The seniors played host to Foreglen on Sunday at Longfield and the conditions couldnâ€™t have been much better for a game of football. The Martinsâ€™ went into this fixture full of confidence and belief after a good pre-season and strong opening performance in the league against Lissan. After a slow start to this game it really came to life in the second half with a lot of high quality football on show and it is a credit to both teams in the manner of which the match was played. In the opening few minutes of the match influential half back Cahir Madden had to be replaced by Paul Ryan after he received a late off the ball challenge from a Foreglen player and required treatment. Desertmartin started the brighter of the two sides but failed to make the most of their chances and shot 3 wides on the trot. Foreglen then came forward in numbers and after a clumsy challenge by the Desertmartin defence they pointed the first score of the match from an easy kicking position. After some good work from Ryan Kidd in the middle of the park Enda McGuckin latched onto a loose ball and split the posts for the equalising point. Moments later a mistake from Ryan Murray enabled Foreglen to turn over possession and capitalise on some poor defending to score a scrappy goal and take an early foothold in the game. However Desertmartin quickly retorted with two quick fire points from Paul McGovern who reacted quickest on some loose ball to narrow the Foreglen lead. At this stage Ryan Murray made way for Paddy McCann and the latter played a good ball over the top to Donal Murray who clipped over a delightful point from an acute angle with his weaker right foot. Foreglen and Desertmartin then traded scores with Brendan Higgins registering his first point before Cormac McGuckin wasted a good opportunity to even the sides when he fired wide from 21 metres. Donal Murray then received a yellow card for what the referee deemed a high challenge and after Foreglen wasted a chance to extend their lead to two points, the referee blew his whistle for half time. The second half started brightly with Foreglen quickly registering another point before Donal Murray responded immediately with another fine score. After some decent build up play from the Martinsâ€™ they again paid the price for poor finishing and Foreglen moved up the field quickly and punished them with another point. Cahir Madden rejoined the fray and Paul Ryan retired to the bench again as the management looked for ways to drive on the team from defence. After good fielding from Danny Murray he was fouled and released a quick free kick to the unmarked Donal Murray who again made no mistake firing over from 25 yards. In the very next attack more menacing movement from Murray allowed him to spring Brendan Higgins through on goal who made no mistake placing the ball low and hard past the rushing goalkeeper. A further free from the Martinsâ€™ saw the team lead for the first time in the match. Enda McGuckin was causing problems in the Foreglen defence and after his shot was well saved by the â€˜keeper full forward Barry McEldowney made no mistake from 6 yards when he lashed the ball into the roof of the net on the half volley. Desertmartin now had the upper hand and lead by 4 points but Foreglen reduced the deficit to 3 after a soft free was awarded in front of the goals. After a misplaced pass from Paddy McCann put pressure on the Desertmartin defence, a needless foul gifted Foreglen a penalty which they duly dispatched and erased the Martinsâ€™ lead.
This was followed by yet another soft free-kick that allowed Foreglen to regain the lead they held for so long. However Donal Murray brought the sides level again with a sublime long range free on the right side of the pitch and set up a tense final few minutes of the game. Desertmartin just seemed to want it more on the day and kept pushing forward and were rewarded when the excellent Donal Murray capped off a man of the match display with a fine score on the left side of the goals from 30 yards. The final attack of this entertaining match saw the dangerous Brendan Higgins fire over the insurance point and leave the score line 2-11 to 2-09 in the home sideâ€™s favour.
Desertmartin team and scorers: Brian MeElhennon, Gregory McGovern, Paddy Kidd, Connor Monaghan, Cahir Madden, Mark Madden, Ryan Murray, Danny Murray, Ryan Kidd, Donal Murray (0:06), Cormac McGuckin, Enda McGuckin (0:01), Paul McGovern (0:02), Barry McEldowney (1:00), Brendan Higgins (1:02)
Subs: Paul Ryan for Cahir Madden, Paddy McCann for Ryan Murray, Decky Murray for Enda McGuckin.