Stars shine as holders slump
STARLIGHTS MAY yet be the dark horses to emerge from the Tom Doyle Supplies Senior football championship, much higher up the pecking order than anyone expected. Their defeat of county champions St. Martin's on Friday last under the lights in Taghmon in round four of Group A would suggest that they could very well be in the final shake-up.
When one considers that they performed so well with a player less than their opponents for the entire second-half, it makes the possibility all the more likely.
One could well understand their sheer delight following the well-deserved victory, having showed much more determination and eagerness to succeed than the holders.
Even though Edward O'Byrne scored the opening point for the favourites, it was evident from an early stage that Starlights meant business as they should have had an early goal when Paul Byrne and Rory O'Connor combined to send James Carty through, but theaptain was unfortunate to see his effort rebound off the post. Points from O'Connor and Alan Tobin had Starlights ahead by the tenth minute and they were never headed again thereafter.
They hit a purple patch as Paul Byrne with a point from a free and another from play and the evergreen Tomás Mahon edged the challengers 0-5 to 0-2 ahead by the 20th minute.
Ciarán Lyng then kept the Martin's in touch from frees and play, and when Willie Devereux came out of defence to score a long-range point it closed the margin further. However, Jason Russell and Ricky Fox assured Starlights of a 0-7 to 0-5 advantage at the break.
St. Martin's suffered a blow when Daithí Waters' rasping shot at goal struck the crossbar and was cleared, but Starlights endured an even bigger setback when Patrick O'Shea received his marching orders with a second yellow card from referee John Diskin following a high tackle on Ciarán Lyng as he raced through just before half-time.
Their inter-county duo, Lyng and Waters, with a point each brought St. Martin's level on 0-7 apiece by the 40th minute and it looked at that stage as if the county champions would succeed. However, depleted Starlights to their credit upped their game as their two most prolific forwards, Paul Byrne and Alan Tobin, secured the points that won the match.
Lyng was denied a goal with a smart save by Pa Doyle between the Starlights posts, while Edward O'Byrne also missed a great opportunity of finding the net when he was on the end of a lovely move involving Lyng, Aaron Maddock and David Higgins. He pulled his shot across the goalmouth to the right of the posts with just a couple of minutes remaining, and Starlights just held out, much to the relief of their supporters.