Danesfort will rue the high number of wides, compared to St Martin’s clinical finishing which won them this senior hurling championship clash.
The Muckalee men looked strong all over the park on Saturday, with points coming from five of their forwards as well as both midfielders. On balance, Danesfort managed to carve out as many chances, but Martin’s were more clinical. The only goal was one of those quirky rarities, immediately after half time.
A free, hit from his own half by Muckalee ‘keeper Colin McGrath, was sent long to drop into the square of waiting players. It caught everyone out, and as Frank Manogue came out to collect, the sliothar found its way to the other post and the back of the net. The four-point gap it opened would never be closed.
It was a killer blow, as it had previously looked as though Danesfort’s fortunes might be turning. Three minutes before half time, they made a switch, calling ashore Jim Phelan and Cillian Treacy, for Oisin Daly and Darragh Sheehan. Three points from Richie Hogan and one from the talented Cathal O’ Neill, closed the gap to just one point by the break.
O’ Neill hit the game’s first point, before St Martin’s John Maher equalled things up – and that was the last time in the game that the sides would have parity. Another point from him, from Canice Maher, and from Eoin McGrath received only a string of Danesfort wides by way of response.
Richie Hogan’s frees kept the ‘Fort men in touching distance throughout, but points from that trio of Canice Maher, John Maher and Eoin McGrath – as well as a spectacular long-range howitzer from John Mulhall – kept the northern club in front.
Danesfort can take some positives from the game, with solid performances from the likes of Sheehan and from Philly Walsh at the back, who linked well with the wily Paddy Hogan, and made several big clearances. Paul Murphy covered a huge amount of ground, but his influence in the second half was curtailed.
Scorers: St Martin’s - John Maher (0-7), Colin McGrath (1-1), Eoin McGrath (0-3), John Mulhall, Canice Maher (0-2),Thomas Breen, James Dowling and Robert Shore (0-1). Danesfort - Richie Hogan (0-7), Cathal O’ Neill (0-3), Paul Murphy (0-2).
St Martin’s - Colin McGrath, Niall Moran, Ollie Walsh, Shane Cadigan, Brian Byrne, Patrick Nolan, James Maher, Canice Maher, James Dowling, Thomas Breen, Brian Mulhall, John Mulhall, Eoin McGrath, John Maher, Robert Shore.
Danesfort - Frank Manogue, Darren Booth, Liam Forrestal, Michael Cunningham, Tony Woodcock, Paddy Hogan, Philip Walsh, Jim Phelan, Paul Murphy, Paddy Hickey, David Forrestal, Cathal O’ Neill, Cillian Treacy, Richie Hogan, Robbie Walsh.