Senior Football Full report

tgHaving been unbeaten in 6 Championship matches last year and 5 championship matches this year, it almost came as a surprise that this team were knocked out of the Senior Football Championship.

Having proved their worth in their first year in Senior football by beating Sarsfields, Starlights, Duffry Rovers and Adamstown (after a replay and two periods of extra time), this team were beginning to look unstoppable.
Starting this game without the services of Tommy Barron (mumps) and Eoin Doyle (injury), the Shels were given a welcome boost when Colm Tynan’s suspension was lifted by the appeals committee only a couple of hours before throw-in. The Shels chose not to alter their chosen team at this late stage and started Clive Lawler at full-back, Colin Redmond at wing-back and Ibar Murphy at mid-field partnered with Brian Malone.
In atrocious weather conditions, the Shels chose to play with the wind and rain in their back. They started quickly and won a close in free which Aidan Murphy missed, uncharacteristically, before Terry Gainfort scored an excellent point, in the sixth minute, from out near the side-line which was followed quickly by a good point by Brian Malone a minute later. In the 11th minute Gainfort struck again after a great passing movement from defence to attack which ended up with Stephen Banville flicking onto Aidan Murphy who set up Terry for a well finished goal; 1-2 to no score. Gusserane responded in the 14 minute when Seamie Ryan, at full forward, was fouled leaving an easy pointed free from the reliable Shane Cullen. Gusserane now piled on the pressure with wing back Walter Cosgrave, who was very pacey and was causing a lot of problems for the Shels, scoring an excellent point after a long solo run (17 minutes). On 24 minutes, Philip Wallace, playing at centre forward, latched onto a ball to score a good point from distance. Gusserane continued to pile on the pressure and missed a couple of good scoring opportunities before Garret Dunne and Alan Griffith lifted the pressure for the Shels with Shane Cullen replying with a point from a free (1-4 to 0-4). But then, a minute into injury time, the Shels attacked with Stephen Banville passing to Alan Griffith who set up Brian Malone for a well finished goal. A good finish to the half for the Shels with the rain and strong wind in their favour.
In the second half the Shels were six points up and choose not to change their team. From the start they attacked, with Derek Walsh, now playing at corner forward, scoring a point after 40 seconds. Jason Murphy replied by scoring his only point of the game after 3 minutes while Shane Cullen scoring points from two good frees on 7 and 9 minutes.  Terry Gainfort missed a free for the Shels on 10 minutes, after he slipped and moments later Colin Redmond was denied a point as the referee accidentally stepped into his path. With wind assisted Gusserane now piling on the pressure, Shels needed some scores. The ever reliable Brian Malone scored a good point after 12 minutes but their advantage was to slip away after both Aidan Murphy and Garret Dunne missed point scoring chances. Adrian Flynn scored a ’45 in difficult conditions while Matthew Flynn set up Shane Cullen for another good score to leave just one point between the sides and 12 minutes remaining. The Shels needed to make some changes to break this dominant Gusserane period. But with Tommy Barron and Eoin Doyle not available, their usual substitutions were not possible. Bringing in Colm Tynan and moving Clive Lawler out the field would have helped matters, but Shels chose to stay the same. Garret Dunne scored an excellent point after being set up by Stephen Banville and Ibar Murphy. Gusserane piled on the pressure and forced an excellent save from Padraig McMahon with 6 minutes remaining. This looked like the save that would secure the match and one felt that Shels were going to win now. But a minute later, Gusserane were through again to force another excellent save from Padraig. The rebound was finished by Seamie Ryan after it looked as if Padraig was impeded by Gusserane. Again Gusserane attacked and Gary O’Grady scored his only point from long range to put them 2 points up with 3 minutes remaining. Immediately Shels attacked with great pace and passion. Colm Tynan was introduced at full back with Clive moving out field. Derek Walsh pointed to leave the minimum between the sides. Gusserane brought 15 players behind mid-field to stop the Shels. Again Derek Walsh was through but was well blocked down. Brian Malone got through but his low shot struck one of the defenders which should have given a ’45 but was signalled wide. But the very last attack fell to Ibar Murphy out on the right wing. His long range shot went narrowly wide and Gusserane won by a point.

Heartache for the Shels – nobody could believe their marvellous run was over. It couldn’t be, they never lose. But when the roaring died down, it was Gusserane who had reached the Senior Football County Final.

A week later Kilanerin won the County final by one goal which was scored one minute into injury time!

Shels Team
1. Padraig McMahon
2. Marc Walsh
3. Clive Lawler
4. Cathal Gaule
5. Colin Redmond
6. David Walsh
7. Ciaran O’Shaughnessy
8. Ibar Murphy
9. Brian Malone (1-2)
10. Alan Griffith (0-1)
11. Garret Dunne (0-2)
12. Derek Walsh (0-2)
13. Terry Gainfort (1-1)
14. Stephen Banville
15. Aidan Murphy

Colm Tynan for Terry Gainfort