Slick Shels put on a splendid show
SHELMALIERS CAN sometimes turn on splendid football and this was such an occasion as they fashioned an impressive six-point victory over Gusserane in this exciting Tom Doyle Supplies Senior football championship Group A game at Bellefield on Sunday last.
Youth was very much to the forefront for Shelmaliers, who did not even let a heavy pre-interval shower of rain interrupt their free-flowing pattern of football as they proved the superior side for most of this game, so it came as no real surprise when they closed it out with a stunning late burst of scores.
For Gusserane it was a setback to their championship prospects. Although they put in a spirited second-half response it was only a lucky Adrian Flynn goal, following some sloppy defensive play from their opponents, that brought them back into contention, but in the end they were totally outplayed by an impressive Over The Water side.
With Barry O'Connor and Ibar Murphy taking a firm grip in midfield, and the defence led by Eoin Doyle, Ciarán O'Shaughnessy and Brian Malone outstanding, the Shels played some real quality football. The sides had traded two points each inside the opening ten minutes, while they continued to trade points through a Barry O'Connor '45 and a Shane Cullen free before O'Connor lofted over a huge 50-metre free off the ground.
The Shels, with Aidan Murphy kicking two neat points, stayed in front, although Gusserane finished the half strongly, producing points from Killian Kehoe and Walter Cosgrave, but they still trailed by 0-7 to 0-6 at the interval.
Perhaps it was the foothold that O'Connor and Murphy gained in midfield, which was to continue in the second-half, that proved decisive for the Shels. They had gone on to build a 0-9 to 0-6 lead after 38 minutes, but one minute later 'keeper Graham Lawler failed to clear his lines, leaving Adrian Flynn with a simple tap-in to bring the sides level.
But with Derek Walsh and Stephen Banville responding with points, while Shane Cullen showed his accuracy at the opposite end from frees, the Shels led by 0-13 to 1-9 entering the closing seven minutes.
Then Brian Malone drove forward for an inspirational point, before his cross was finished to the net by substitute Craig McCabe two minutes from the end to secure his side's crucial victory.
Shelmaliers: Graham Lawler; Cathal Gaule, Eoin Doyle, Ciarán O'Shaughnessy; Andre O'Brien (0-1), Brian Malone (0-1), Tommy Barron; Ibar Murphy, Barry O'Connor (0-4, 3 fres, 1 '45); Alan Griffith, Aidan Murphy (0-2), Eoghan Nolan (0-1); A.J. Lehane, Stephen Banville (0-1), Derek Walsh (0-5, 3 frees). Subs. - Simon Donohoe for Gaule, Craig McCabe (1-0) for Griffith.
Gusserane: David Kehoe; Cathal Somers, Walter Cosgrave (0-1), Paul Wall; Seán Kinsella, Ken Cahill, Adrian Flynn (1-0); Darragh Doyle, Killian Kehoe (0-1); Fintan Ryan, Graeme Cullen (0-2), Seán Ryan; Jamie Cooney (0-1), Shane Cullen (0-4 frees), Páraic Conway. Sub. - Gary O'Grady for Cooney.
Referee: Brendan Martin (Ballyhogue).
New Ross Standard