It may still be early days in this shortened Pettitt's Senior hurling championship, but already it's looking like St. Martin's are better placed than ever before to accomplish something that has eluded the club thus far: retaining this prestigious title.
While several teams may have other ideas and harbour genuine ambitions, the evidence is there in abundance to suggest that John Meyler's charges have more strength in depth than any of the remaining contenders.
Their quarter-final passage was booked safely in this second Group A tie in Bellefield on Friday, although Intermediate holders Cloughbawn will take encouragement from several aspects of their performance as they now gear up to meet Oulart-The Ballagh in a winner-takes-all clash at the same venue in three days' time.
With multiple All-Ireland winning coach Brian Hogan keeping a calm watching brief while others on the sideline wasted time and energy disputing refereeing decisions, this was a decent display by the club in their first Senior tie since 2017, in spite of the eight-point deficit.
After winning the toss but opting to face the breeze first, they matched St. Martin's step-by-step up to the first-half water break, by which stage they only trailed by 0-7 to 0-5.
And while the favourites admittedly did create daylight when play resumed, moving 13-6 clear by the break, Cloughbawn's gutsy approach was typified by the attacking intent displayed by captain Connal Flood on the re-start when he burst forward from the half-back line to pick off two points.
When Bob Whitty added the next score from a free, the Enniscorthy District men were really starting to believe in themselves, but unfortunately that momentum was stalled by three Martin's points, and the rest of the game had a pretty predictable pattern.
After the winners had participated in an eight-goal feast seven days earlier, this was an entirely different affair, and Cloughbawn should be pleased to learn that this was the first match in which the holders didn't score a goal since the county final of 2018.
Indeed, the only real green flag chance created by the victors arrived seconds from the end, with a low shot by newcomer Conor Coleman that was destined for the bottom corner kept out expertly by Seán Keating.
Unfortunately, the tight turnaround to Friday evening isn't going to help Cloughbawn, and it was worrying to see James Dempsey - one of their better defenders - hobbling off gingerly at the death.
Not alone that, but experienced full-back Tomás Furlong had been red-carded just moments before after an off-the-ball incident involving the prolific Jack O'Connor.
The quality of player at the disposal of St. Martin's ensures that John Meyler is in the perfect position as boss, with arguably two-thirds of the team unsure of their starting places.
Daithí Waters missed out here owing to injury, while none of the full-forward line that wreaked havoc against Oulart-The Ballagh seven days earlier finished this fixture.
Substitute Conor Coleman was one of two attackers elevated to Senior ranks along with David Cantwell, another of last year's county Minors, and Coleman's first involvement said it all: grabbing a beautifully-weighted Rory O'Connor pass, taking on his man, and picking off a point.
Seeing Joe Coleman and Willie Devereux coming off the bench too should have been sweet news for Davidstown-Courtnacuddy at the time, but it didn't stop them from shipping a hammering in Junior 24 hours later.
Jack O'Connor, with a 0-13 haul, has now registered 2-22 in two outings and is in powerful form, but the main man for me on Friday was his younger brother, Rory, who is simply a joy to watch at the present time.
He grabbed four points, provided the last pass for scores from Jake Firman and Conor Coleman, and was fouled for at least two frees converted by Jack.
His flair, finishing, and ability to ghost unnoticed into open spaces are familiar traits by now, but what really impressed me about him in this display was his constant tracking back and workrate from his free role around the middle third.
This was best exemplified early in added time when his tackle near the Martin's '21 was enough to stop a dangerous run by Cloughbawn midfielder Páidí Cullen.
It's not unheard of for a classy marksman to leave the dirty work to others, but Rory O'Connor can never be accused of that. And he also appears to have matured temperament-wise, resisting the urge to seek any retribution when his big brother was felled in that late sending-off incident.
Colm Kehoe and Connal Flood had the unenviable task of policing the O'Connor brothers, alternating between the two, and Cloughbawn started brightly when Harry Kehoe pointed after just 18 seconds following an initial strong run by Flood.
Bob Whitty contributed their second in response to the first of Jack O'Connor's eleven frees, but what followed highlighted the strength of the Martin's defence, and the lack of penetration up front for Cloughbawn, in equal measure.
Those two points were the only ones contributed from play by a forward, and both arrived inside two minutes of the start.
The three that followed came from midfielder Barry Carton and centre-back Flood with a brace.
Rory O'Connor had two of his four points registered before the water break when St. Martin's were ahead by 0-7 to 0-5, with his cousin, Joe, providing a string of astute passes for the forwards to enjoy.
With Cloughbawn packing the half-forward area, full-back O'Connor got on a great deal of loose ball, and his clearances led to three points plus a couple of wides.
Ciarán Lyng also looked sharp, sending a defender the wrong way with a clever flick to make space for his first point, and intercepting a Seán Keating puck-out for the second. His withdrawal at half-time looked to have been injury-related.
Being outscored by 0-6 to 0-1 after that break left Cloughbawn in a precarious position, but the first three points on the re-start did give them hope.
St. Martin's needed to re-assert control and did exactly that, with Jack O'Connor popping over two frees while a quick placed ball pass from Rory set up Jake Firman for another point in between.
Bob Whitty took over from Harry Kehoe on the majority of the free-taking duties and clipped over some points, although the leaders weren't under any serious presssure to preserve their lead.
The latter went low from one in the 60th minute after a foul on Connal Flood, but it was turned away for a '65 that Whitty converted in this battle between the reigning Senior and Intermediate champions.
St. Martin's: Luke White; Sam Audsley, Joe O'Connor, Conor Firman; Paddy O'Connor, Paudie Kelly (capt.), Ben Maddock; Aaron Maddock, Luke Kavanagh; David Codd, Rory O'Connor (0-4), Jack O'Connor (0-13, 11 frees); Mikey Coleman, Jake Firman (0-2), Ciarán Lyng (0-2). Subs. - Joe Coleman (0-1) for Lyng (HT), Conor Coleman (0-1) for M. Coleman (42), David Cantwell for J. Firman (42), Willie Devereux for Kavanagh (54).
Cloughbawn: Seán Keating; Barry Kehoe, Tomás Furlong, James Dempsey; Colm Kehoe, Connal Flood (capt., 0-2), Corey Bolger; Páidí Cullen, Barry Carton (0-1); Harry Kehoe (0-5, 4 frees), Alan Carton, Eanna Doyle; Bob Whitty (0-7, 5 frees, 1 '65), M.J. Furlong, Paddy Whitty. Subs. - Billy Wickham for A. Carton, temp. (9-12), Gavin Murphy for Bolger (41), Wickham for Dempsey, inj. (60+6).
Referee: Gearóid McGrath (St. James').