GAA JIM BYRNE CUP MFL SEMI-FINAL Fethard find goal-den touch to defeat saints
FETHARD 2-6 ST. MARTIN'S 0-10 THE CONVEYOR belt of young, talented footballers coming through the Fethard club shows no signs of slowing down as their latest batch of Minors advanced to the Jim Byrne Cup final following a tightly-contested semi-final against hosts St. Martin's on Sunday last.
It really was anybody's game into the final exchanges with just a little extra composure enough to see the south coast side through to a decider against the Starlights or Shelmaliers.
Indeed, the home side looked the more likely victors when controlling the game heading into the last ten minutes. However, a crucial move, bringing influential defender Joe Sutton into the forward ranks, was not countered by St. Martin's and the powerful visitor duly drove through the defence unchallenged to rattle home the winning goal seven minutes from time.
That vital late lapse mirrored events of the firsthalf as St. Martin's controlled large segments of the game and cruised into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead entering the last few minutes. By and large their scores came from the dead-ball expertise of Jamie Carty, but Seán Stafford did return from injury to float over an effort from close range.
Just Daire Barden's '45, which on an ill-prepared pitch looked to have came from about 35 metres out, had Fethard on the scoreboard. That was until John Luke Tubrid broke away on goal and coolly slotted under advancing goalkeeper Jason Goodison with three minutes of the half remaining (0-5 to 1-1).
Buoyed by the goal, Kieran Dwyer grabbed the first of his four points to send the sides in level at the interval. That break sapped the building Fethard momentum and scores by Carty, Stafford and the impressive Aaron Maddock eased the home side clear during the third quarter (0-8 to 1-2).
After overcoming a 17-minute spell without a score in the opening half, a further quarter hour lull did little to stop Fethard as Doyle broke the scoring hiatus with a fine point.
Two quick Maddock points, on another day, might have settled St. Martin's, but Fethard were building a head of steam again as Dwyer and Barden pointed to narrow the gap to just two points (0-10 to 1-5).
That deficit was obliterated when Sutton burst through and thumped home, and Dwyer quickly added the killer point to send Fethard into the decider in the coming weeks.
Fethard: Niall Roche; Paddy Traynor, Seán Donohoe; Joe Sutton (1-0), Seán Sutton, Christopher Molloy; Daniel Johnson, Daire Barden (0-2, 1 '45); Ricky Rowe, Evan Rowe, Richard Waters; Michael Dwyer, Kieran Dwyer (0-4, 2 frees). Subs. (rolling): John Luke Tubrid (1-0), James Dillon, Martin Doyle, Adam Swan.
St. Martin's: Jason Goodison; Evan Dunbar, Darragh Kenny; Aaron Maddock (0-3 frees), David Higgins, Johnny Hamilton; Jamie Carty (0-5, 4 frees, 1 '45), Joe Coleman; Tony Kelly, Seán Stafford (0-2), Donal Kelly; Martin Whelan, Mark Hayes. Subs. (rolling): Eoin Ennis, Maurice Walsh, Darren Codd.
Referee: Seamus Whelan (Oylegate-Glenbrien).