Ryan leads Starlights out of the darkness
Starlights 0-17 St Martin's 1-8
Enniscorthy Starlights bridged a 13-year gap with a shock but fully deserved six-point victory over St Martin's at Innovate Wexford Park.
Having won the senior hurling title seven days earlier, St Martin's never really got off the ground in their quest for the double as Starlights - inspired by Liam Ryan in midfield - dominated the game.
The Wexford hurling full-back (right) led the way with inspirational fielding and driving runs as he totally outplayed inter-county midfielder Daithi Waters, which took so much of the threat out of the south county side.
St Martin's struggled to match the pace and skilful attacking football of their opponents, and while they managed to gain some momentum in the closing ten minutes, they were unable to create the goal chance they so badly needed to haul themselves back into the game.
Starlights took full advantage of their opponents' failure to turn some early chances into scores as they built a 0-4 to 0-1 lead by the 12th minute, with points from Darragh Pepper (2), Richie Farrell and Ryan, after Jack O'Connor had opened the scoring after three minutes.
A superb goal from Ciaran Lyng in the 21st minute brought some life into the St Martin's play, but they still trailed 0-9 to 1-2 at the interval, with Alan Tobin, Pepper and Eamon Furlong all on target for Starlights.
The expected St Martin's second half recovery failed to materialise, and Starlights had the perfect start to the second half with two Dylan Redmond frees.
St Martin's pushed forward but they spurned many opportunities with wayward finishing, and it Starlights controlled the closing quarter. They complemented their defensive resilience with quick counter-attacks, finished off with some excellent point-taking.
Scorers - Starlights: D Pepper, A Tobin (1f) 0-4 each; D Redmond 0-3fs, R O'Connor 0-2, K Foley, L Ryan, R Farrell, E Furlong 0-1 each. St Martin's: C Lyng 1-3 (0-3fs), Jack O'Connor, J Firman 0-2 each, R O'Connor 0-1.
Starlights - P Doyle; R O'Connor, T Wall, M Doyle; J Kelly, R Fox, K Foley; L Ryan, R Farrell; A Tobin, N Doyle, D Redmond; D Pepper, E Furlong, R Mahon. Subs: A Dobbs for Farrell (32), B Edwards for Fox (57), T Mahon for Redmond (60), J Russell for Furlong (60).
St Martin's - T Hayes; M Coleman, W Devereux, H O'Connor; C Firman, A Maddock, Joe O'Connor; D Waters, Jack O'Connor; P Kelly, J Carthy, R O'Connor; B O'Connor, C Lyng, J Firman. Subs: J Coleman for B O'Connor (28); R Murphy for Kelly (42), P Barry for R O'Connor (50), E O'Byrne for M Coleman (51), D Codd for Carthy (58).
Ref - B Redmond (Clonard).