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Sunday 5 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Laszlo Geczo/INPHO Diarmuid Doyle (left) celebrates after the game with Eoin Murphy.
# Breakthrough
Joy at last for Ferns St. Aidan's as they are crowned kings of Wexford
After five previous final defeats – the most recent in 2013 – the Pat Bennett-managed red and whites overcame St. Martin’s, the champions of 2017 and 2019.

Ferns St. Aidan’s 1-20
St. Martin’s 0-22

Ronan Fagan reports from Chadwicks Wexford Park

FERNS ST. AIDAN’S supporters engulfed Chadwicks Wexford Park after Jonny Dwyer completed their long-awaited breakthrough to the Wexford SHC winners’ enclosure.

After five previous final defeats – the most recent in 2013 – the Pat Bennett-managed red and whites overcame St. Martin’s, the champions of 2017 and 2019, having battled back to parity on 0-21 to 1-18 after 60 minutes for Dwyer to assist the lead-score before he cut over a sideline-cut from some 60 yards on the left wing.

And that was vital as a Joe Coleman free brought St. Martin’s within the minimum, before time ran out on a maroon and white contingent that was minus injured Wexford ace Rory O’Connor, while his elder brother, Jack, was only introduced in the closing ten minutes as he nursed a hamstring problem.

Although the sides twice traded points in the opening stages, Ferns were quelling much of what St. Martin’s had to throw at them as the eventual winners powered into a 0-8 to 0-4 advantage after 21 minutes.

Ian Byrne pointed dead-balls either side of a Jonny Dwyer gem for a 0-5 to 0-3 lead at the first drinks stoppage, and Byrne (free), Dwyer and Diarmuid Doyle maintained Ferns’ thrust to forge ahead by 0-8 to 0-4 as the electronic scoreboard shutdown amid a power outage.

ferns-st-aidans-celebrate-after-the-game Laszlo Geczo / INPHO Ferns St. Aidan's celebrate after the game. Laszlo Geczo / INPHO / INPHO

Joe Coleman went dangerously close with a goaling effort for St. Martin’s as they began to shake things up, reeling-off six points on the bounce to shift momentum their way by 0-10 to 0-8 entering stoppage time.

A sublime Jack Devereux double completed the surge that also featured contributions from Coleman (two), Kyle Firman and Luke Kavanagh.

But Ferns bolted back in front when Corey Byrne-Dunbar gathered out on the left and released to Jonny Dwyer, who found defender Patrick Breen darting through to boot home for a 1-8 to 0-10 transformation a couple of minutes into added-time.

And a closing exchange of points maintained that minimum gap at the interval.

paul-morris-celebrates-at-the-final-whistle Laszlo Geczo / INPHO Ferns St. Aidan's Paul Morris celebrates. Laszlo Geczo / INPHO / INPHO

Ian Byrne saw his angled goaling effort fly over the crossbar shortly after the resumption as Ferns always managed to find a response to whatever St. Martin’s threw at them.

But the Martin’s dominated the last eight minutes of normal-time as a string of scores from Mikey Coleman, Joe Coleman (three) and Kyle Firman tied matters after 60 minutes (0-21 to 1-18) to set up a grandstand finish.

It was Jonny Dwyer who made all the difference in the crunch minutes as Ferns St. Aidan’s ended their long quest for the Dr RJ Bowe Cup.

Scorers for Ferns St. Aidan’s: Ian Byrne 0-5 (1 ‘65, 3 frees), Jonny Dwyer (0-4, 1 line-ball), Paul Morris (1 free) and Corey Byrne-Dunbar 0-3 each, Patrick Breen 1-0, Diarmuid Doyle 0-2, James Tonks, Benny Jordan, Christopher O’Connor 0-1 each.

Scorers for St. Martin’s: Joe Coleman 0-10 (7 frees, 2 ‘65s), Kyle Firman 0-5, Jack Devereux 0-2, Luke Kavanagh, Aaron Maddock, Joe Barrett, Mikey Coleman, Jake Firman 0-1 each.

Ferns St. Aidan’s

1 James Lawlor

5 Patrick Breen
3 Niall Murphy
4 Declan Byrne (capt.)

7 Ciarán Roberts
6 Eoin Murphy
21 James Tonks

10 Tommy Dwyer
8 Rory Scallan

9 Ian Byrne
11 Chris Turner
15 Jonny Dwyer

13 Diarmuid Doyle
14 Paul Morris
12 Corey Byrne-Dunbar

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Substitutes:

26 Benny Jordan for I. Byrne, inj. (38)
22 John Breen for Turner (41)
20 Christopher O’Connor for Doyle (57)
2 Ryan Nolan for Scallan (60+1)
Turner for Byrne-Dunbar, temp. (62-64).

St. Martin’s

1 Dylan Byrne

7 Diarmuid O’Leary
2 Joe Barrett
3 Philip Dempsey

4 Patrick O’Connor
6 Conor Firman (capt.)
5 David Codd

13 Jake Firman
8 Mark Maloney

9 Luke Kavanagh
17 Aaron Maddock
10 Joe Coleman

12 Mikey Coleman
14 Kyle Firman
15 Jack Devereux

Substitutes:

19 Darren Codd for Devereux (42)
20 Willie Devereux for Kavanagh (49)
11 Jack O’Connor for M. Coleman (52)
18 Daithí Waters for Maloney (54).

Referee: Eamonn Furlong (Rapparees).

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