Tuesday 20 August 2019

Kelly has last word

Alley and Shels to meet again

Conor Byrne of Shelmalies is closely watched by Buffers Alley defender Sean Murphy
Conor Byrne of Shelmalies is closely watched by Buffers Alley defender Sean Murphy

Buffers Alley and Shelmaliers could not be separated after over 80 minutes of a feisty All-County Hurling League Division 1 semi-final clash at Monamolin on Saturday, with Joe Kelly's free with the last puck securing a deserved draw for the Wexford District side.

Buffers Alley 3-14 Shelmaliers 2-17 (AET)

Though both teams were missing a handful of regulars, this was a full-blooded contest acting as a warm-up for their championship group final two rounds.

Shelmaliers were the brighter team in the early exchanges, opening up a 7-2 lead, all bar one of which came from the stick of lively number eleven Joe Kelly. The home team finally got motoring as the half drew to a close. Andrew Kenny suddenly sprang to life and he helped reduce the interval deficit to 0-8 to 0-5.

Kenny added an early second-half point and then his rasper was saved, only for Robert O'Leary to dispatch the rebound past Brian Murphy in the Shelmaliers goal in the 34th minute.

Five minutes later a long-range free from Conor 'Bomber' Byrne went all the way to the Alley net off the fingertips of the unfortunate Ciarán Kenny. A scrappy period of over 18 minutes without a score from open play by either team was ended when James Cash popped over a nice point in the 52nd minute.

Within seconds of the puck-out Andrew Kenny delighted the vocal home following when he made little of a couple of heavy hits before placing a low finish to the opposite corner of the Shelmaliers net to level matters (2-8 to 1-11). Both teams added a pointed free each, with Conor Byrne's last-gasp effort ensuring that extra-time was required.

Buffers Alley's over-reliance on Kenny in attack was demonstrated when he sent over three well-taken points within the first four minutes of extra-time. However, Shelmaliers responded with a well-worked goal when Joe Kelly finished with aplomb to quickly regain the lead for his team which they held after the first period (2-14 to 2-13).

Along with Kelly, Conor Byrne also gave the Alley defence plenty of problems throughout, bringing his personal tally to 1-6 with another point from play. When Kelly put them two clear in the second-last minute of extra-time they looked to have secured their place in the league final.

However, Buffers Alley almost nicked the victory when the excellent Andrew Kenny flicked brilliantly to the net from a dangerous sideline cut delivery, but in the third minute of stoppage time Kelly's converted free secured a replay.

Buffers Alley: Oliver O'Leary; Barry Kenny, Willie Doran, Seán Murphy; Paudie Reidy, Ciarán Kenny, John Farrell; Pat Kenny, Bobby Kenny; Kevin Roche, Andrew Kenny (2-7, 0-2 frees), Tomás O'Leary (0-4, 2 frees); Paul O'Leary (0-1), Keith Burke (0-2 frees), Robert O'Leary (1-0). Subs. - Ross Donohoe for Burke, Conor Kenny for Farrell, Páraic Roche for R. O'Leary, Ciarán Murphy for P. O'Leary, John Lee Meyler for K. Roche.

Shelmaliers: Brian Murphy; Eoghan Fitzgerald, Aidan Cash, Andre O'Brien; Ciarán Walsh, James Gordon, Glen Malone; Arnie Murphy, Brian Doyle; Páraic O'Leary, Joe Kelly (1-10, 0-6 frees), Emmet O'Leary; James Cash (0-1), Ciarán O'Shaughnessy, Conor Byrne (1-6, 1-1 frees). Subs. - Conor Hearne for Fitzgerald, Jody Donohoe for E. O'Leary.

Referee: James Flood (St. Mary's, Maudlintown).

Wexford People

Most Read