Kelly has last word
Alley and Shels to meet again
Buffers Alley and Shelmaliers could not be separated after over 80 minutes of a feisty All-County Hurling League Division 1 semi-final clash at Monamolin on Saturday, with Joe Kelly's free with the last puck securing a deserved draw for the Wexford District side.
Buffers Alley 3-14 Shelmaliers 2-17 (AET)
Though both teams were missing a handful of regulars, this was a full-blooded contest acting as a warm-up for their championship group final two rounds.
Shelmaliers were the brighter team in the early exchanges, opening up a 7-2 lead, all bar one of which came from the stick of lively number eleven Joe Kelly. The home team finally got motoring as the half drew to a close. Andrew Kenny suddenly sprang to life and he helped reduce the interval deficit to 0-8 to 0-5.
Kenny added an early second-half point and then his rasper was saved, only for Robert O'Leary to dispatch the rebound past Brian Murphy in the Shelmaliers goal in the 34th minute.
Five minutes later a long-range free from Conor 'Bomber' Byrne went all the way to the Alley net off the fingertips of the unfortunate Ciarán Kenny. A scrappy period of over 18 minutes without a score from open play by either team was ended when James Cash popped over a nice point in the 52nd minute.
Within seconds of the puck-out Andrew Kenny delighted the vocal home following when he made little of a couple of heavy hits before placing a low finish to the opposite corner of the Shelmaliers net to level matters (2-8 to 1-11). Both teams added a pointed free each, with Conor Byrne's last-gasp effort ensuring that extra-time was required.
Buffers Alley's over-reliance on Kenny in attack was demonstrated when he sent over three well-taken points within the first four minutes of extra-time. However, Shelmaliers responded with a well-worked goal when Joe Kelly finished with aplomb to quickly regain the lead for his team which they held after the first period (2-14 to 2-13).
Along with Kelly, Conor Byrne also gave the Alley defence plenty of problems throughout, bringing his personal tally to 1-6 with another point from play. When Kelly put them two clear in the second-last minute of extra-time they looked to have secured their place in the league final.
However, Buffers Alley almost nicked the victory when the excellent Andrew Kenny flicked brilliantly to the net from a dangerous sideline cut delivery, but in the third minute of stoppage time Kelly's converted free secured a replay.
Buffers Alley: Oliver O'Leary; Barry Kenny, Willie Doran, Seán Murphy; Paudie Reidy, Ciarán Kenny, John Farrell; Pat Kenny, Bobby Kenny; Kevin Roche, Andrew Kenny (2-7, 0-2 frees), Tomás O'Leary (0-4, 2 frees); Paul O'Leary (0-1), Keith Burke (0-2 frees), Robert O'Leary (1-0). Subs. - Ross Donohoe for Burke, Conor Kenny for Farrell, Páraic Roche for R. O'Leary, Ciarán Murphy for P. O'Leary, John Lee Meyler for K. Roche.
Shelmaliers: Brian Murphy; Eoghan Fitzgerald, Aidan Cash, Andre O'Brien; Ciarán Walsh, James Gordon, Glen Malone; Arnie Murphy, Brian Doyle; Páraic O'Leary, Joe Kelly (1-10, 0-6 frees), Emmet O'Leary; James Cash (0-1), Ciarán O'Shaughnessy, Conor Byrne (1-6, 1-1 frees). Subs. - Conor Hearne for Fitzgerald, Jody Donohoe for E. O'Leary.
Referee: James Flood (St. Mary's, Maudlintown).