Ballinastragh Gaels 1-11 Shelmaliers 1-6
Ballinastragh Gaels used their classy range of kicking to propel themselves to the Wexford People Minor football Roinn 1 championship title in St. Patrick's Park on Saturday.
The Gorey District club, aided by a couple of imports from St. Patrick's, flighted over a range of scores, with Seán Forde particularly impressive in front of the posts, to outscore Shelmaliers in a tough slog.
The best of the football was played in the first-half. Both sides gave it a serious go but it was Ballinastragh who settled first.
They built a 1-5 to 1-0 lead after 17 minutes on the back of accuracy and clever movement.
Forde had a couple of the early points, while the industrious Conor Hughes also had a score, as the Gaels moved 0-3 to nil ahead.
However, with their first real penetrative attack, Seán Keane-Carroll beautifully picked out an untracked Mark Power and he rattled the net for the Shels.
With Ballinastragh stung, they immediately responded when Stephen Mordaunt turned over ball in the full-back line, drove at goal and fired an unstoppable shot past Jack Watters.
Hughes and Seán Bardon made the lead five early in the second quarter.
After an exchange of points by Jamie Larkin-Furlong and Forde, Shelmaliers started to gain the upper hand.
They looked really good in the spell approaching half-time as three unanswered points from Adam Howlin (two) and Ross Banville left the game in the balance at the break (1-6 to 1-4).
The interval completely stalled the Hollymount side. Their broken momentum, interjected with several stoppages, meant there was no score in the opening twelve minutes of the second-half.
Crucially, Forde broke the hiatus with a free.
Shelmaliers hit back through Chris Cowman, a growing influence for his side, but Kilanerin were not in the mood to give this game away.
Forde added a couple of dead-balls either side of a classy Mordaunt point to make it 1-10 to 1-5 with 55 minutes gone.
The boys in red and white almost put the game to bed a minute later. Mordaunt hared away but saw his shot crack the post.
It rebounded straight to him and almost Superman-esque, the full-forward flew through the air with his fist out and punched the ball onto the same post.
Forde eventually gathered possession and tapped over a clinching point.
Shelmaliers kept going right to the last whistle but Cowman's late point was far from enough to get themselves back into the game and deny the Gaels the county title.
Ballinastragh Gaels: Garbhan Finn; Billy Kavanagh, James Shannon, Patrick O'Connor (capt.); Cathal O'Reilly, Glen Carton, Robert Murphy; Paudie Hughes, Seán Forde (0-7, 4 frees); Seán Bardon (0-1), Ben O'Connor, Conor Hughes (0-2); Stephen Neville, Stephen Mordaunt (1-1), Conor Morris. Subs. - Ben Morris for C. Morris (31), Paddy D'Arcy for O'Connor, inj. (55), also Liam McCarthy, Seán Geoghegan, Ryan Gibney, Rian Fealey.
Shelmaliers: Jack Watters; Aaron Doyle, Adam Hearne, Hugh Peter Manley; Mark Power (1-0), James Doyle, Jamie Larkin-Furlong (0-1); Seán Keane-Carroll, Chris Cowman (0-2); Thomas O'Connor, Ross Banville (0-1), Ryan Hanrahan; Kyle Roche, Niall Hearne, Adam Howlin (0-2 frees). Subs. - Paul Hearne for Howlin (41), Evan Carr for N. Hearne (43), Tomás Scallan for Hanrahan (46), Aodhán Byrne for O'Connor (52), also Mark Doyle, Tom Keavney, Adam Kelly, Ryan Healy, Darragh Malone, Conor Roche, Dylan O'Neill.
Referee: James Flood (St Mary's, Maudlintown).