaggin’s Bill McCormack was on target from a placed ball, but Sean O’Neill’s charges went further ahead with a superb point from John Maher, who, after being fouled was on the verge of being blown for over-carrying but he managed to get a shot away on the sideline which put the ball over the bar.
Joe Maher and Eoin McGrath took inspiration from the veteran leader of the attack to add points but Canice Hickey had the last say of the half with a pointed free. This left the score at 0-10 to 0-4 in favour of Martin’s.
Just after half-time Ronan Maher did well to win the ball and then find Ollie Walsh, who launched a booming clearance that found the mercurial John Maher. From an acute angle he sneaked the ball into the bottom right hand corner.
The highlight of the scorers until McCormack opened the contest again was a point from Eoin McGrath when the centre-forward pointed from almost beside the clubhouse.
Canice Hickey and Robert Shore exchanged points to keep four in it before O’Neill and Kenny Moore helped themselves to a point a piece to leave it at two.
A Moore point was sandwiched by points from Joe Maher and John Maher. Cue the Hollywood ending from Moore with the goal.
Credit to both sides for producing a lively contest. In times past Martin’s would have probably folded in that situation and held on for the point whilst Dunnamaggin will be thrilled to have chiselled out a point from a difficult position.
Scorers: St Martin’s - John Maher (1-6, 0-5 frees); Joe Maher (0-4); Eoin McGrath (0-3); John Mulhall, Robert Shore, Damien Maher, Shane Coonan (0-1 each). Dunnamaggin - Kenneth Moore (1-5, 1-4 frees); Canice Hickey (0-5 frees); Bill McCormack (1-1, 0-1 free); Sean O’Neill (0-2); J.J. Dunphy (0-1).
St Martin’s - Colin McGrath, Shane Cadigan, Paddy Nolan, Ollie Walsh, Alan Murphy, James Dowling, Ronan Maher, Shane Coonan, Damien Maher, Tomas Breen, Eoin McGrath, Joe Maher, John Mulhall, John Maher, Robert Shore. Sub - Canice Maher.
Dunnamaggin - David Herity, Mark Dowling, Noel Hickey, Mark Heffernan, Aidan O’Donovan, Canice Hickey, Andrew Hickey, Kenny Moore, Sean Connery, Tom Maher, J.J. Dunphy, Darren Fitzpatrick, Kieran Bergin, Seaghan O’Neill, Bill McCormack. Subs - Matthew Moylan, Brendan Moore, John Hickey.
Referee - John Walsh (Rower-Inistioge).