The Blues are back
Oylegate-Glenbrien 2-16 Shelmaliers 1-11
Oylegate-Glenbrien marked their return to top flight hurling with a most impressive eight-point victory over Shelmaliers in this Pettitt's Senior championship Group A game in Innovate Wexford Park on Sunday.
The boys in blue went into this tie probably unsure of what lay ahead.
However, their heroics, typified by the excellent contribution of so many players, particularly young find, Damien Reck, who turned in a magnificent 60 minutes, eventually saw them wear down the Shelmaliers challenge.
They finished out the game with 1-4 in the final quarter, with their opponents just managing one score, a Conor Byrne pointed free, during this spell.
The game was still very much in the melting pot entering the final quarter, with just two points separating the sides (1-12 to 1-10), but in the end ithe superior appetite and hurling power of the eventual winners steered them through to an historic victory, marking their return to Senior ranks in fine fashion.
The match tempo could only be found in a battle between close neighbours.
This was evident right through the opening 30 minutes when it was impossible to separate the sides as the battle was being fought out with championship ferocity.
Seamus Casey marked his side's return with the two opening points, one from a free, inside the opening three minutes, but at the opposite end young Conor Hearne was finding the range for his side.
As a result, they were still deadlocked on 0-6 each at the end of the opening quarter.
After a Shane Reck 22nd-minute point had edged his side back in front, the Shels responded with a rather fortuitous goal, with a Conor Hearne 40-metre free finding its way through a packed goalmouth to the net, leaving his side leading by 1-6 to 0-7.
At the opposite end Jim White had a shot cleared off the line by Andre O'Brien, with While and Podge Doran returning with points to put the sides on level terms (0-9 to 1-6) at the interval.
On the resumption, Seamus Casey pointed his side back in front from a free, but Conor Hearne failed to punish indiscretions at the other end, pulling two frees wide, while a further Casey free extended his side's lead to 0-11 to 1-6.
The Shels introduced substitute Conor Byrne who assumed the free-taking mantle, pointing on his introduction. With the sides trading points they were level (0-12 to 1-9) at the end of the third quarter.
Entering the final quarter, Oylegate-Glenbrien got the crucial breakthrough when the combined play of Damien Reck and Podge Doran set Jim White up for a goal.
With the game entering the closing five minutes the boys in blue were still clinging to a three-point lead (1-14 to 1-11), but then White struck for his second goal, while Casey rounded off the action with two points, one from a free, to give them a dramatic and well-deserved eight-point victory.
Oylegate-Glenbrien: John Foley; Robert O'Connor, Michael Heffernan, Fergus Heffernan; Bryan McCormack, Damien Reck (0-1 free), Anthony Doyle; Shane Reck (0-1), Mike Kelly; Conor Heffernan, Jamie Reck (0-1), Podge Doran (0-2); Seamus Casey (0-10, 8 frees), Jim White (2-1), Barry Dunne. Subs. - John McCormack for Dunne (42), Conor Doyle for C. Heffernan (50), Fergal Doran for Kelly (53).
Shelmaliers: Brian Murphy; Ciarán Walsh, Conor Walsh, Andre O'Brien; Simon Donohoe, Aidan Cash, Benny Barron; Ciarán O'Shaughnessy, Aaron Murphy (0-1); Conor Hearne (1-5, 1-2 frees), Brian Malone, Glen Malone; Eoghan Nolan, Stephen Banville, James Cash (0-1). Subs. - Jody Donohoe for Banville (HT), Conor Byrne (0-4 frees) for G. Malone (38), Páraic O'Leary for B. Malone (45).
Referee: Barry Redmond (Clonard).