Shels hang on for one-point victory
SHELMALIERS WERE left hanging on for dear life in Wexford Park on Saturday last from an apparent position of strength as Adamstown launched a stirring comeback in this Pettitt's Senior hurling championship Group A clash.
The black and ambers looked to be home and hosed when they led by 2-10 to 0-7 midway through the third quarter, but perhaps they thought that themselves too as they stopped playing to such an extent that they failed to score again and were fortunate to hold on for a one-point victory.
Underdogs Adamstown threw everything they had at their rivals with the French brothers leading the way in the scoring stakes, and with a bit more composure and a modicum of luck they would have earned a draw at the very least.
It shouldn't have been that way though from Shelmaliers' point of view as they were boosted by a goal after a mere 39 seconds when Conor Byrne caught Conor Walsh's line ball and kicked it to the net.
The advantage of the breeze helped them to keep Adamstown at arm's length for the remainder of the half, although they also shot seven wides en route to an interval lead of 1-9 to 0-6.
Free-taker Byrne converted four placed balls while Brian Malone and Ciarán O'Shaughnessy added a brace apiece from play, with Tony and Lorcan French leading the Adamstown response.
Just over one minute of the second-half had elapsed when there was a repeat occurrence as Tommy Barron's cross found Malone whose shot carried no power but still wrong-footed Paul Cooper and ended up in the net.
With nine points between them, Adamstown looked to be in big trouble, especially after Tony French drove a penalty off the post after a foul on Thomas Furlong. However, they launched their revival after French and Conor Byrne (free) swapped points, hitting the last eight scores of the game courtesy of Lorcan French, John French, Tony French (four placed balls) and Shane O'Gorman (two). County Under-21 O'Gorman came closest to getting the goal that eluded them, with his first point coming from a rising shot in the 50th minute while his one-handed pull deep into the seven minutes of added time played came back into play off the woodwork.
Shelmaliers will wonder how they managed to fold completely from a position of strength after a display which doesn't augur well for their future prospects.
Shelmaliers: Brian Murphy; Andre O'Brien, Aidan Murphy, Shane Griffith; Conor Walsh, Clive Lawler, Simon Donohoe; John Redmond, Eoin Doyle; Alan Griffith, Ciarán O'Shaughnessy (capt., 0-2), Brian Malone (1-2); Tommy Barron, Stephen Banville (0-1), Conor Byrne (1-5, 0-5 frees). Subs. - Joe Kelly for Redmond (38), James Cash for A. Griffith (57).
Adamstown: Paul Cooper; Michael Curtis, M.J. Cooper (capt.), John Whelan; Vinnie Doheny, James Breen, Shane White; Lorcan French (0-3), John French (0-1); Tony French (0-8, 5 frees, 1 '65), Shane O'Gorman (0-2), Michael Furlong (0-1); Eoghan Cashin, Thomas Furlong, Ian Stafford. Subs. - Paddy Whitty for Stafford (52), Paudie Barden for Cashin (54), Brendan Furlong for J. French (60 + 3).
Referee: Niall McDonald (Crossabeg-Ballymurn).