Desertmartin U16s travelled to Ballinascreen on Thursday evening April 14th to play their second league game. Both teams adopted well to a difficult playing surface and a restricted size pitch. The heavy conditions made it difficult for defenders to turn quickly and ground play was hindered by a muddy surface.
Ballinascreen were first to score with a neatly finished goal from Declan Grant. Spurned by conceding in the first minute Desertmartin replied strongly scoring 2 – 2 in the following five minutes with goals from Gavin Donnelly and Martin Mackle along with points from Eunan McElhennon and Kelan Meharg. St Martins continued to dominate hitting three further wides to a point from St Colm’s to lead by four after ten minutes. The following twelve minutes were a complete nightmare for the shell shocked Saffrons when the Screen went a rampage, scoring 3 – 5 to one point from the visitors. Two goals and a point from Pearse Kelly; a goal and a point from Declan Grant along with points from Conor Bradley; Paul Donnelly and Rian Fullerton had the locals leading by nine points entering the last minute of the first half. Desertmartin recovered their composure just before the break and saw Martin Mackle cut in from the right wing to blast in a much needed goal for the vistors trimming the deficit to seven points at half-time.
The second period saw a resurgent Desertmartin. Gavin Donnelly now playing in defence gave the Saffrons backline the security it needed and with Martin Mackle switched to right-half forward Desertmartin were a much more potent force. Within three minutes of the restart Desertmartin scored 1 – 2, a goal from Martin Mackle and points from Gavin Donnelly and Laclan Murray. The introduction of Laclan with his neat skills and perpetual movement complemented a hard working midfield drove Desertmartin forward in search of victory. Two points apiece from Martin Mackle and Laclan Murray; single points from Eunan McEhennon and Conor Kelly to Ballinascreen’s two points gave Desertmartin a two point lead entering the final minutes of the game. Seeking further scores to secure the win it seemed to have arrived when Eunan McElhennon scored a goal from close range leaving St Martin’s five points up with injury time approaching. But Ballinascreen weren’t finished. Pressing forward they pushed Desertmartin onto the backfoot winning a free on the 13m line direct in front of goals. Despite a densely packed goal-line the Ballinascreen lad drove low and to the net leaving only two points in it. With Ballinascreen in the ascendency and Desertmartin defending bravely time was of the essence for both sides. Before further scores could be taken the referee Kevin Quigg blew the final whistle leaving Desertmartin two point winners.
Desertmartin team: Caelan Croskery; Oisin Campbell, Dominic O’Connor; Martin Mackle(3 – 1), Dylan McGovern; Eunan McElhennon(1 – 2), Kelan Meharg(0 – 1); Gavin Donnelly(1 – 2), Callum Ormsby, Conor Kelly(0 – 1), Michael McLaughlin.
Subs used: Laclan Murray(0 -3), Oran Murray and Ryan McElhennon
Subs not used: Michael Bradley, Sean Kelly and Ryan Henry