St Martin’s regain Wexford title after tense battle

St Anne’s push winners all the way as St Martin’s regain title they lost last year

  St Martin’s  goalscorer Jake Firman celebrates at the final whistle. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

St Martin’s goalscorer Jake Firman celebrates at the final whistle. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

 

St Martin’s 1-15 St Anne’s 1-13

It was a measure of the St Anne’s performance that warm favourites St Martin’s were made battle to the bitter end before eventually emerging with a two-point victory to regain the Wexford hurling title they lost to Naomh Éanna last year.

St Martin’s knew they were in for a battle at Wexford Park when St Anne’s matched them through the opening 15 minutes. And although the eventual winners led 0-6 to 0-4 at that stage, they were twice let off the hook when St Anne’s were in on goal.

Joe Coleman’s accuracy in open play went a long way to keeping St Martin’s in front while Dee O’Keeffe chipped in with some smart free taking of his own for St Anne’s. Approaching the break St Martin’s led by three when a St Anne’s defender was taken out of the game under a breaking ball allowing Jake Firman to goal from close range and give his side a 1-10 to 0-7 advantage.

What followed in the second half provided for some tense hurling. O’Keeffe with two points, one 65 and a free, reduced the deficit but St Martin’s quickly restored their six point cushion through points from Joe and Mikey Coleman. St Martin’s still led by six points with 20 minutes remaining when O’Keeffe and St Anne’s launched a comeback. The midfielder picked off two excellent points while Mikey Fogarty added a further score leaving just three, 1-12 to 0-12, between the sides.

And 12 minutes from the end Mark furlong saw his penalty rebound off the upright when a goal would have brought the sides level. Another Coleman point extended the lead but with four minutes remaining Darragh Furlong found the net from an acute to leave the minimum between the sides but St Martin’s regained their composure to hold out in a tight finish.

St Martin’s: L White; C Firman, Joe O’Connor, M Maloney; D Waters, W Devereux, P O’Connor; A Maddock, H O’Connor; J Coleman (0-6, 0-5f), Jack O’Connor (0-2), J Firman (1-2); D Codd (0-2), C Lyng, M Coleman (0-3). Subs: M Codd for Maloney (54 mins), Kyle Firman for D Codd (55), E O’Leary for P O’Connor (58), B Maddock for M Coleman (61), J Devereux for J Firman (63).

St Anne’s: P Brennan; P O’Keeffe, T Cullen, K Clooney; K Whelan, A Craig, M Fogarty (0-1); D O’Keeffe (0-11, 0-7f, 0-2 65s), A Rochford; L Rochford, M Furlong, L Og McGovern; D Furlong (1-1), R Barry, J Fogarty. Subs: Diarmuid O’Connor for McGovern (18), David O’Connor for Fogarty (56).

Referee: D Crosby (Kilmore).

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