Conor shines for Shels
A dymanic display of point-taking from Conor Byrne inspired Shelmaliers to a thoroughly-deserved six-point victory over a battling Rapparees outfit in this Enniscorthy Electrical Wholesale Junior hurling championship Group A game in Monageer.
Shelmaliers 1-19 Rapparees 2-10
Byrne's contribution of nine points, six from frees, not only gave his side a third win ahead of their quarter-final tie, but it also saw them lift the All-County League Division 4 title as the doubled up as the decider.
Following on from a bright start after Joe Cullen pointed the Cathedral town side in front, Shels corner-forward Jody Donohoe took full advantage of a breaking ball close to goal to boot it over the line after just two minutes.
Both sides were enjoying open passages of play, with Barry Nolan pointing a free before Tom Ryan moved in on goal to kick a goal, leaving the Rapps leading by 1-2 to 1-0 after five minutes.
With the sides continuing to trade points, substitute Dayle Donohoe - just minutes on the pitch - goaled from an acute angle after 19 minutes, a score that helped the town side to a 2-6 to 1-7 interval lead.
Ahead by just those two points at half-time and having to face into a stiff breeze, the Rapps opened the second period impressively, adding quick-fire points through Anthony Peare and John Barron.
After Glen Malone and Barry Nolan exchanged points, two superb Jody Donohoe points kept the Shels in contention. Trailing by 2-10 to 1-11 at the three-quarter stage, five Byrne long-range points, four from frees, and three of which were from over the 80-metre mark, pushed the eventual winners in front by 1-16 to 2-10 with eight minutes remaining.
They increased that advantage through two Tommy Barron points and a further Byrne effort in between to run out impressive winners in the end.
Shelmaliers: Paul McCleane; Eoghan Fitzgerald, Denis Kelly, Eoin O'Leary; Barry O'Connor, Alan Griffith, Cian Manley; Ciarán Walsh, Glen Malone (0-1); Conor Hearne, Tommy Barron (0-4), Emmet O'Leary; Stephen Whelan, Conor Byrne (0-9, 6 frees), Jody Donohoe (1-4). Subs. - Graham Staples for Manley, Craig Parker for Kelly, Johnny Campbell (0-1) for Whelan.
Rapparees: Gary Murphy; Patrick O'Shea (0-1), John Ryan, John Barron (0-1); Brendan Kearney, Ed Tobin, Dillon Redmond; Tommy Foley (0-1), Caolan Carty; Lee Murphy, Joe Cullen (0-2), Barry Nolan (0-3, 1 free, 1 '65); Stephen Donnelly (0-1), Tom Ryan (1-0), Anthony Peare (0-1). Subs. - Dayle Donohoe (1-0) for Donnelly, Jason Russell for Peare, Seánie O'Gorman for Murphy.
Referee: Paul Browne (Clonee).