We had a beautiful morning and a fine freshly-cut pitch in Hollymount for our championship opener. This was always going to be a tough game and so it turned out.
First Half: We opened brightly, with a good supply of ball going into the lively Craig McCabe at full-forward. Craig pointed four times in the first half, twice from frees and twice from play, and stretched the Rapps’ back line every time he got the ball. He was well-supported by Shane Berney and Neil Rossiter in the forwards, while at the back the full-back line of Pádraic & Eoin O’ Leary and Jack Murphy were very strong. We ended up six points down at half-time due to the concession of two goals, one on the stroke of half time, but we were confident turning around with the wind.
Half-time score: Shels 0-4: Rapps: 2-4.
Second half: The second half was a ding-dong affair, with the lead alternating a number of times, before the Rapps pulled away in the closing stages. Again, the concession of goals at crucial times was to cost us dearly – this despite the fact that goalkeeper Seán Byrne had a good game – the goals came on occasions when he was left exposed by those outside him. The excellent Craig McCabe added a goal and two points to his tally in the second period, while Shane Berney also scored a fine goal. Conor Tobin landed two long-range frees to complete the scoring. Those to shine on the day were Craig McCabe, Eoin O’ Leary, A. J. Lehane, Dean Corrigan (Captain) and Jack Murphy. Having played well for long stretches in this game the team will improve – we’re looking forward to the season ahead.
Full-time score: Shels 2-8; Rapparees : 5-6..
Team: S. Byrne; E O’ Leary ; P O’ Leary ; J. Murphy; AJ Lehane; C Tobin(0-2); E Fitzgerald; G Murphy; D Corrigan ; N Rossiter ; S Berney(1-0) ; N Tobin ; S Murphy ; C McCabe(1-6) ; D Drennan.