acquitted himself well.
It was St Martin’s who opened their account first with a pointed free from John Maher in the second minute. Mark Bergin responded two minutes later with a trademark special from the main road side of the pitch. Davy Burke then chased and won a ball that didn’t have his name on it. The subsequent lay off was neat and precise & that man Mark Bergin supplied the finish to send OLG into a one point lead. There were early signs the team was gelling throughout the field. Brian Hogan (who would go on to have a great game) took one from the sky and fed Jack Nolan with a forty yard pass to set up another attack.
One of the defining scores of the game would come midway through the first half. Stephen Murphy left his goalkeeping duties to take a long range free a la Stephen Cluxton. The high lobbing ball was not dealt with effectively by the Muckalee defence. Davy Burke pounced and flicked the ball to the St Martin’s net – Cul - to give OLG a two point lead. Mark Bergin would add two more from play either side of a move that would see Martin Comerford link up with Jack Nolan, who in turn fed Mark Kelly for a superb point from the county man. H/T: O’Loughlin Gaels 1-06, St Martin’s 0-04
Paddy Butler signalled his intentions early in the second half by taking a skyscraper from the clouds and feeding Mark Bergin for a long range special. Bergin would add two more frees but not before St Martin’s struck a brace of their own to stay in touch. With ten minutes to go – Sammy Johnston struck one of the scores of the game over his left shoulder – high and handsome, to maintain a six point cushion. John Doyle (an emerging U21 from last year) was sprung to freshen things up and it was this inspired move that would prove crucial to the match’s outcome. Davy Burke did the spade work by winning possession and then neatly slipped Doyle through for a one on one. Doyle didn’t have to be asked twice. He flashed a low hard driller off his left to rattle the net and effectively finish the contest. JD even raised his hand in celebration in what seemed a glimpse of things to come in this new era of Gaelic Games / Sky Sports razzmatazz! Muckalee would also find the net late in the game but more decisive scores by Conor Bergin, Mark Kelly and Mark Bergin would bring matters to a close in Castlecomer. F/T: O’Loughlin Gaels 2-13, St Martin’s 1-11. Stephen Murphy, Padraig Meany, Eoghan Grant, Eddie Kearns, Martin Gibbons, Brian Hogan, Paddy Deegan, Paddy Butler, Mark Bergin 0-9 (3 f’s), Conor Bergin 0-1, Martin Comerford, Sammy Johnston 0-1, Davy Burke 1-0, Mark Kelly 0-2 Jack Nolan. Subs used: John Doyle 1-0.