Shelmalier Minor Football team made history on Saturday last with a brilliant display to capture the county title in their replay against Ballinastragh Gaels in Patricks Park.
The winning margin of 7pts (2:9 to 2:2) was a fair reflection of the superiority our boys showed during the course of a very tough and physical game. The history making is two fold, firstly being one of a very small group of clubs that have won minor Hurling and Football in the same year and the other being only the third time in history that the Jim Byrne Cup (Winter Football League) and the Minor Football championship have been won in the same season. Quite an achievement by a fantastic group of young and very talented men. The scenes that greeted the victory and the celebrations that carried into the not so early hours of Sunday morning will never be forgotten by all concerned. The early stages of this game did not go according to plan for the Shels boys as Ballinastraw raced into an early 1:1 to 1pt lead. But as all through this year these boys are made of stern stuff as they quickly went about their business and slowly took control of the game. The pick of our first half scores was a monster James Gordon point from out near the wing and a quick goal and a point by Captain Brian Murphy. At half time the Shels led by 1:6 to 1:1. The second half started as the first half ended with our boys dictating the play with AJ Lehane extending the lead with a great left footed point. However Ballinastragh Gaels are not in the county final by chance and they then started to come on strong and by the mid point of the half our lead was down to just two points 1:7 to 2:2. It was then that matters turned a bit ugly as an off the ball incident left Stephen Corrigan laid out on the ground with a very serious head injury, which later needed 6 stitches, Because of the most serious nature of the injury, play was held up for over ten minutes as Stephen was treated on the field by medics. It was at this stage that all people present saw what people close to this team have been saying for a long time, these lads are something very special. After the lengthy stoppage our boys really got to work and from there to the final whistle there was only one team playing all the football. Led from the back by Paraic O Leary and Shane Griffith thru midfield dominance of Aidan Cash and James Gordon up to great forward play from Glen Murphy, Kevin O Connor and Fergal Hynes the Shels team really cut loose and eventually ran out convincing winners on a score line of 2:9 to 2:2. Great credit is due to all connected with both the Minor Hurling and Football teams this year and it’s only in the fullness of time will this great achievement of a complete Minor clean sweep of all competitions be fully appreciated. They now go on to represent Wexford in the Leinster Minor club Football competition on November 6th in Carlow. .
Team and Scorers on the day were:
Shane Birney, Neal Rossiter, Paraic O’Leary, Conor Tobin, Niall Murphy, Shane Griffith, Stephen Corrigan, James Gordon, (0-3), Aidan Cash, Feargal Hynes (0-3,2F,1-’45), Craig McCabe, Glen Murphy, AJ Lehane (0-1), Brian Murphy (Captain)(2-1), Kevin O’Connor (0-1). Sub Introduced Cian Lambe. Panellists Niall Tobin, John Campbell, Simon Murphy, James Cash, Jack Murphy, Adam Whitmore, Eoin Fitzgerald. Manager Aidan O’Leary, Selectors Michael Ryan, Myles Doyle, Clive Lawlor Ryan. Well done to all concerned.