Shels thwart inspired Chin
Shelmaliers 2-14 Sarsfields 2-8
Shelmaliers recovered from a nightmare ending to the first quarter as their superior fitness eventually told in a six-point win over a Lee Chin-inspired Sarsfields in Group A of the Tom Doyle Supplies Senior football championship in Innovate Wexford Park on Saturday.
The Wexford town team may have relied on just one tactic - get the ball in high and often to the county hurler on the edge of the square - but it was easy to understand why as he caused havoc and gave an exhibition of fielding even when the opposition reacted to the threat by putting two or three men around him.
The first-half was a very lively affair, with Shelmaliers attacker Eoin Doyle making an impact even though he had to retire with an injury in the second minute.
Just 17 seconds had elapsed when his delivery found teenage attacker Conor Hearne who rattled the net, but there was frustration for the Shels in the sixth minute when the influential Eoghan Nolan won a penalty but then struck it off the left post, across goal and eventually wide.
Nolan atoned quickly with a point, and three different free-takers had registered for the Sars by that stage: John Bridges, Chin, and David Mooney.
An incredible one-minute spell followed, starting when Chin fisted a probing ball in by Cathal Kirwan to the net to give his team the lead (1-3 to 1-1).
He quickly added a point before intercepting Aodhán Foley's kick-out and lobbing him with a sublime finish to leave six between the sides.
Shelmaliers recovered very well though, regaining the lead before Chin knocked over a free to leave the teams on level terms at the break (2-5 each).
The key score for the black and ambers was Aaron Murphy's 17th-minute goal from a Barry O'Connor handpass, while Brian Murphy and Conor Hearne kicked the pick of their points.
Chin did have the ball in the net again in the 22nd minute when he flicked home a Dylan Furlong centre, but referee James Mullally signalled for a free out.
Brian Malone and Chin swapped points on the re-start, the latter after a spectacular leap, but the Shels owned possession for the rest of the game even though the scores didn't flow as freely as they would have liked.
The strong-running Eoghan Nolan posed more problems than most for the Sars, while busy substitute Páraic O'Leary chipped in with a couple of points.
It was 2-9 to 2-6 for the eventual winners by the end of the third quarter, with stand-in Sars netminder Philip Cullen making one very good save in that period.
Dylan Furlong evaded his St. Peter's co-manager, Brian Malone, to set up David Mooney for a point on a rare breakaway, but scores from Nolan (three, one free) and Aaron Murphy copper-fastened a second victory for the John Hegarty-guided Shels.
Shelmaliers: Aodhán Foley; Andre O'Brien, Ciarán O'Shaughnessy, Graham Staples; Aaron Murphy (1-1), Aidan Cash (capt.), Tommy Barron (0-1); Brian Murphy (0-1), Glen Malone (0-1); Eoghan Nolan (0-6, 3 frees), Brian Malone (0-1), Simon Donohoe; Eoin Doyle, James Gordon, Conor Hearne (1-1). Subs. - Barry O'Connor for Doyle, inj. (2), Jody Donohoe for Gordon, inj. (26), Páraic O'Leary (0-2) for Barron, inj. (38).
Sarsfields: Philip Cullen; Brendan Mulligan, Michael Hanrahan (capt.), Cillian Lawlor; Con O Donnagáin, Cathal Kirwan, Conor Halligan; Eoin Roche, Ciarán Byrne; Ciarán Kirwan, David Mooney (0-3, 2 frees), John Bridges (0-1 free); Dylan Furlong, Lee Chin (2-4, 0-2 frees), Shane Wilde. Subs. - Kevin Gore for Mulligan, black card (37), Seán Hopkins for Byrne (45), Lee Smith for Wilde (52).
Referee: James Mullally (Gusserane).