Shels met Rathnure in Patricks Park in the third round of the senior hurling championship last night. Coming on the back of a fine win against Ferns, coupled with the agony of losing to Buffers Alley in injury time in the 2nd round, Shels badly wanted a good result.
Rathnure got off to a flying start and were soon -03 to -00 ahead. Conor Byrne converted a free in the 8th minute but Rathnure pointed on the rebound to keep 3 between the sides. Shels were starting to take shape and the on form Ciaran O’Shaughnessy gave the Shels reason to cheer with a fantastic goal after he shrugged off several tackles to find the back of the net. The sides were not level for long as Rathnure immediately responded with a brace of points to pull ahead. Shels then came into a purple patch. They could do no wrong and were winning everything in the air. Stephen Banville (1-0) was virtually unplayable to Rathnure and he got Shels 2nd major of the game. Ciaran O’Shaughnessy (1-1), Joe Kelly (0-1) and Alan Griffith (0-1) were working hard and proving very effective on the half forward line with Conor Byrne still accurate on the free’s. Chris McGrath displayed his experience when he did well to put Ciaran O’Shaughnessy through for his 2nd major of the day. Shels went to the break 3-5 to 0-7 ahead.
On the resumption after a bit of scrapping from the throw in and two yellow cards being issued (one to each team), Shels pulled further ahead with a free from Joe Kelly and a Chris McGrath point. However Rathnure were far from done and soon replied with 1-1, (21 yd free and ’65) to leave the score at 3-7 to 1-8. Conor Byrne converted a free before some confusion in the Shels defence saw the sliothar end up in the back of the net. Entering the final quarter it was3-8 to 2-8 in favour of Shels. Stephen Banville and Ciaran O’Shaughnessy steadied the ship with two excellent points under severe pressure before Rathnure pointed from a distant free. Conor Walsh, Aidan Cash and Eoin Doyle, were working hard to keep the sliothar moving to the forwards and Conor Byrne (F) and Alan Griffith did well to extend the gap to 3-12 to 2-9 with just 8 minutes to go. But Rathnure came back again at the Shels and showed why they have been a force to be reckoned with over the years. They hit 1-2 in the closing minutes of the game, whilst Shels never gave up and defended to the death with full back Aidan Murphy and centre back Clive Lawler-Ryan in particular being absolutely staunch in defence and Shels had done enough to hold on for the deserved, if small victory. It was an all round team effort and everyone had to play their part to secure the win, and the entire team did just that.
Team: Brian Murphy, Feargal Hynes, Aidan Murphy, Brian Malone, Conor Walsh, Clive Lawler-Ryan, Aidan Cash, Eoin Doyle, John Redmond, Alan Griffith (0-2), Ciaran O’Shaughnessy (2-2), Joe Kelly (0-2, 1F), Conor Byrne (0-4F), Stephen Banville (1-1), Chris McGrath (0-1). Subs introduced. Andre O’Brien and Noel Mythen.