Substitute Dwyer points the way
Fethard 1-14 Shelmaliers 2-7
Shelmaliers were left to think about what might have been after their depleted side went down to a four-point defeat to a battling Fethard outfit in this entertaining Top Oil Intermediate 'A' hurling championship Group B game in Taghmon.
The Shels, having lost some key players to their Senior side earlier in the day, were still prepared for battle as they matched their opponents for lengthy periods, but the introduction of second-half substitute Mikie Dwyer inspired Fethard to a late scoring surge and an important victory.
The young attacker figured prominently and eventually emerged with three crucial points to his credit in a game that was finely balanced right to the end.
Former Senior player Joe Kelly was out to impress, hitting two pointed frees in the opening minutes, but an Eddie Power goal left Fethard leading by 1-3 to 0-2 after eleven minutes.
With Kelly and Mark Wallace trading scores, before the Shels attacker closed out the half with three points, two from frees, Fethard still led by 1-5 to 0-7 at the interval.
Mark Wallace extended his side's lead with a pointed free within one minute of the re-start, but three minutes later Joe Kelly found the net from close range, giving his side a 1-7 to 1-6 lead.
Mark Wallace grabbed two points, one from a free, to restore his side's minimum lead, but Dwyer fired over some excellent points to push Fethard into a 1-12 to 1-7 lead with seven minutes remaining.
Six minutes from the end, Kelly pounced on a loose ball close to goal to rifle a ground shot to the net (1-12 to 2-7), but Dwyer and Eddie Power points closed out the scoring.
Fethard: Seán Foley; Mick Roche, Rúairí Tubrid, Danny Mullan; Kevin Rowe, Garrett Foley (0-1), John Tubritt; Graham O'Grady, Mark Wallace (0-6, 3 frees); Brian Donohoe (0-1), Eddie Power (1-2), Ciarán Dwyer; Jimmy Sutton, Daire Barden (0-1), Seán Donohoe. Subs. - Mikie Dwyer (0-3) for Sutton, Richard Waters for S. Donohoe.
Shelmaliers: Adam Howlin; Eoghan Fitzgerald, Kevin O'Leary, Barry O'Connor; Eoin O'Leary, James Gordon, Shane Griffith; Denis Kelly, Graham Staples; Emmet O'Leary, Joe Kelly (2-6, 0-3 frees), Liam Rockett (0-1); Craig Parker, Tommy Barron, Ronan Kavanagh. Subs. - Cian Manley for Gordon, Shane Birney for Kavanagh, Stephen Whelan for Parker.
Referee: Philip Murphy (Faythe Harriers).