Juveniles are Co. Champs

Our U16 Footballers beat Bunclody 2-11 to 2-10  in St. Patrick’s Park and are deserved Co. champions. Read more for report.

Shelmaliers u 16’s were crowned premier football champions in St Patrick’s park on Friday night when they overcame the  brave challenge of Bunclody on a scoreline of 2-11 to 2-10.
On a calm evening Bunclody made the better start with an early point followed by a couple of wides. This score was then cancelled out with a neat finish for a point for Ross Banville following good work by Dan Campbell. Bunclody had the bulk of the play and added 2 further points and indeed but for some very poor finishing could have had a few more.
The Shels however managed to stay with them courtesy of 2 points from Craig Parker – one a cracking one from play. Bunclody then finished the half with 3 more points to lead by just 3 at the break – when it probably could have been more. Shels also lost both Sean Keane Carroll and James Doyle to injury – replaced by Jamie Larkin Furlong (who played his part in defence) and Niall Hearne. Mentors James Murphy, Stanley O’Leary and Jimmy Doyle certainly had their work cut out for them at the break to motivate a team who were clearly under performing as well as reorganizing to cope with the injuries.
On the resumption, after another early wide by Bunclody, Shels really upped their game and rattled off 3 points from Chris Cowman, the speedy Nathan Ferguson Murphy and another Parker free to draw level. Then they  seized the initiative completely to forge 2 ahead courtesy of another free and a point from Kyle Roche. It was then that big Niall Hearne put his stamp on the game with 2 quick fire goals. Now operating in a 2 man full forward line in a switch that also saw Ross Banville operate as a sweeper at the back – he got on the end of a long delivery from a free by Craig Parker to fist to the net. And that score was scarcely in the referee’s notebook when he did it again , this time collecting possession outside the small square and cleverly finishing to the net with his left foot. Amazingly Shels had turned a 3 point deficit into an 8 point lead in less than 12 minutes! However, the clock soon became their enemy as Bunclody set about a brave comeback. They eventually found their scoring boots and reduced the margin with a succession of points and a well finished goal to reduce the lead to 3 with plenty of time remaining. It was during this period that the Shels really earned their victory as the crowded defence meant that Bunclody had to work hard for their scores and often ended up frustrated when they couldn’t find space to shoot. Not only that but they were also able to beak upfield to telling effect and pick off some crucial points to keep daylight between the sides- Michael O’Rourke and Dan Campbell being the providers. With the margin at 4 and time running out a low strike shaved the upright to find the net for Bunclody to leave the minimum between the sides. A draw and extra time was now on the cards but the Shels held their composure to finish the job and record a famous 1 point victory.
The defence was well organized in the second half by Adam Howlin in the goal and some great work by Mark Power, Kevin Harte, Aaron O’Neill and James Doyle. Conor Hearne did Trojan work at midfield especially in the second half while Liam Rocket was also immense when the pressure was on. All the forwards managed to get on the scoresheet in what was a truly team performance.Bunclody also contributed to a great contest and one had to admire the dignified manner in which they accepted a tough defeat – applauding Craig Parker as he received the cup from the county chairman Bobby Goff.
Team: Adam Howlin, Mark Power, Kevin Harte, James Doyle,  Craig Parker (Captain), Aaron O’Neill, Nathan Ferguson Murphy, Conor Hearne, Sean Keane Carroll, Chris Cowman, Liam Rocket, Michael O’Rourke, Dan Campbell, Ross Banville, Kyle Roche, Jamie Larkin Furlong, Niall Hearne, Cillian Tobin, Adam Hearne, Mossey Scallan, Aaron Doyle, Mark Doyle, Tiernan Neville.