Danesfort led for most of the game, but that was of little comfort to the stripey men as they now find themselves without a point after the opening two games in the senior hurling league.
The losers wides tally was a staggering total of 15, and strong willed St Martin’s (Muckalee) made them pay the price by clinching their second win.
The game opened slowly, with both sides hitting wides twice before the first score came from a Paddy Hogan free. The ever accurate John Maher responded with a free for Martin’s before a pass by John Mulhall found Tomas Breen in space, and the latter fired over.
Richie Hogan caught the resulting puck-out and his pace allowed him to tear down the left sideline before shooting over from an acute angle. John Maher pointed a free to level the game just before Joe Maher had a great chance to shoot Martin’s into a three point lead. John Mulhall’s pass released Maher into the space in front of goal, but his shot was saved by ’keeper, Frank Minogue, who pushed the sliotar away for a 65.
Paul Murphy upped the atmosphere in the stands when his superb catch and strike earned him a score from over 100 metres. Murphy was influential again for his side’s next score when his long range free fell into the Martin’s square. The ball broke sweetly for Cillian Treacy, who wasted no time in burying it past net minder, Colin McGrath, who couldn’t have even seen it fly past him.
John Maher pointed a free before Murphy again, playing at wing back, pointed his second effort at goal. A Richie Hogan free then gave Danesfort a five point lead at the break, 1-6 to 0-4.
Danesfort were playing to their strengths, with the Hogans’, Paddy and Richie, and Paul Murphy striking the majority of balls, while lively forwards like Cillian Treacy had helped give them an impressive interval lead.
St Martin’s were playing against the wind in the first half, and their pass and move brand of hurling had only managed to open the Danesfort defence once. The second half opened much livelier than the first one had, with James Dowling blazing a shot over the bar from close range.
Richie Hogan pointed a free before giving the next one to his brother, Paddy, who shot straight with a booming strike from distance. During the following 15 minutes St Martin’s slowly took control of the game, scoring five points in quick succession.
Canice Maher started the spree after 39 minutes after the ball had been pinged around the Danesfort defence before eventually falling to Maher. John Maher got a great score when he took the ball in the corner of the field, before striking over off his left side.
Canice Maher scored again before another John Maher free was rifled over the crossbar. Giant Brian Mulhall made an appearance on to the field, and his first piece of action saw him catch a McGrath puck-out before striking straight between the posts. Danesfort seemed to be on the ropes. Their six point advantage was down to just one. A Richie Hogan converted free settled the nerves.
A call for over carrying the ball gave John Maher the perfect opportunity to drop the free into the Danesfort square. His lofted free was met by the stick of the big Mulhall, whose flicked effort diverted the ball into the corner of the ’Fort net.
Martin’s were a point ahead with just four minutes remaining. Maher pointed another free in the last minute of normal time. Two minutes into injury-time a long free from Paddy Hogan was caught by Paul Murphy in attack, who was fouled. Danesfort had a chance to equalise from a 20 metre free.
Paddy Hogan’s blasted effort was saved, however, and referee Richard Dowling blew the full time whistle, leaving Martin’s winners. Danesfort will feel that they left the game behind them, hitting a disappointing 15 wides to Martin’s six.
St Martins now climb to the top of the Group 1 table while Danesfort stay bottom.
Scorers: St Martin’s - John Maher (0-6, five frees); Brian Mulhall (1-1); Canice Maher (0-2); Tomas Breen, James Dowling (0-1 each). Danesfort - Richie Hogan (0-5, four frees); Cillian Treacy (1-0); Paddy Hogan (0-2, frees): Paul Murphy (0-2).
St Martin’s - Colin McGrath, James Maher, Ronan Maher, Shane Cadigan, Niall Moran, Paddy Nolan, Damien Maher, Tomas Breen, Paul Maher, John Mulhall, Eoin McGrath, Joe Maher, Canice Maher, John Maher, James Dowling. Subs - Brian Mulhall, Pauric Haughney, Bryan Byrne.
Danesfort - Frank Minogue, Philip Walsh, Ciaran Treacy, Michael Cunningham, Paul Murphy, Paddy Hogan, Gavin O Keeffe, Stephen Duncan, Liam Forrestal, David Forrestal, Richie Hogan, Cathal O’Neill, Cillian Treacy, John Doheny, Robbie Walsh. Subs - Padraig Forrestal, Tony Woodcock, Ben O’Connor.
Referee - Richard Dowling (Kilmacow).