Oylegate-Glenbrien 1-19 Shelmaliers 0-19
A PODGE Doran goal shortly after the interval was what eventually separated the sides as Oylegate-Glenbrien produced a rousing performance to overcome highly-fancied Shelmaliers in an absorbing Pettitt’s Senior hurling championship Group B encounter in Monamolin on Saturday.
The Blues were immense in attack and defence, picking off some beautiful scores from all angles, while the Shelmaliers forwards found it difficult to get any change out of a teak-tough Oylegate-Glenbrien rearguard.
Their dynamic half-back line provided the platform for the victory, with county star Damien Reck giving a tour de force performance from his central berth, Mike Kelly contributing three outstanding long-range scores, while the return of Shane Reck was a major plus.
The attackers had no problem working the scoreboard either, as inside forwards Barry Dunne, Seamus Casey and Podge Doran racked up 1-9 between them in an impressive all-round display.
Shelmaliers would be the choice of many to go deep into the competition, but on Saturday they came up against a fired-up Oylegate-Glenbrien outfit that simply wanted it more.
Having trailed by eight points (1-16 to 0-11) in the 38th minute, they did well to rally and get back within two late on, but Patrick Cullen slotted over a score to ease the nerves and Oylegate-Glenbrien held out for a well-deserved victory.
Shelmaliers got off to a lightning start, with Aaron Murphy splitting the posts with their opening foray inside ten seconds, but Oylegate-Glenbrien were quick to show their intent as Seamus Casey gave them a 0-3 to 0-1 lead with five minutes on the clock, having earlier converted a free, following Jamie Reck’s opener.
The Shels looked a little blunt in attack, minus their influential sharpshooter Ross Banville, although Paul Hearne took over free-taking duties to good effect, and he slotted over two placed balls to draw them level by the ninth minute.
The Over The Water side did have a couple of goal chances in the opening quarter that could have turned the tide very much in their favour, but Hearne saw his effort blocked after he picked the pocket of goalkeeper Aaron Duggan and Seán Keane-Carroll’s shot was saved after he was found by Cian Doyle.
Shelmaliers did get their noses in front in the 14th minute when Simon Donohoe scored a smashing point off his left from well out the field, but that was the final time that they would hold the lead.
Last year’s Intermediate champions were winning battles all over the field and Barry Dunne cut in from the right and split the posts to draw them level, before Peter Rowley scored a sweet point on the turn to edge them ahead in the 17th minute.
Hearne quickly responded with a placed ball, but the Enniscorthy District side put the foot down, with Dunne grabbing another, Podge Doran adding two fine points, and netminder Aaron Duggan squeezing a long-range free in off the post to give them a four-point advantage.
Hearne kept Shelmaliers in touch with a free and an eye-catching score from the right sideline, but those efforts were wiped out as Barry Dunne continued his barnstorming first-half with another point and Mike Kelly arrowed over a monster effort from the right.
Shelmaliers were finding the going tough, although they managed to stay in touch with Eoin Doyle and Cian Doyle pointing, either side of a wonderful score from Seamus Casey off his left from 70 yards. Barry Dunne then collected a Jack Reck pass and fired over the bar for his fourth point of the half in injury time, although Paul Hearne replied at the other end to make it 0-13 to 0-10 at the interval.
Oylegate-Glenbrien could smell blood and they got a massive boost just two minutes after the change of ends when Podge Doran brilliantly caught a long delivery in front of goal and applied the finish from close range.
Hearne quickly responded with a placed ball, but Oylegate-Glenbrien had the bit between their teeth and a superb over-the-shoulder score from Jim White was followed by another booming effort from Mike Kelly and a long-range Damien Reck free to give them an eight-point lead.
Two Hearne frees made the gap more manageable for Shelmaliers, although Damien Reck responded with an inspirational point from well inside his own half.
His county colleague Simon Donohoe did likewise to kickstart a Shels revival, and points from Adam Howlin (free), Cian Doyle and Donohoe again left just a puck of the ball between the sides with nine minutes remaining (1-17 to 0-17).
Mike Kelly steadied the ship with his third mighty score, although points from substitute Joe Kelly and Aaron Murphy meant the lead was down to a precarious two points with five minutes remaining.
Oylegate-Glenbrien managed to hold firm, however, and Patrick Cullen popped the ball over the bar in the 60th minute to secure a three-point victory.
They will now be hoping to build on this statement triumph when they face St. Martin’s in O’Kennedy Park in New Ross next Saturday at 6 p.m., while the 2020 Senior champions take on holders Rapparees in Chadwicks Wexford Park at 7.30 p.m. the previous evening.
Oylegate-Glenbrien: Aaron Duggan (0-1 free); Tomás Cosgrave, Michael Heffernan, Paudie Casey; Shane Reck, Damien Reck (0-2, 1 free), Mike Kelly (0-3); Jamie Reck (0-1), Patrick Cullen (0-1); Jim White (0-1), Peter Rowley (0-1), Jack Reck; Barry Dunne (0-4), Seamus Casey (capt., 0-3, 1 free), Podge Doran (1-2). Subs. - Joe Dunne for White (54), Mark Kavanagh for Jack Reck (55), Fergal Doran for Jamie Reck, inj. (60).
Shelmaliers: Adam Howlin (0-1 free); Simon Donohoe (capt., 0-3), Aidan Cash, Eoin Doyle (0-1); Conor Walsh, Glen Malone, Aaron Doyle; Aaron Murphy (0-2), Conor Hearne; Seán Keane-Carroll, Graham Staples, Cian Doyle (0-2); Dylan O’Neill, Eoghan Nolan, Paul Hearne (0-9, 7 frees, 1 ’65). Subs. - Joe Kelly (0-1) for Staples (36), Luke Roche for O’Neill (38).
Referee: Dan Crosby (Kilmore).