Shamrocks seal last qualifying spot at expense of Alley
Shamrocks claimed the all-important victory in their winner-takes-all Enniscorthy Farm Systems Junior football championship Group A clash with Buffers Alley in Monageer on Friday.
Shamrocks 2-14 Buffers Alley 1-11
The sides went into the game level on two points each and knew that whoever came out on top would finish in fourth place and book a clash with one of the championship favourites, Rathgarogue-Cushinstown, in the quarter-final.
And the Enniscorthy town side did just that courtesy, in no small part, to a very strong performance with the breeze in the first 30 minutes. In that opening half, Shamrocks racked up 2-9 to their opponents' 0-5, leaving the Monamolin club with too much to do thereafter.
The goals, coming in the 28th and 30th minutes, were absolutely vital to their success. Shamrocks opened up a 0-7 to nil lead in the first 16 minutes, an advantage that had slipped to six with three minutes left in the half.
Maurice Casey flashed home the first major from close range after a feed from Emmet Quirke, and roles were reversed two minutes later when the powerful midfielder bludgeoned a finish past a helpless John Furlong from point-blank range.
The Alley didn't quit and set about dragging themselves into the tie after half-time. They pulled within touching distance (2-10 to 1-7) when Páuric Roche's blistering shot flew into Thomas O'Brien's net in the 41st minute.
Six points proved as close as the Gorey District side would get as Shamrocks kept them at arm's length for the final quarter. While the victors advance to the quarters, Buffers Alley's season is now over with a fifth place finish.
Shamrocks: Thomas O'Brien; Podge Dwyer, Mick Weafer, Ricky Murphy; Shane Larkin, Anthony Wallace, Karl Cullen (capt.); Emmet Quirke (1-3, 0-2 frees), John Kavanagh; Barry Dobbs (0-1), Seán Wildes (0-1), Ronan Gahan; Jack Moorehouse (0-2), Robert Moorehouse (0-3, 1 free), Maurice Casey (1-4). Subs. - Philip Freeman for Dwyer (40), Podge Doyle for Gahan (46), Aaron O'Toole for J. Moorehouse (53), Brandon O'Connor for Kavanagh (53), Pa Weafer for R. Moorehouse (57).
Buffers Alley: John Furlong; Gearóid O'Connor, Alan Doyle, Ciarán Murphy (0-1); Robert O'Leary, Seán Og Whelan (capt.), Conor Kenny; Domhnall McArdle, Paul O'Leary; Páuric Roche (1-0), John Farrell (0-3, 2 frees, 1 '45), Paul Doyle (0-2); Edward Doyle (0-1), Keith Burke (0-1), Kevin Roche (0-2). Sub. - John Moran (0-1) for Kenny, inj. (49).
Referee: Paul Browne (Clonee).