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Prolific Páraic makes point

Shels attacker shows superb accuracy in clearcut win

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Padraig O'Leary (Shelmaliers) Jack Fenlon-Rowan White (Glynn Barntown)

Padraig O'Leary (Shelmaliers) Jack Fenlon-Rowan White (Glynn Barntown)

Simon Donohoe (Shelmaliers) John Leacy (Glynn Barntown)

Simon Donohoe (Shelmaliers) John Leacy (Glynn Barntown)

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Padraig O'Leary (Shelmaliers) Jack Fenlon-Rowan White (Glynn Barntown)

wexfordpeople

AN UNLIKELY scoring star emerged for Shelmaliers in Chadwicks Wexford Park on Saturday as they marched on to the semi-finals of the Dominic Smith Electrical Senior football championship for the fourth time in five years with an emphatic eleven-point win over a disappointing Glynn-Barntown side.

Páraic O’Leary was more noted for his hard work in creating chances for others than his own finishing ability prior to this clash, but rival defenders will afford him space at their peril for the rest of his days after this superb contribution.

The ace attacker kicked a very impressive six points from play, four with his right boot and two with his left, matching the overall tally comprised by the opposition in the process.

And, making his individual feat even more impressive was the fact that, shortly after throw-in, he took up a position on the ’40 where he was directly opposed by Ger Dempsey – one of the best defenders of the entire championship.

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The game was also a personal triumph for young substitute Corey Lawlor who experienced the perfect start to Senior football – scoring a late goal with his very first touch on his debut.

The outcome was long since decided by that stage on an afternoon when the Shels were glad to welcome back county player Eoghan Nolan after his long injury lay-off, having first tested the waters in the recent Junior loss to Kilrush.

Dan Campbell, Aaron Murphy and Eoin Doyle were absent for the victors and, while Glynn-Barntown had first-choice goalkeeper Matt Doyle back in action, the ongoing loss of Aaron Breen was a major blow.

The losers have been badly hit overall by injuries and other issues in this campaign, with Ríoghan Crosbie, Michael Carroll and Dylan Lyne also not available after figuring in the seven-point loss to the Shels at the same stage last year.

Thankfully, the fractious scenes from the 2020 clash that ended in a 14 versus 11 contest weren’t repeated, although Glynn-Barntown did lose a key player at a time when they were threatening a revival in the third quarter.

Mark Fanning had already spent ten minutes in the sin-bin on either side of half-time after receiving a black card for an incident involving direct opponent James Cash before a Shels kick-out.

And just five minutes after returning to the action, an umpire at the town end put his left arm to the side to indicate he required a word with referee James Owens as a Darragh Carley kick sailed over the bar.

The consultation was followed by a yellow card and a red for the county hurling goalkeeper, and his side would score just one more point in the aftermath as Shelmaliers comfortably closed out the game.

There was precious little to engage any neutrals throughout, but that was certainly not the fault of the winners who went about their business in a clinical manner and established a commanding interval lead.

At this time of year in particular, and, given the usual strength of the wind blowing towards the town end, the outcome of the pre-match toss can be every bit as important as what follows inside the white lines.

On this occasion, James Cash was able to make the call for his team to avail of the elements first, and they never looked back.

Eight of their ten points before the interval arrived from play as they surged clear by 0-10 to 0-1, with Páraic O’Leary (four) and attack-minded defender Simon Donohoe (two) leading the way.

O’Leary moved immediately from the left corner to the ’40, with Brian Malone going into the edge of the square where he was policed by former county team-mate Rob Tierney. Eoghan Nolan had David Clarke for company inside, with Jack Fenlon on Kyle Roche, but the Shels got most joy from their generally accurate kicking from around the 45-metre line.

They created ample chances and also registered six first-half wides, but that was a small price to pay given their complete dominance in general play.

A foul on Nolan led to Glen Malone opening their account from a free after 44 seconds, and it took eight minutes before the latter’s big brother doubled that advantage from a Kyle Roche pass.

The quick thinking of Nolan set up a goal chance on the next Shels attack, with his free finding Glen Malone haring down the right after a foul on Conor Hearne. There was a lot of power behind the shot, but Matt Doyle stood tall and saved well at his near post at the expense of a ’45 that rival netminder Craig McCabe kicked wide.

Páraic O’Leary had a pop from distance for the first time in the 14th minute, getting his opening point from just outside the ’45 off his right foot from a Jody Donohoe off-load.

He turned on to his left for his second that went over via the post, and it left Shelmaliers ahead by 0-4 to nil at the water break.

Simon Donohoe stretched that advantage from distance on the restart, before Glynn-Barntown finally showed some promise in the 17th minute.

Kevin Mahoney and Matthew Joyce were involved before John Leacy – who took the fight to the opposition as always – kicked a fine point into the teeth of the wind (0-5 to 0-1).

However, it was their one and only score of the first-half, whereas the Shels reeled off another five to leave them with a considerable cushion.

Simon Donohoe’s second arrived from a Conor Hearne pass, before Páraic O’Leary reverted to his right for his third point in the 20th minute.

And after that black card for Mark Fanning, the leaders utilised their extra man to the full as O’Leary, Ross Banville and Glen Malone (free) made it 0-10 to 0-1 by the break.

Glynn-Barntown introduced Darragh Carley at half-time, and his eagerness to get on the ball and go forward helped considerably in their brightest period of the game.

John Leacy set the tone after a mere twelve seconds with a point, and wing-back James Stafford added another from a Carley pass before the first minute of the new half had elapsed.

Fionn Cooney then played a one-two with Ger Dempsey to make it 10-4 prior to Fanning’s shortlived return, and Carley kicked over from distance seconds before the attacker was dismissed for something spotted by an umpire.

Shelmaliers squandered a couple of goal chances, with Jody Donohoe firing into the side-netting and Simon Donohoe getting too much distance on a handpass aimed at Eoghan Nolan, but they finally settled again when Simon Donohoe picked out Páraic O’Leary for a left-footed point (0-11 to 0-5).

Alan Mahoney was fouled and knocked over the free in the 48th minute, just before the water break, but Glynn-Barntown didn’t register again.

They had brought on the injury-plagued Michael O’Regan at full-forward, but they struggled to make progress beyond the middle third of the field and were perhaps fatigued too after Fethard took them to extra-time six days earlier.

A long run by Simon Donohoe led to a point for Glen Malone when play resumed, and it was all very convenient for the Shels for the rest of the game.

Páraic O’Leary kicked his sixth point from a Conor Hearne handpass, and he trotted off for a well-earned rest moments after Aidan Cash made it 0-14 to 0-6 in the 55th minute.

Alan Mahoney tried for goal from a close-in free but his effort was easily dealt with before the Shels struck for the only green flag. Corey Lawlor, O’Leary’s replacement, got on the end of a move involving Glen Malone and Conor Hearne and applied a clinical finish, while another substitute – Craig Parker – had a late effort blocked as the superiority of the Shels continued to the finish.

The outcome means that Glynn-Barntown’s involvement on county final day on November 14 will be confined to the appearance of their sole Senior-winning squad of 1996 for the silver jubilee ceremony at half-time.

Shelmaliers: Craig McCabe; Andre O’Brien, James Cash (capt.), Graham Staples; Glen Malone (0-3, 2 frees), Simon Donohoe (0-2), Ross Banville (0-1); Seán Keane-Carroll, Aidan Cash (0-1); Conor Hearne, Brian Malone (0-1), Jody Donohoe; Kyle Roche, Eoghan Nolan, Páraic O’Leary (0-6). Subs. – Mark Power for Roche (48), Corey Lawlor (1-0) for O’Leary (55), Craig Parker for Nolan (60). Sin-bin: Mark Fanning (24).

Glynn-Barntown: Matt Doyle; David Clarke, Rob Tierney (capt.), Jack Fenlon; James Stafford (0-1), Ger Dempsey, Rowan White; John Leacy (0-2), Michael Doyle; Alan Mahoney (0-1 free), Kevin Mahoney, Shane Wilde; Matthew Joyce, Mark Fanning, Fionn Cooney (0-1). Subs. – Darragh Carley (0-1) for Wilde (HT), Michael O’Regan for Joyce (42), Conor Lyne for White (48), White for Lyne, temp. (50-51), Cormac Cooney for F. Cooney (52), Matthew Banville for A. Mahoney (57).

Referee: James Owens (Kilrush).


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