Shelmalier Senior hurlers met Buffers Alley for the second time this year, this time in the All County hurling league final in Patrick’s Park.
Shels, playing with a slight wind got off to a good start with a Joe Kelly point. However Buffers Alley were awarded a penalty inside the first 2 minutes of the game. Much to the Shels delight, net minder Brian Murphy pulled off a fantastic save and denied the Alley. Eoin Doyle pointed after a long run up the field and Conor Byrne pointed from a free. Shels were flying and further points came from Conor Byrne, Ciaran O’Shaughnessy and Stephen Banville, before Buffers Alley got on the board with their first score in the 13th minute. 06- to -01. The Alley converted a free then before Shels free taker Conor Byrne also converted for Shels. At this stage Buffers Alley seemed to move up a gear and hit 1-2 in the next ten minutes to level the sides. 07- to 1-4. Shels seemed not to be fazed and kept their shape well and the on form Conor Byrne pointed from a placed ball and then blasted to the back of the net from a 21 yd free, whilst John Redmond also got on the scoreboard. Buffers Alley and Shels both converted frees just on half time to leave the score at the break 1-10 to 1-05 in favour of Shels.
On the resumption, the accurate Conor Byrne added a point from a free but Buffers Alley trying hard, added 3 points to their tally. There were now just 3 between the sides and no quarter was being given by either side. Shels were not fading and had the bit between their teeth. Joe Kelly stemmed the flow after great work by the blistering Eoin Doyle. Defence was being manned effectively with Feargal Hynes getting in a crucial block. Soon after goalie Brian Murphy did well to deal with a dangerous ball. Clive Lawler and Aidan Murphy were mopping up in defence. However, Buffers Alley did well to breach our tight defence and they goaled at the end of the first quarter. Centre forward Ciaran O’Shaughnessy replied with a point and Conor Byrne pointed 3 free’s in a row with Buffers Alley adding a minor in this period. Buffers Alley had a man dismissed then for a second yellow card infringement. The scores at this stage were 1-16 to 2-9 in favour of the over the water men. The Alley had a late shot on goal excellently saved by Brian Murphy and they pointed the resulting ’65 to leave the final score 1-16 to 2-10 leaving Shels victors of the All county hurling league.
On the day it was another great team performance with veteran and captain Chris McGrath leading by example, also Eoin Doyle, Ciaran O’Shaughnessy, Benny Barron, Stephen Banville and Clive Lawler.
Team: Brian Murphy, Brian Malone, Aidan Murphy, Feargal Hynes, Conor Walsh, Clive Lawler-Ryan, Eoin Doyle (0-1), John Redmond, Benny Barron, Ciaran O’Shaughnessy (0-2), Joe Kelly (0-2), Conor Byrne (1-9, 1-8F), Stephen Banville (0-1), Chris McGrath (Capt). Sub introduced: Ronan Kavanagh.
Management: Vinny Parker, Mick Kelly, Ibar (Hurler) Murphy. Physio Donal O’Connor.