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Wednesday 24 October 2018

Glynn-Barntown in first final since '96

Glynn-Barntown wing-back Nigel Usher is tackled by Rory O'Connor of St. Martin's
Glynn-Barntown wing-back Nigel Usher is tackled by Rory O'Connor of St. Martin's

Alan Aherne

Glynn-Barntown really announced their arrival as a football force to be reckoned with in Innovate Wexford Park on Sunday when they obliterated St. Martin's by double scores to advance to a first Tom Doyle Supplies Senior championship decider since their sole outright success in 1996.

Glynn-Barntown 2-12 St. Martin's 0-9

Any class of a win in this outing would have been regarded as a major achievement for the Intermediate titleholders who are intent on following the example set by St. James', even if they had stumbled over the line by a point.

However, they did this in considerable style, and that's what really made onlookers sit up and take notice as they were full value for a comprehensive nine-point victory.

It may be argued with some justification that both of their goals were lucky, but then again, every team defying the odds tends to get a rub of the green along the way.

Glynn-Barntown were at this stage for the first time since the 2000 loss to St. Anne's, and it was only the sixth Senior semi-final excluding draws in the club's history.

In contrast, it was a fourth appearance in the penultimate round for St. Martin's in five years, and many people fancied them to reach a second successive final especially after their unexpected hurling departure.

The only time when Glynn-Barntown looked a little unsure of themselves was in the early exchanges, and that was to be expected, especially after St. Martin's won the toss and opted to play with the wind blowing towards the town end.

The men in maroon opened brightly and picked off the first three points inside eight minutes, courtesy of Aaron Maddock and a brace from Rory O'Connor, with his second effort not far away from ending up in Luke Rafter's top left-hand corner.

However, they also struck three of their nine wides before the break in that period, and such wastefulness came back to haunt them.

It was also noticeable that when Glynn-Barntown did manage to break, they were able to drive through the opposing half-back line with surprising ease, particularly down the centre.

Indeed, the Killurin crew created an overlap with a Michael O'Regan pass over the heads of defenders and into space for Craig Doyle to run on to in the fifth minute. The move ended with wing-back Nigel Usher pulling the trigger but his shot was weak and Tomás Hayes made the save.

Hayes and his colleagues on the goal-line were caught completely by surprise though for the levelling Glynn-Barntown goal in the eleventh minute.

Michael O'Regan didn't connect as he would have liked with a close-in free, but the low trajectory wasn't expected and it struck an opponent before rebounding out to the alert Mark Fanning who netted at the Clonard end. Thankfully for him, Johnny Ryan and his umpires were nowhere to be seen this time, and the ball was a good deal bigger at any rate so the score stood and it was 'game on'.

Indeed, that goal seemed to fill Glynn-Barntown with confidence, and the important ingredient of composure was also added to their play as they settled down.

Captain Michael Doyle pointed them into the lead before Michael O'Regan converted his first free, but St. Martin's were level by the 17th minute thanks to Jake Firman and Ciarán Lyng (free).

They created one good goal chance after Rory O'Connor played a one-two with Willie Devereux, but the promising Minor hooked his low shot across the square and wide.

Lyng did put them ahead from another free, only for O'Regan to counter with a fine point off his right after good work by Nigel Usher and Craig Doyle.

Once again Lyng edged St. Martin's in front after getting up first after a brief altercation with John Leacy, but this time O'Regan turned on to his left to hit an equaliser which left Glynn-Barntown very well placed with use of the wind to come (1-4 to 0-7).

If it was a blow to their chances when the injured Leacy didn't resume, it certainly didn't show in their approach. Craig Doyle moved to centre-back and the new man in, Ríoghan Crosbie, was involved in their crucial second goal after just 53 seconds.

Mark Fanning's delivery from the left should have been dealt with by Tomás Hayes, but he was at crossed purposes with a defender and it appeared that Crosbie might have got the slightest of touches to divert it to the net (2-4 to 0-7).

The script wasn't meant to read like this for St. Martin's and, although Ciarán Lyng fisted a point in the 33rd minute, it was one of just two they would score in the second-half.

And by the time he added the second from a free close to the finish, the outcome was well and truly decided.

Indeed, while St. Martin's failed to score for all of 31 minutes, Glynn-Barntown hit seven unanswered points in that spell and made particularly good use of long balls into space for the speedy Robert Dempsey to avail of.

They were also more accurate with the wind than their rivals, chalking up five second-half wides. James Stafford stretched their lead to three before Dempsey forced Tomás Hayes into a fingertip save which turned his shot over the bar in the 42nd minute.

Earlier Luke Rafter had recovered after a Martin's snapshot nearly deceived him, while Daithí Waters had a shot well blocked by Craig Doyle who followed him everywhere in the second period.

A foul on Dempsey was punished by O'Regan before the former added his second from play, and Glynn-Barntown were home and hosed after O'Regan drove one over from 55 metres and then converted another free to make it 2-10 to 0-8 after 51 minutes.

St. Martin's lost their discipline as frustration set in, with Daithí Waters red-carded after first releasing the ball and then lashing out at O'Regan.

A cynical foul by substitute Mikey Coleman also earned him a black card and denied Mark Fanning another goal, with O'Regan tapping over.

Ciarán Lyng took a quick free to Barry O'Connor whose shot was well saved by Luke Rafter, before the former closed the scoring for the outclassed losers.

There was still time for one last piece of magic from Michael O'Regan as he split the posts with a monster of a free from just inside the 65-metre line. It was a fitting finish to a perfect day for Glynn-Barntown.

Prior to the game a minute's silence was observed for the late Niamh Cleary of Ballymitty, and Clonard's Joe Brennan, who sadly died during the week.

Glynn-Barntown: Luke Rafter; Stephen Lyne, Rob Tierney, Pádraig Donnelly; Nigel Usher, John Leacy, Alan Cowman; Michael Doyle (capt., 0-1), Brendan Doyle; Barry Doyle, Craig Doyle, James Stafford (0-1); Mark Fanning (1-0), Michael O'Regan (0-8, 5 frees), Robert Dempsey (0-2). Subs. - Ríoghan Crosbie (1-0) for Leacy, inj. (HT), Kevin Mahoney for Barry Doyle (44), Aaron Kehoe for Fanning (60).

St. Martin's: Tomás Hayes; Daithí Hayes, Willie Devereux (capt.), Harry O'Connor; Joe O'Connor, Jack O'Connor, Aaron Maddock (0-1); Daithí Waters, Patrick O'Connor; Jake Firman (0-1), Paudie Kelly, Rory O'Connor (0-2); Jamie Carty, Ciarán Lyng (0-5, 3 frees), Ryan Murphy. Subs. - Conor Firman for Murphy (HT), Edward O'Byrne for Carty (39), Ciarán Redmond for Kelly (43), Mikey Coleman for H. O'Connor (52), Barry O'Connor for Coleman, black card (58), Joe Coleman for J. Firman (59).

Referee: James Owens (Kilrush).

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