Hearne hits heights as Shels reach final
All-county hurling league semi-finals
Free-scoring Shelmaliers turned in a very impressive display to see off this Taghmon-Camross challenge in an excellent All-County Hurling League Division 4 semi-final in Taghmon on Sunday.
Shelmaliers 2-18 Taghmon-C'ross 3-11
Fielding quite a young side, the Over The Water outfit played fluent hurling, and with Conor Hearne punishing every indiscretion in the home defence with supreme accuracy, they were always the more likely to win.
Taghmon-Camross desperately needed some inspiration, but they were not helped with the straight red card given to centre-back Alan Nolan at the three-quarter stage, with referee David Jenkins consulting with his umpires following an off the ball incident.
Taghmon-Camross had a bright enough start with Luke Sinnott pointing a third-minute free, while one minute later Barry O'Gorman found the net following good approach play. A further Sinnott pointed free had them leading by 1-2 to nil after just five minutes.
Once Páraic O'Leary opened the Shels account with a long-range point, the free-scoring Hearne took over and sent over a string of points from a variety of angles.
After 19 minutes the home side managed to stem the tide with a Stephen O'Gorman goal, leaving it 2-3 to 0-8, but the Shels responded with points to go in leading by 0-13 to 2-6 at the interval.
Within one minute of the re-start a Luke Sinnott pointed free had the sides level, but two quick-fire Conor Hearne points, from a free and '65, restored the Shels' one-point advantage (0-15 to 2-7).
Then came the Nolan dismissal, with the Shels utilising their numerical advantage in attack which led to excellent goals from Michael Feeney and Jody Donohoe, giving them an eight-point advantage (2-16 to 2-8) to take into the closing nine minutes.
With Taghmon-Camross storming into the attack in the closing minutes, a Stephen O'Gorman point followed by a cracking goal from an Ian Carty 30-metre free reduced the deficit, but the clock ran down as the Shels held out for an impressive and deserved victory.
Shelmaliers: Paul McCleane; Eoghan Fitzgerald, Denis Kelly, Eoin O'Leary; Barry O'Connor (0-1), Alan Griffith, Aaron Murphy; Glen Malone, Ciarán Walsh (0-1); Conor Hearne (0-13, 10 frees, 3 '65s), Páraic O'Leary (0-2), Michael Feeney (1-0); Jody Donohoe (1-1), Darren Malone, John Campbell. Subs. - Emmet O'Leary for Campbell, Stephen Whelan for E. O'Leary, inj.
Taghmon-Camross: Jack Dunne; Mark O'Gorman, Jack Murphy, James Carroll; Conor O'Keeffe, Alan Nolan, Matthew Doyle; David Bridges, Pat Nolan; Darren Carty, Barry O'Gorman (1-2), Richard Stafford; T.J. Codd, Stephen O'Gorman (1-1), Luke Sinnott (0-7 frees). Subs. - Ian Carty (1-1, 1-0 free) for Codd, Páuric O'Gorman for Stafford, Seán O'Gorman for Dunne, Adam Winters for Carroll, Johnny Waters for Sinnott.
Referee: David Jenkins (Gusserane).