Our U21 Footballers had a one point victory today beating Fethard 1-11 to -15. Netminder Shane Birney pulled off a last minute dramatic save for Shels.
For the third time in this U21 campaign Shels had an away fixture, this time to as far south of the county as one can almost go to, Fethard on Sea.
Shels buoyed by the return of the injured Stephen Corrigan and also Kevin O’Connor had almost a full panel to select from.
Fethard drew first blood pointing inside the opening minute, whilst Shels had 2 good goal chances drift just marginally wide by Craig McCabe and Graham Staples. It was seven minutes before the over the water side registered their first score a fine point by Kevin O’Connor. Fethard replied immediately and moments later added a goal after the initial free had been saved by the Shels net minder Shane Birney. Fethard seemed to be in the driving seat 1-2 to -01. Shels pointed twice more courtesy of Craig McCabe (1F) with Fethard keeping the gap to the goal by pointing also. Shels and Fethard traded points to the half time whistle with Eoghan Nolan picking off a good point and Kevin O’Connor converting 2 frees. The sides went into the break 1-6 to 0-6 in favour of the home side. Not really a true reflection as Shels had the majority of the possession.
After the break Shels came out newly energised and completely dominated proceedings for the first 22 minutes. Points from Craig McCabe (4,3F), AJ Lehane (’45), Kevin O’Connor (2, 1F) and the pacy Stephen Corrigan had the score at -14 to 1-6 and Fethard had yet to get on the board for the second half. However as Fethard has shown over their last four games they were far from done and it seemed they had saved their best for last. They hit 4 minors without reply to narrow the gap to the bare minimum. 1-10 to -14 in favour of Shels with 6 minutes left on the clock. Craig McCabe took what many deemed the point of the game with just 2 minutes left to make two between the sides and it was only moments later Fethard brought it back to a one pint game a minute into injury time. Fethard was throwing everything at the Shels defence and onslaught after onslaught took place in front of the Shels goal. A huge kick from Fethard seemed sure to find the back of the net, but goalkeeper Shane Birney with lightning quick reflexes stretched himself to the fullest and got just enough of a touch to make the crucial save. With the ball back out in midfield the referee blew the whistle moments later to the sheer relief of the Shels supporters. Final score -15 to 1-11 and they are now expected to play Ballinstraw Gaels (Kilanerin and Askamore) next Saturday time and venue to be appointed. Amongst those to shine were Kevin O’Connor, Aidan Cash AJ Lehane and Shane Birney.
Team: Shane Birney, Eoghan Fitzgerald, Simon Donohoe, Shane Griffith, Glen Malone, AJ Lehane, (0-1. ’45) Johnny Campbell, Aidan Cash, Brian Murphy, James Cash, Graham Staples, Eoghan Nolan (0-1), Kevin O’ Connor (0-5, 3F), Craig McCabe (0-7, 4F), Stephen Corrigan (0-1). Sub introduced Neal Rossiter.