Captains Tommy Barron (Shels) and Johnny Meskell (Ahane) before game. With referee Damian Donovan.
The famed green and gold colours of the Ahane GAA Club in Limerick were very much in evidence in Hollymount on Saturday as the Shannon-sider’s took on the black and amber of the local Shelmaliers in the first meeting of the sides since captain Rich Doyle led the brave Castlebridge men to victory over an Ahane side in the 1910 All Ireland final. Even though the shape of the hurley sticks and playing gear might have changed in the last one hundred years, this can not be said of the game itself, where supporters witnessed the same intensity and commitment from both sides as that produced in Jones Road one hundred years ago. With memories of the famous Mackey, Tracy, Clancy and Ryan the Limerick men produced some excellent stick work and ground hurling for the throw-in moving the ball with great speed and accuracy and this produced their first score from Richard Ryan in the 3rd minute. The same player added another major soon after whilst Ollie Moran pointed to give Ahane a good lead. With such famed 1910 names as Donohoe, Kennedy, Roche, Kavanagh and others looking down on Hollymount the present day Shelmalier men were not found wanting and they soon replied to the Ahane challenge with points from Conor Byrne (4) and captain Tommy Barron (1). Brian Malone and Shane Griffith were outstanding in defence, Denis Kelly and Benny Barron getting a good supply of ball into the forwards. However Ahane, through Ollie Moran added another goal whilst Captain Johnny Meskell accurate on the frees meant Ahane went into the half ahead.
On the resumption of the second half the physically stronger Limerick began to dominate the play with Shels goalie Ibar Murphy and Ahane’s keeper Tadgh Flynn both carrying off some fine saves. Niall Moran, John Doheny and Dara Madden led the defence and Paul O’Connor, Sean O’Connor and the ‘on fire’ Richard Ryan producing some outstanding scores for Ahane. The final quarter was an evenly contested with Shelmalier goals from Conor Byrne, Ronan Kavanagh, & Mick Kelly bringing the local side back into contention. Further points from Feargal Hynes (2), Joe Kelly and Tommy Barron helped keep Shels in touch. A late goal for Shels when Joe Kelly and Ronan Kavanagh combined wasn’t enough and at the final whistle the green and gold prevailed. However, the significant of this game taking place in the proud history and tradition of both clubs was not lost on both teams and supporters in Hollymount on Saturday.
Shelmaliers: Ibar Murphy, Dre O’Brien, Brian Malone, Mick Kelly, Seamie Harding, Denis Kelly, Shane Griffith, Benny Barron, Alan Griffith, Joe Kelly, Willie O’Shaughnessy, Tommy Barron (C), Chris McGrath, Conor Byrne, John Kelly, Vinny Parker, Feargal Hynes, Ronan Kavanagh, John Redmond, Craig Potter. Manager Deckie Hearne.
Ahane: Tadgh Flynn, Cathal Ryan, Dara Madden, John Doheny, Padraig Tracey, Niall Moran, Dan Morrissey, Johnny Meskell (C), Sean Madden, David Laing, Ollie Moran, Sean O’Connor, Richard Ryan, Brian Healy, Paul O’Connor, Tom Doheny, Aidan O’Connor, Alan Doherty, Patrick Meskell, Jeremy Lynch. Manager Mike Fitzgerald.