Shelmaliers met Blackwater in the relegation final in Killurin on Saturday 2nd Oct and this was a must win game for both teams to ensure they retained senior status.
The large crowds that attended the game, was testimony to the importance of this match for both sides adding to the local derby atmosphere. It must be said that it was most unfortunate that the sheer volumes of cars coming to and from Killurin owing to a previous junior game been fixed for the same venue, meant that many supporters missed the start of this epic battle through no fault of their own. Shels, playing against a stiff wind, and Blackwater both got off the ground quickly and Stephen Banville and Conor Byrne both pointed for Shels. Tommy Barron stretched the lead to two with a superb point. Blackwater then responded with 2 minors before Conor Byrne converted a free on the edge of half time to leave the score 04- to 0-3. Torrential rain arrived just on the edge of half time and made for extremely difficult playing conditions for the second half. On the resumption Eoin Doyle collected a high ball and worked extremely hard to get in down to the awaiting Stephen Banville who needed no prompting to dispatch it over the bar, Conor Byrne converted another free before captain Tommy Barron after some good work found Chris McGrath to take another minor. Conor Byrne also pointed in this period and Shels were going well. A point from Blackwater 15 minutes in left 4 between the sides. Another converted free from the assured Conor Byrne left 5 between the two sides and it seemed Shels were pulling well away. We then had to endure a mighty challenge from Blackwater where Brian (Turf) Murphy pulled off a fantastic save but moments later a bullet from a Blackwater player found the back of the net and the game was on again with only 2 between the side. It was hot and heavy for the last six minutes with a few scraps on the field, the backs were under severe pressure but held strong with David Cloney having a stormer of a game. Then when Conor Byrne converted a free in the dying moments of the game, it felt we were surely safe. When referee Damien Donovan blew the final whistle 3 minutes into injury time, Shelmaliers finally allowed themselves to celebrate retaining their senior status, in this vital year that seen three teams demoted to the intermediate ranks in a shake up of the championship structure. Final score 0-10 to 1-4. Well done to all concerned.
Team: Brian Murphy, Brian Malone, Aidan Murphy, Andre O’Brien, David Cloney, Conor Walsh, Eoin Doyle, Ciaran O’Shaughnessy, Alan Griffith, Benny Barron, Stephen Banville (0-2), James Gordon, Chris McGrath (0-1), Conor Byrne (0-5,4F) Tommy Barron(0-2) (Captain). Subs introduced. Brian Doyle and Joe Kelly.
Manager Billy Byrne, Selectors Deckie Hearne, Francis Neville. Physio Donal O’Connor.