Shels see off Starlights after extra-time
Shelmaliers came back from a five-point deficit with just ten minutes to play to edge past Starlights after extra-time and into the Tom Doyle Supplies Senior football championship semi-finals at Innovate Wexford Park on Saturday.
Shelmaliers 1-19 Starlights 2-14 (AET)
The Over The Water side looked to be heading out when Tommy Foley nailed a stunning point from an acute angle on the right of goal to make the score 2-10 to 0-11 in the 47th minute. However, his side wouldn't score again until extra-time as Shelmaliers bossed the last quarter and eventually got their just desserts.
The last stretch didn't come easy. Starlights sat in, hoping that a wall of jerseys would keep the Hollymount side at bay. The wind that aided the victors in the first-half had all-but deserted the Stars as time ran out and just the nullification of that one unfavourable component helped Shelmaliers enormously.
A.J. Lehane nailed a free and Stephen Banville pointed to cut the deficit to three, but a goal remained between the teams until Craig McCabe pointed with six seconds of normal time remaining. Another McCabe dead ball followed and the inevitable equaliser came a minute and a half into overtime through Eoghan Nolan (0-16 to 2-10).
With all the momentum, it felt like there would be only one winner at that stage. Shels' first point of extra-time, from Glen Malone, was cancelled out by Ricky Fox but that was soon followed by McCabe and Brian Malone minors before Nolan won a penalty that the former converted.
Leading by 1-19 to 2-11, the Wexford District side failed to score after the interval in extra-time as Fox (two) and Ryan Mahon narrowed the deficit to two. However, a few decent chances came and went for Starlights in the couple of minutes that remained and they slumped out for another year.
It didn't look like Bellefield boys would even get that far as they went from 0-3 to 0-1 ahead, following a brace from Liam Ryan, to 0-9 to 0-4 behind at the interval. Yet, things changed dramatically early in the second-half as Starlights took the lead just 205 seconds after the re-start.
Anto Russell prodded home Jason Russell's knockdown from Ryan Mahon's short free to begin the revival, and points from James Carty (two) and Conor Farrell completed the turnaround. However, Carty's black card moments after the lead score would ultimately hurt Starlights.
The Enniscorthy town club did move 2-8 to 0-11 ahead when Tommy Foley found the net from Farrell's pass, and later increased that advantage to 2-10 to 0-11, but it was Shelmaliers who eventually won through to a place in the semi-finals.
Shelmaliers: Graham Lawler; Andre O'Brien, Eoin Doyle, Ciarán O'Shaughnessy; Páraic O'Leary, Tommy Barron, Simon Donohoe (capt., 0-1); Aidan Cash, Brian Malone (0-1); A.J. Lehane (0-5, 4 frees), Brian Doyle, Glen Malone (0-3); Aidan Murphy (0-2), Eoghan Nolan (0-2), Derek Walsh (0-1). Subs. - Aaron Murphy for Barron (35), Stephen Banville (0-1) for Walsh (41), Craig McCabe (1-3, 1-0 pen., 0-2 frees, 0-1 '45) for B. Doyle (50), Graham Staples for Lehane (54), Cian Manley for Aaron Murphy, black card (74).
Starlights: Pa Doyle; Patrick O'Shea, Kevin Courtney, Anthony Roche; Dillon Redmond, Tom Wall, Jack Kelly; Liam Ryan (0-3), James Carty (0-2); Alan Tobin, Jason Russell (capt.), Anto Russell (1-0); Ryan Mahon (0-2 frees), Kevin Foley, Tommy Foley (1-2). Subs. - Ricky Fox (0-3, 2 '45s) for Tobin (21), Conor Farrell (0-1) for K. Foley (31), Tomás Mahon (0-1) for Carty, black card (36), Mick O'Toole for Doyle, inj. (54), Lee Murphy for T. Foley (59), Rory O'Connor for O'Shea (71).
Referee: Seán Whelan (St. Martin's).