Juniors fall at final hurdle

Shelmaliers 0-8 – Blackwater 1-9
Junior Football League Final June 15, 2008, Venue Wexford Park

In a game that turned on the outcome of two penalties the Shels Junior Football team came up short in the League Final at Wexford Park. Blackwater converted their penalty just before the half-time break and the Shels had their attempt saved with 5 mins remaining in the game.

In the first half, in good conditions, Joe Neville from Blackwater opened the scoring with a point before Stephen Cash responded with a fine point for play for the Shels. The opening period was a very tight affair with scores at a premium. With Blackwater dominating the midfield exchanges they added another point from Paul Murphy but also shot two wides. Then John Veale got on the end of a good move to score a point for the Shels after 15 mins to leave the score at that stage 0-2 a piece. As the half progressed the play was patchy with little scoring excitement, one bright spot was when Stephen Cash popped up for another point from play and then converted a close in free to move the Shels ahead by 0-4 to 0-3 with the half time whistle approaching.
Then, after Johnny Murphy had levelled proceedings for Blackwater, the first penalty arrived. A speculative ball into the Shels goal mouth appeared to be going harmlessly wide when the referee blew for a mysterious free and awarded a penalty. In the resulting 'discussions' a Shels player received a yellow card for protesting. The drama had no effect on Johnny Murphy, the Blackwater penalty taker, who calmly dispatched the penalty to the net.  Jason O'Leary added another Blackwater point just before the half-time whistle to leave the score 1-5 to 0-4 at the break.
In the second half, the Shels improved considerably around midfield and with points from play from Stephen Cash and Cormac Smith plus a pointed free from Stephen Cash leaving the score at 1-7 to 0-7 the game was in the balance entering the last ten minutes. The Shels were then awarded a penalty when a Blackwater defender picked the ball off the ground close to his own goal. Again there were heated discussions as to whether the offence was a penalty or not but the decision stood. Stephen Cash elected to place the penalty to the goal keeper’s right but Sean Furlong in the Blackwater goal dived that way and made the save. The Shels did add another point from a free in the closing stages but Blackwater responded with a point of their own to secure the win.
Best for the Shels were John Veale, Cormac Smith, Niall Kelly and Stephen Cash.

1.Colm Parker, 2. Niall Kelly, 3. Dennis Kelly, 4. Andre O'Brien, 5. Brian O'Shaughnessy, 6. Vinny Parker, 7. John Veale (0-1), 8. Daren Malone, 9, Dessie Kehoe, 10. Cormac Smith (0-1), 11. Colin Redmond, 12. Willie O'Shaughnessy, 13. Stephen Cash (0-6, 0-3f), 14. Mick Kelly, 15. Mark Tobin. Subs: Conor Walsh for Andre O'Brien, Graeme Lawlor for Dessie Kehoe, Brian Doyle for Willie O'Shaughnessy >