In lovely sunshine on the most favourable day weather-wise over the last few weeks, Shels (holders) faced Bunclody in what proved to be a fairly one sided affair at Oylgate.
Brian Doyle opened Shels account within the first few minutes but Bunclody were awarded a penalty a minute later which was dealt with superbly by Conor O’Neill only to see the No. 11 score off the rebound. Joe Kelly replied with a sweet touch over the bar and Shane O’Connor made an accurate pass to Niall Stafford whose resulting shot on goal was just millimetres wide. Shels had another shot on goal which the keeper saved before Aaron Watters pointed. Alan Rossiter then had a good shot on goal which barely went wide.
Bunclody trying hard at this stage made a few attacks on the Shels back line but Conor Byrne had several good interventions to ward off any real danger whilst Aidan Cash got his boot to the ball to save the Shels on another occasion. Brian Tobin was having a stormer and was never found wanting and was surely in with a shout at the man of the match title. He cleaned up at the back with his indomitable style and cleared all balls down the field with accuracy and speed.
With 20 minutes gone, Brian Doyle, Conor Ryan and Joe Kelly combined to send in a marvellous pass to Shane O’Connor who took his chance and put the ball in the back of the net. This was first time Shels were ahead in the half.
It seemed to spur on the lads, James Gordon won possession and he combined with Alan Rossiter and Niall Stafford with Kevin O’Leary putting the final touches to the goal in style. Shane Murphy working hard at corner forward sent in a lovely ball to Niall Stafford who pointed. Then Bunclody pointed in 27th minute and a minute later took full advantage of confusion in the square and blasted the back of the net. Joe Kelly(also a man of the match candidate) responded with a point to leave the half time score at 2-5 to 2-1.
Shels started very strong in the 2nd half and Alan Rossiter passing to Joe Kelly resulted in another goal for Shels, Shane Murphy added a point before Aaron Watters running the length of the field, goaled. Joe Kelly pointed from the resulting puck out.
Bunclody still trying to get back in the game had a shot on goal which hit the post, the loose ball was dealt with by Brian O’Connor who was having a great game at Centre Back. Shels scored two more points courtesy of Alan Rossiter and Brian Doyle before Bunclody scored what was to be their only point of the second half. Alan Rossiter replied with 2 more points before Brian Tobin was called on to make a save on goal again. Joe Kelly and Shane O’Connor finished with a point each to leave the final score at 4-13 to 2-2.
Captain Joe Kelly received the Jim Byrne Cup whilst Shane O’Connor received the man of the match award.
The team were very strong on the day and amongst those to shine were Brian Tobin, Joe Kelly, Shane O’Connor and Aaron Watters.
Team Conor O’Neill, Brian Tobin Conor Byrne Aidan Cash, Conor Ryan, Brian O’Connor, James Gordon, Brian Doyle(0-2 ),Aaron Watters (1-1),Shane O’Connor(1-1), Joe Kelly(1-4), Kevin O’Leary(1-0), Alan Rossiter(0-3), Niall Stafford(0-1), Shane Murphy(0-1).
Subs used: Stephen Corrigan, Chris Wall, Feargal Hynes, Liam Donnelly and Brian Murphy.
Panel members. Jimmer Doyle, Stuart Leacy, Noel Mythen, Shane Griffith, Ronan Kavanagh, Darragh Cloake, David Kennedy, Sean Walsh, Brendan Fitzgerald, Chris Kehoe, Craig McCabe, Glen Murphy, and Benny Barron who was out due to injury. We wish him a speedy recovery.