Fiachra's on fire
Oylegate-Glenbrien 1-10 Shelmaliers 1-4
Three unanswered points from Fiachra Hourihane proved to be crucial in allowing Oylegate-Glenbrien to pull away from Shelmaliers in the final ten minutes of this Greenstar Under-21 football Premier championship preliminary round tie in Oylegate on Sunday.
After going in at break trailing by five points, a powerful third quarter saw the home side go ahead by two, with Shelmaliers beginning to unravel after looking like the stronger side early on.
It was all to play for at this stage, but three sweetly-taken points from Hourihane were ultimately the difference between the sides.
There was very little for spectators to get excited about in the early stages, as the greasy conditions didn't allow either side to showcase what they were truly capable of.
But the visitors were coping much better, with county player Glen Malone in commanding form in midfield.
He helped his side to a two-point lead midway through the half, with help from Conor Hearne and an excellent effort Chris Cowman, after Pa Cullen had opened the scoring for the home side.
The Over The Water men were then given a great boost after the lively Liam Rockett's attempt at a point fell short and into the net, giving his side a three-point lead at half-time.
Oylegate-Glenbrien needed to get the new half off to a good start, and they did just that after some great work from Ciarán O'Brien, Barry Dunne, and Fiachra and Ciarán Hourihane, getting themselves back to within a point.
And, after some tireless work from Shane Reck, they were in front as the lively midfielder ran half the length of the pitch to round Aodhán Foley and hit an empty net, giving Oylegate-Glenbrien a two-point lead.
Shelmaliers needed a strong reply, and they got that thanks to a mighty kick from Conor Hearne, with the game going into the final ten minutes and everything to play for.
At this point, up stepped Hourihane to calmly slot over three well-taken scores, giving the boys in blue a win in their first-ever outing in the Premier grade of Under-21 football.
Oylegate-Glenbrien: Eddie Mernagh; Mike Kelly, Kieran Lambert, Niall Parker; Conor Hill, Damien Reck, Ciarán Hourihane (0-1); Pa Cullen (0-1), Shane Reck (1-1); Conor Doyle, Seamus Casey (0-1 free), Ciarán O'Brien (0-1); Barry Dunne (0-1), Fiachra Hourihane (0-4), Pierce Murphy. Subs. - Jack Reck for Murphy, Lee Kehoe for Hill, Eoghan Herlihy for O'Brien.
Shelmaliers: Aodhán Foley; Paul McCleane, Cian Manley, Enda Cloake; Craig Parker, Dan Campbell, Stephen Rossiter; Glen Malone (0-1), Seán Keane-Carroll; Liam Rockett (1-0), Lar Stout, Conor Hearne (0-2); Shane Neville, Chris Cowman (0-1), Michael Feeney. Subs. - Mark Power for Stout, Kyle Roche for Neville, Adam Hearne for McCleane, Ross Banville for Parker.
Referee: John Carton (Monageer-Boolavogue).