St. Martin's claimed their place in the last four of the Gorey Guardian Coiste na nOg Juvenile football Premier championship with a hard-fought victory over Naomh Eanna in windy Piercestown on Monday.
The hosts needed the win to rubber-stamp their place in the knockouts and got it despite a tough second-half slog into the teeth of the elements. Gorey will be disappointed to miss out on booking their own spot in the semi-finals but got another shot away to Sarsfields last night (Monday).
Overall there was very little between the sides in what was an entertaining battle. From the off St. Martin's were driven on by an industrious midfield duo of Adam Cantwell and Adam McLoughlin, with Jack Devereux often adding the decisive pass for the score.
Gorey relied heavily on the driving runs of the pacy Michael Molloy. The impressive midfielder scored 1-6 of his club's tally, with most of the visitors' penetration coming through the centre-field conductor.
St. Martin's started with the wind at their backs and used it to motor into a 1-5 to nil lead after 16 minutes. Devereux was creator of the first two points with Simon Curran and Ben Maddock on target.
Full-forward Maddock got a slightly fortuitous, wind- and ground-aided long-range goal, as well as a second point, while there were also points for Kyle Firman and Devereux.
Naomh Eanna bounced back with 1-1 from Molloy, the goal coming from a penalty after Tiarnan Doyle was fouled, and another point from David Christie. Firman raised the final white flag of the half to leave his side 1-6 to 1-2 ahead.
Following points from Molloy (two) and Doyle for Gorey, and a Maddock score at the other end, the visitors cracked the bar through centre-forward Doyle. The ball went flying over the bar off the metalwork but it was a big let-off for the Wexford District side (1-7 to 1-6).
The vital second goal came nine minutes from time. Again it was Devereux with the perfectly-weighted pass for Jordan Hayes who claimed possession and slotted to Ryan Price's net. Gorey kept battling after Adam Cantwell pointed but a brace from Molloy was only enough to leave them three points adrift at full-time.
St. Martin's: Matthew Duffy; Sam Audsley, Philip Dempsey, Callum Quirke; Eoin O'Leary, Michael Codd, Ben Stafford; Adam Cantwell (capt., 0-1), Adam McLoughlin; Jack Devereux (0-1), Kyle Firman (0-2), Jordan Hayes (1-0); Simon Curran (0-1), Ben Maddock (1-4, 0-1 free), Rory Cullen. Subs. - Diarmuid Barry for Quirke (25), Liam Ó Lionáin for Cullen (40), also Philip McGrath, Tony Rowe.
Naomh Eanna: Ryan Price; Tom Cleary, Jack Cullen, Corey Mythen; Evan O'Dwyer, Eoin Molloy, Nathan Byrne; Michael Molloy (capt., 1-6, 0-3 frees, 1-0 pen.), Seán Delaney; Joseph Naughton, Tiarnan Doyle (0-2), Eoin Kennedy; Charlie McGuckin, David Christie (0-1), Jack Ryan. Subs. - Eddie Murphy for Kennedy (37), Mark Kavanagh for Ryan (49), Dereck Woods for O'Dwyer (52), Micheal Duke for Naughton (52), also Larry Cullen, Dylan Connolly, Aaron Byrne, Oran Fitzpatrick, Jordan Nolan, Paddy Dwyer, Shane Stokes.
Referee: James Flood (St. Mary's, Maudlintown).