EEW All-County Hurling League Division 1: St. Martin's 1-15 Naomh Eanna 0-13
St. Martin's came out on top of a county Senior final re-match with Naomh Eanna in Division 1 of the EEW All-County Hurling League in Piercestown on Friday.
The hosts got ahead early when Mikey Coleman netted and were able to keep the champions at bay, despite a spirited second-half showing from the visitors in rainy, slippery conditions.
Both sides may well have been missing their top players but it didn't stop the game being a hotly-contested, chippy league opener.
In reality, St. Martin's probably should have won by a little more, having spurned several decent goal chances, most of which came and went in the first-half.
Excellent movement was a feature of the first 30 minutes for the Wexford District side as they dragged the Gorey defence around their own half.
However, the opening goal still had an element of luck about it, with Coleman quick to react when Jake Firman's effort came down off the upright.
Still, there was plenty for the inside forward to do when he collected the ball, particularly with the finish that was flashed past Barry Kinsella from an acute angle on the right of goal. With Joe Coleman also on target, the hosts quickly built a 1-4 to 0-1 lead.
Even without Cathal Dunbar, one of the most notable features of Gorey's game was the quality of their line balls, both in attacking areas and from their own defence. Jack Cushe scored one and narrowly missed another as his side closed with four.
Darragh Hughes registered for Naomh Eanna but Joe O'Connor and Ciarán Lyng added points later in the half as the hosts went in 1-8 to 0-5 to the good at the interval.
When trailing by a couple of goals, either nabbing you own major or getting a run of points is vital for a comeback.
Gorey never scored more than two points in a row in the second-half and created very little in the way of goal chances.
Substitute Jack Doran got on the scoresheet early and Pádraig Doyle brought his tally to six, but St. Martin's still led by 1-12 to 0-9 with 15 minutes left.
Things just moved along with like that, with the hosts usually able to counter their opponents' scoring in the final quarter.
The game turned a little wild in the final 15 after Conor Hughes saw yellow for a strike on Joe Coleman.
While Barry Redmond might want to air on the lenient side in league hurling - a trait amongst referees in general - it's hard to believe that the two melees that followed would have happened had the red card come out initially.
Coleman did recover to bring his tally to eleven, meaning late points by Gary Molloy and Hughes were in vain as St. Martin's took the spoils in their season opener.
St. Martin's: Luke White; Mark Maloney, Aaron Maddock, Eoin O'Leary; Ben Maddock, Willie Devereux, Patrick O'Connor; Joe O'Connor (0-1), Michael Codd; Jake Firman, Joe Coleman (0-11, 9 frees), Harry O'Connor; Ciarán Lyng (0-2), Michael Coleman (1-1), Darren Codd. Subs. - Paudie Kelly for O'Leary (36), Kyle Firman for Devereux (50), Conor Coleman for Lyng (52).
Naomh Eanna: Barry Kinsella; Peter Travers, Brendan Travers, Eoin Molloy; Jack Cullen, Seán Doyle, Eoin Conroy; Aodhán Doyle, Gary Molloy (0-1); Darragh Hughes (0-1), Pádraig Doyle (0-7, 5 frees), Charlie McGuckin; Jack Cushe (0-2, 1 line ball), William Cullen, David O'Brien. Subs. - Conor Hughes (0-1) for O'Brien (31), Jack Doran (0-1) for W. Cullen (31), John O'Brien for McGuckin (34), Seamus O'Donnell for P. Travers (53), Seán Delaney for D. Hughes (53).
Referee: Barry Redmond (Na Fianna Clonard).
Other EEW Division 1 results: Fethard 1-13, Shelmaliers 1-8; Rapparees 1-17, Oylegate-Glenbrien 2-8; Rathnure 3-21, St. Anne's 2-12.