Shels salvage draw and spot in quarters
SHELMALIERS WERE smiling at the final whistle in Wexford Park on Saturday last after over-turning an eight-point deficit in the last twelve minutes and gaining a draw which secured their place in the quarter-finals of the Pettitt's Senior hurling championship from this Group A encounter.
Faythe Harriers, in contrast, were kicking themselves after letting a great position slip, and they now must beat relegation contenders Adamstown in their last game to make sure of the last qualifying spot. If that happens they will probably come up against Oulart-The Ballagh in the quarter-final in a repeat of last year's decider, but it could have been so different if they hadn't lost their way in the closing stages.
The town team seemed to be home and dry when Rhys Clarke drove a 20-metre free to the net in the 46th minute after a foul on Richie Kehoe, especially after Paul Lambert and Clarke added points to widen the gap to 2-12 to 0-10.
However, Shelmaliers responded extremely well as five points on the trot in seven minutes from Stephen Banville, free-taker Conor Byrne (three) and Tommy Barron gave them renewed hope. That seemed to have diminished somewhat when Rhys Clarke converted a '65 and added one from play to leave five between the sides with just over a minute of normal time left.
Another Byrne free reduced the gap before Eoin Doyle's speculative shot from long range seemed to take a deflection of a defender's shoulder en route to 'Archie' Scallan's net. Shelmaliers had the bit between their teeth at this stage, and they duly grabbed the equaliser nearly three and a half minutes into added time when the ball was slipped out to Joe Kelly following a scramble for possession and he split the posts from 30 metres.
The Harriers had looked superior throughout the first-half after rattling the net in the seventh minute for the opening score, with netminder Scallan grabbing the ball under his own crossbar and kick-starting a move which ended with Paul Lambert setting up John Cummins for a goal.
It was generally poor fare as they went on to lead by 1-3 to 0-2 after 15 minutes, and it was 1-7 to 0-5 at the interval.
Although Conor Byrne's frees kept the Shels in touch and they had narrowed the gap to 1-9 to 0-9 by the 42nd minute, they appeared to be in trouble after that Rhys Clarke goal but rallied impressively to get the draw that their late efforts deserved. Both sides were short key figures in the holidaying Brian Malone and the injured Kevin Gore respectively.
Shelmaliers: Brian Murphy; Andre O'Brien, Aidan Murphy, Shane Griffith; Simon Donohoe, Clive Lawler, Conor Walsh; John Redmond, Eoin Doyle (1-0); Joe Kelly (0-1), Ciarán O'Shaughnessy (capt.), Eoghan Nolan; Tommy Barron (0-3), Stephen Banville (0-3), Conor Byrne (0-10, 9 frees). Sub. - Alan Griffith for Nolan (40).
Faythe Harriers: Ian Scallan; Brendan Mulligan, David Mooney, Alex Lynch; Emmet Keeling (0-1), Lee Chin, Alan Lynch; Nicky Lambert, Jim Berry (0-1); Pádraigh Farrell (0-1), Colm Heffernan, Rhys Clarke (1-7, 1-2 frees, 0-1 '65); Paul Lambert (0-2), Richie Kehoe (0-2), John Cummins (1-0). Subs. - Shane Howard for Cummins (39), Paul Murphy for Heffernan, inj. (56), Tomás Campbell for Farrell (59).
Referee: Seán Whelan (St. Martin's).
New Ross Standard