Gusserane dethrone Shels
Dominic Smith Electrical Senior Football Quarter-finals: Gusserane 2-18 Shelmaliers 1-19
The 2018 Senior football victors are out, but this was all about Gusserane as the men in dark blue advanced to the semi-finals of the Dominic Smith Electrical-sponsored championship in Innovate Wexford Park on Sunday.
What are Gusserane, who are they? Are they this team, the one that outplayed Shelmaliers and thoroughly deserved their last four spot, and the same side that finished the group stages with a fantastic victory over St. Martin's to ensure they advanced.
Or are they the side that looked totally dishevelled against Sarsfields, collapsing to an eight-point defeat, the only victory for the Wexford town side in the championship. The hunch is always to go with 'what have you done lately', and if that's the case Gusserane are now realistic contenders.
The thing that Gusserane must remember going forward is that anything less than full bore, one hundred per cent effort is not going to get it done.
They showed in this contest that they have the attacking weapons to do damage.
The Shelmaliers defence was dragged all over the place by Adrian Flynn, and by Seán Ryan, but most of all by the immense Mark Rossiter.
Just look at the scoring list, as five of Gusserane's starting forward sscored multiple times, and they averaged almost four scores each from play.
The Wexford District side probably didn't expect their title defence to end so soon. But this was no hard luck story, it was close but they were second best and the scoreboard doesn't lie in this instance.
Things actually looked pretty good as they built a lead with the breeze in the opening ten minutes.
They had five different scorers on the board when Brian Malone drove through the heart of the Gusserane defence, and fed Eoin Doyle who drilled past Micheál Ryan.
At 1-5 to 0-2 ahead, Shelmaliers were going along as expected. However, the next few minutes set alarm bells ringing about their prospects.
Against the breeze, Gusserane started to pick holes, and Rossiter kicked a couple of points among four to close the gap to two.
Glen Malone momentalty stalled that Gusserane momentum, but not for long. It was 1-6 to 0-8 when John Roche fed Páraic Conway who released Rossiter, and the county youngster made no mistake with the looping palmed finish.
They went in 1-10 to 1-8 ahead at the interval, although it could have been better, as Flynn intercepted an Adam Howlin kick-out in added time, and combined with Seán Ryan to release Sam Wall but he flashed over the crossbar.
It felt like Gusserane had made their statement in the first-half, and now it was time to follow it up with a gritty second period. Critically, Shelmaliers chipped away throughout the 37 minutes but never got on level terms.
A big part of that was Gusserane's second goal, in the 35th minute. Flynn and Ryan combined again to set Rossiter free, and he could have taken the easy point but his bravery was rewarded with a cracking finish past Howlin.
When Páraic O'Leary knocked over in the 45th minute, Shelmaliers pulled within a point (2-12 to 1-14). There was still one between the teams until Gusserane had the burst that won them the contest in the 50th minute.
Conway got the first, and it was quickly followed by a Ryan point. And when Shane Cullen intercepted the resulting kick-out and narrowly lifted his shot over the bar, Gusserane led by 2-16 to 1-15.
Both sides finished with 14 men, with Fintan Ryan and Andre O'Brien sent-off in different incidents.
Shelmaliers kept battling away but they needed a second goal, and Gusserane were never going to give it up.
The New Ross District side will fancy their chances in the semi-final, whereas Glynn-Barntown will be looking to avenge their 2016 defeat in the decider.
Gusserane: Micheál Ryan; Gavin Sheehan, Jack Burford, Jack O'Connor; Adrian Redmond, Mark O'Neill, Graeme Cullen (capt.); John Roche (0-1), Cillian Kehoe; Kenneth Cahill, Mark Rossiter (2-3), Páraic Conway (0-4); Adrian Flynn (0-2), Sam Wall (0-3), Seán Ryan (0-4). Subs. - Shane Cullen (0-1) for Redmond (44), Fintan Ryan for K. Cahill (55), Shane Flynn for Kehoe (56), Eoin Ryan for Rossiter, black card (60+4).
Shelmaliers: Adam Howlin; Dan Campbell, James Cash (0-1), Andre O'Brien; Simon Donohoe (0-2, 1 free), Brian Malone, Aaron Murphy; Glen Malone (0-6, 3 frees), Eoghan Nolan (0-2 frees); Tiarnan Neville (0-1), Eoin Doyle (1-1), Seán Keane-Carroll (0-1); Páraic O'Leary (0-2), Craig McCabe, Jody Donohoe (0-2). Subs. - Conor Hearne (0-1) for Neville (27), Graham Staples for McCabe (40), A.J. Lehane for S. Donohoe (50), Ross Banville for Keane-Carroll (55), Donohoe for A. Murphy (59).
Referee: Kevin Carty (Sarsfields).