Nolan the star man
Shelmaliers 1-12 St. James' 0-8
A tour-de-force from Eoghan Nolan guided Shelmaliers to a deserved 1-12 to 0-8 victory over St. James' in Group B of the Tom Doyle Supplies Senior football championship at the Ferns Centre of Excellence on Saturday.
The county footballer was the architect of most of the Over The Water side's best moments, and kicked three fine points in the second-half for good measure to condemn the 2015 champions to an opening loss.
Defeat comes with the caveat that Ramsgrange were shorn of important players such as Matthew O'Hanlon, Graeme Molloy and the holidaying Kevin O'Grady.
At the same time, the fact that none of their designated starting forwards registered from play points to a lack of invention up front.
The victors had a pre-ordained tactic of carrying the ball through the hands at pace, and while it ostensibly worked for the most part, they too had problems in the red-zone, as they amassed ten wides, including some basic mis-cues, over the course of the hour.
Nolan played a key part in the defining score of the first-half on five minutes, when his rampaging run was brought to a halt at the expense of a penalty which Craig McCabe tucked away with style (1-1 to 0-2).
That goal was the difference-maker in an otherwise evenly-contested first-half, with the intensity of the tackling from both sides a notable feature.
McCabe tagged on two points but had an off-day from placed balls thereafter, while a couple of neat scores from Conor Hearne and Glen Malone cancelled out similarly impressive efforts from Brian Molloy and David Doyle as Shelmaliers held sway by 1-5 to 0-5 at the break.
Nolan screwed over from the outside of his boot 90 seconds into the new half, and by the time his effort from further out the field just about squeaked over on 52 minutes, his side had stretched 1-9 to 0-7 ahead.
Greg Doyle and Brian Molloy carried the fight for St. James' with a point apiece, but they were hampered by the lack of firepower in front of the posts.
Meanwhile, Liam Rockett had a profitable appearance from the Shels' bench with a well-taken point on 59 minutes.
And the on-form Nolan saved his best for last with a lofted effort from around 50 metres out as Shelmaliers begin their campaign with intent.
Shelmaliers: Graham Lawler; Andre O'Brien, James Cash, Dan Campbell; Simon Donohoe, Ciarán O'Shaughnessy, Aidan Cash; Brian Malone, Eoghan Nolan (0-3); Glen Malone (0-1), Eoin Doyle (0-2), Jody Donohoe (0-1); Conor Hearne (0-1), Brian Murphy, Craig McCabe (1-3, 1-0 pen., 0-1 free, 0-1 '45). Subs. - Liam Rockett (0-1) for Murphy (51), Tommy Barron for S. Donohoe (54).
St. James': John Ryan; Paul Barron, Jason Barron, Greg Doyle (0-1); David Doyle (0-1), Robbie Barron, Brian Molloy (0-2); Shane Murphy (0-1), Brendan Doyle; Darragh Lyons, Daniel Keating, Mark Molloy (0-3 frees); Tommy Walsh, Alan Walsh, Donal Barron. Subs. - Liam Murphy for B. Doyle (43), Michael O'Grady for A. Walsh (51), Brian Kennedy for Keating (58).
Referee: Anthony Tobin (Geraldine O'Hanrahans).
New Ross Standard