GAA: senior football championship - St Martin's 1-10, St James 0-10
Veteran Daithi Waters popped up with the all important fifty-fourth minute goal to help his side to an eventual three-point victory over St. James' in this closely fought Wexford Group A Round 4 senior football championship game played at Innovate Wexford Park on Sunday evening last.
A depleted St. Martin's were put to the pin of their collar to fashion a result as St. James looked so capable of causing an upset, despite also being without the services of some key players, with Matthew O'Hanlon and Kevin O'Grady notable absentees.
But St. Martin's with so many injury concerns saw players like Rory O'Connor, Ciaran Lyng, Joe O'Connor and Jack O'Connor fail to start, but when it mattered most it was the wily veteran Waters who finished a rather bizarre goal for what separated the sides at the finish.
Both sides found it difficult to find that extra gear through the opening quarter, for given the number of changes they were unable to bring any real composure to their game, as the respective forwards struggled for scores.
After Darren Codd and Brian Molloy had exchanged opening points, they sides were still deadlocked 0-3 apiece at the end of the opening quarter.
The tempo of the game picked up through the second quarter, but it was St. James' who held the advantage through this passage of play, with Brian Molloy kicking some fine points from frees and play, while James Walsh also go in on the scoring act. A late Kyle Firman point closed out the first half scoring but it was St. James who led 0-8 to 0-4 at the interval.
St. Martin's started the second half showing more urgency in their play resulting in points from Jamie Carty, free, and Ben Maddock, to reduce the deficit to two points. The sides continued to trade points with St. James still managing to remain out in front, 0-9 to 0-8, with nine minutes remaining.
Then came the goal, six minute from the end, which changed the course of the game. A high ball into the danger zone saw a bizarre mix-up between keepr John Ryan and his defenders, with Daithi Waters left to steer the breaking ball into an unguarded goal, bringing the biggest cheer of the evening, as St. Martin's were back in front for the first time since the opening minute, leading 1-8 to 0-9.
Jamie Carty followed with a pointed free, with the sides exchanging late points through Donie Barron and Paidi Kelly, who had his goal attempt deflected over for a point.
St. Martin's: Luke White, Mark Maloney, Philip Dempsey, Harry O'Connor; Aaron Maddock, Conor Firman, Michael Codd; Daithi Waters (1-1), Ben Maddock (0-1); Jake Firman (0-1), Joe Coleman (0-1), Adam Cantwell; Darren Codd (0-1 free), Jamie Carthy (0-2 frees), Jack Devereux (0-1). Subs: Patrick O'Connor for Devereux (23), Kyle Firman (0-1) for Darren Codd (29); Paudie Kelly (0-1) for Ben Maddock (42), Jack O'Connor for Aaron Maddock (53), Darren Codd for Michael Codd (B.C. 58).
St. James': John Ryan; Paul Barron (0-1), Jason Barron, Daniel Keating (0-1); David Doyle, Brian Kennedy, Brian Molloy (0-4, 0-2 frees); James Walsh (0-1), Robbie Barron; Donal Barron (0-2), Mark Molloy, Brendan Doyle; Tomas Walsh (0-1 free), Alan Walsh, Liam Murphy. Subs: Andrew Walsh for Liam Murphy (49); Liam Murphy for Andrew Walsh (inj. 51).
Referee: Barry Redmond (Clonard).