Lehane grabs last-gasp win

Shelmaliers 2-10 Castletown 1-10

Brendan Furlong

Danny Dixon of Castletown is challenged by Barry O'Connor (Shelmaliers) during Saturday's final
Danny Dixon of Castletown is challenged by Barry O'Connor (Shelmaliers) during Saturday's final
The victorious Shelmaliers squad

For a period it looked as if this game was destined for extra-time, but two minutes into additional time substitute A.J. Lehane struck for the crucial goal to give Shelmaliers a three-point victory over Castletown in this exciting Enniscorthy Electrical Wholesale and Plumbing All-County Football League Division 4 final in St. Patrick's Park, Enniscorthy, on Saturday.

Both sides looked as if they had enhanced their chances of victory in a dramatic closing ten minutes. Castletown had led by one point as the game entered the closing stages, but with the winning of the game in sight the Shels hit back for a levelling Craig Parker point from a 45-metre free at the end of normal time.

When it looked as if this would be the last score of the game, leading to extra-time, the Shels managed to mount one final attack two minutes into additional time.

Having won midfield possession, they launched one final move as the ball travelled through several hands. Eventually Craig McCabe moved the ball quickly into the path of his new Wexford F.C. team-mate Lehane who, finding himself in space and clear on goal, finished with a rising shot to the roof of the net, giving his side a dramatic late winning goal.

In the first-half the Shels looked the more positive side, particularly up front, with Derek Walsh, Craig McCabe, Barry O'Connor, Conor Walsh, Eoin O'Leary and Craig Parker all finding the target to leave their side with a 0-7 to 0-2 interval lead.

The Castletown points came through an opening effort from a Robbie Brooks free on seven minutes and Liam Condren one minute later, to give them a 0-2 to nil lead.

Both sides contributed to an excellent second 30minutes. After Derek Walsh increased his team's lead within two minutes of the re-start, the Shels were reduced to 14 players four minutes later when, following a melee, James Cash received a straight red card.

Castletown with numerical advantage began to reduce the deficit through points from Brooks, James Holmes, Stephen Maloney and Kevin Morris, leaving the minimum (0-9 to 0-8) separating the sides with ten minutes remaining.

Then eight minutes from the end, Brooks cut through the defence to finish to the net with a splendid shot from 14 metres, giving his side a 1-8 to 0-9 lead.

Eoin O'Leary got his side's first goal when he finished a Lehane cross to the net, but points from Anthony Masterson and James Holmes edged Castletown into a 1-10 to 1-9 lead entering the final minute.

Then came that dramatic finish, with a Parker levelling pointed free before Lehane's dramatic late winning goal.

Shelmaliers: Aodhán Foley; Cian Manley, James Cash, Eoghan Fitzgerald; Dan Campbell, Conor Walsh (0-1), Craig Parker (0-3 frees); Eoin O'Leary (1-2), Brian Murphy; Chris Gordon, Barry O'Connor (0-1), Brian O'Connor; Derek Walsh (0-2, 1 free), Kevin O'Leary, Craig McCabe (0-1). Subs. - Jody Donohoe for Brian O'Connor, A.J. Lehane (1-0) for Barry O'Connor, Liam Rockett for Gordon, Cathal Gaule for Fitzgerald.

Castletown: James Flood; David Deering, Conor Cleary, Paul Nugent; Marc Halpin, Risteárd Kinsella, Danny Dixon; Jimmy Fogarty, Stephen Maloney (0-2); Aaron Condren, Kevin Morris (0-1), Liam Condren (0-1); James Holmes (0-2), Robbie Brooks (1-3, 0-2 frees), Seán Roche. Subs. - Anthony Masterson (0-1) for Fogarty, Colm Morris for A. Condren, Shane Halpin for L. Condren, George Sunderland for Cleary, Stephen Gardiner for Roche.

Referee: Jack Stafford (Clongeen).

Wexford People