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Joe Coleman seals the deal as St. Martin’s do enough to pip Rathnure in Wexford Senior hurling championship

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Seán O'Connor (Rathnure) and Philip Dempsey tussle for the ball.

Seán O'Connor (Rathnure) and Philip Dempsey tussle for the ball.

Joe Coleman of St. Martin's tackles A.J. Redmond.

Joe Coleman of St. Martin's tackles A.J. Redmond.

Senior newcomer Eamon Wickham taking aim for Rathnure.

Senior newcomer Eamon Wickham taking aim for Rathnure.

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Seán O'Connor (Rathnure) and Philip Dempsey tussle for the ball.

wexfordpeople

St. Martin’s 0-20 Rathnure 1-15

LITTLE OR nothing divided two sides in search of a first win after midweek disappointments in O’Kennedy Park, New Ross on Saturday, but late points from Mikey and Joe Coleman tipped the scales in favour of St. Martin’s as they edged past wasteful Rathnure in this Pettitt’s Senior hurling championship Group B clash.

The teams were level on seven separate occasions, and the gap between them only rose above two points once, but the winners were marginally better at taking their chances and just about crept over the finish line first.

Neither covered themselves in glory with their accuracy, as St. Martin’s shot 13 wides while Rathnure had 15, but the latter were particularly aimless in the first-half and it came back to haunt them.

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Several of their eleven misses in that period arose from relatively simple chances, while they also dropped another three attempts short, and all that contributed to St. Martin’s going in at the break with a 0-10 to 0-8 lead.

Joe Coleman was back after serving a one-game suspension, although they were without Daithí Waters along with Rory O’Connor, whose limp suggested it will be some time yet before he returns to action.

It was nip and tuck throughout the first quarter, with Coleman edging his side into a 0-5 to 0-4 lead in the twelfth minute with his third point, and second from play.

Luke Kavanagh and Jack O’Connor – who was marked by his namesake, Micheál – also contributed to that haul, with Jack Redmond (free), Owen Lennon, Shane Lawlor and Seán O’Connor replying.

Rathnure had led by 0-4 to 0-2 after eight minutes, but the next four scores went to St. Martin’s as Willie Devereux – who spent a lot of time in a loose role around his own half-back line – made it 0-6 to 0-4 in their favour.

That point ended a very messy barren spell lasting five minutes, during which Rathnure posted five wides and sent a long-range free into Dylan Byrne’s hand.

They finally found the range again with two Jack Redmond points, but Byrne made an important intervention in between when he darted out to nick the ball off the stick of Conor Somers after Seán O’Connor and Owen Lennon combined to create a goal chance.

Losing O’Connor to concussion after an accidental collision was a significant blow, and the margin rose to three points for the only time (9-6) after Joe Coleman (free), Luke Kavanagh and Coleman (play) nailed scores for St. Martin’s. Michael Redmond and A.J. Redmond (free) hit back, before Coleman had the last word to leave the Wexford District side ahead at half-time by 0-10 to 0-8.

Dermot Flynn performed a similar feat as Dylan Byrne had pulled off earlier, flicking the ball away from Jack Devereux to prevent a goalscoring chance in the 36th minute.

St. Martin’s defender Joe Barrett followed up with the first of two fine points from distance to make it 12-10, but a brace from Michael Redmond – with the second a superb over-the-shoulder effort – brought the sides level in the 40th minute.

Jack O’Connor restored the Martin’s lead from the puck-out, but Rathnure replied instantly with the game’s only goal.

Shane Lawlor created the chance for first-half substitute Ciarán O’Connor at the scoreboard end, and he took it with confidence off his left side to establish a 1-12 to 0-13 advantage.

It was 1-14 to 0-14 before a costly 14-minute spell for Rathnure when they failed to score, with their rivals regaining the lead in that spell thanks to Joe Coleman (free), Jack O’Connor with a beauty from the left sideline, another Coleman free, and a superb effort from Joe Barrett after he intercepted a Rathnure line ball.

Coleman also missed a handy free in that spell, while Luke Kavanagh couldn’t quite get the connection he desired on a pass across the square by Jack O’Connor.

Jack Redmond finally equalised from a free (1-15 to 0-18), all of 14 minutes after getting the previous Rathnure score from the same source.

However, St. Martin’s were markedly stronger in the closing stages, although they ensured their task became more difficult with one scoring attempt dropped short, along with four wides – including a drive into the side-netting by Darren Codd.

Still, substitute Mikey Coleman made it 0-19 to 1-15 in their favour in the 59th minute, before big Joe sealed the deal from a free earned by the hard-working Luke Kavanagh shortly before his departure.

St. Martin’s: Dylan Byrne; Philip Dempsey, Conor Firman (capt.), Joe Barrett (0-2); Patrick O’Connor, David Codd, Diarmuid O’Leary; Jack O’Connor (0-3), Mark Maloney; Conor Kelly, Willie Devereux (0-1), Luke Kavanagh (0-2); Jack Devereux, Joe Coleman (0-10, 7 frees), Darren Codd (0-1). Subs. – Mikey Coleman for J. O’Connor, temp. (30+1-30+4), Mikey Coleman (0-1) for J. Devereux (41), Zac Firman for Kavanagh (60+3).

Rathnure: Dermot Flynn; Stephen Martin, Eoin Boggan, Ciarán Doyle-Maher; Paddy Whiteley (0-1), A.J. Redmond (0-1 free), Aidan Redmond (capt.); Micheál O’Connor, Eamon Wickham; Shane Lawlor (0-1), Jack Redmond (0-7, 4 frees), Conor Somers; Owen Lennon (0-1), Seán O’Connor (0-1), Michael Redmond (0-3). Subs. – Ciarán O’Connor (1-0) for S. O’Connor, inj. (26), Eoin Higgins for Lennon (60), Michael Martin for Somers (60).

Referee: Thomas Furlong (Adamstown).


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