Rocks reign in local derby
Goals on either side of break give town team the edge
Shamrocks went one better than 2015 in a bitterly-cold Bellefield on Sunday, bridging a gap of eleven years by overcoming neighbours Monageer-Boolavogue by four points to capture the third Enniscorthy Farm Systems Junior football championship crown in their history.
Shamrocks 2-6 Monageer-Boolavogue 0-8
Twelve months ago the town team lost to Volunteers in the decider by five points, having pipped their 2016 final opponents in the penultimate round.
And they had the slight edge again over Monageer-Boolavogue on this occasion, with well-taken goals on either side of half-time making all the difference.
The first was a superb solo effort from Brandon O'Connor who had started the game at full-back to keep tabs on county Minor Cathal Walsh. However, he found himself in a more advanced position after the Monageer-Boolavogue mentors switched Walsh to the '40 at an early stage, and he certainly made the most of it in the 28th minute.
The ground opened up in front of O'Connor as he careered down the middle towards the Bellefield Road end before planting a fine shot out of Niall Finn's reach.
That lovely goal pushed Shamrocks into a 1-3 to 0-3 lead, although a second point from the hard-working Seán Roche ensured that Monageer-Boolavogue were clipping at their heels at half-time.
However, the Templeshannon team were intent on causing more damage on the re-start, and they enjoyed the perfect first two minutes.
Their outstanding captain, John Kavanagh, wearing number 15 but operating at left half-back, played a one-two with Seán Wildes before picking off a point.
And when the resultant short kick-out was given away by a Monageer-Boolavogue defender, John O'Connor swiftly transferred the ball to full-forward Colin Sheehan who rattled the net for a 2-4 to 0-4 lead. O'Connor went for a third goal shortly afterwards but was denied by a good block by defender John Darcy.
Those goals provided the essential difference between the teams though because, while Monageer-Boolavogue had an equal share of possession, they were unable to threaten Shamrocks netminder Thomas O'Brien.
That was due in large part to the excellence of the Shamrocks defenders who ensured that their goalkeeper wasn't exposed at any stage.
Indeed, after Cathal Walsh had pulled back a point from a free, John Kavanagh produced a brilliant block to deny substitute Bertie Gahan as he pulled the trigger close to the posts.
Gahan came back undaunted and arrowed over a left-footed point from a Matthew Dunne cross to make it 2-4 to 0-6 in the 42nd minute, leaving his side with plenty of time as they sought to collect this title for the first time since 1998.
Podge Doyle made a vital tackle on Matthew Dunne as he made a run goalwards, while Seán Wildes did likewise on Mick Sweeney either side of a Shamrocks point from substitute Jack Carroll after an exchange of passes with Dwaine Kelly.
John Darcy then did well again to block another goaling attempt, this time from Kelly, and a tight last ten minutes was in store after Seán Roche kicked his third point from play for Monageer-Boolavogue to make it 2-5 to 0-7.
Shamrocks then introduced an inspirational substitute, with Kyle Foley coming in for Kelly and splitting the posts with his left boot from his first touch in the 52nd minute.
It proved to be their last score, as three wides followed to bring their total to eleven, while Niall Finn made an excellent save to deny Jack Carroll a goal in the 56th minute after good approach work by the two Shamrocks stars, John Kavanagh and John O'Connor.
Cathal Walsh converted a free with less than three minutes to go, but that was as good as it got for Monageer-Boolavogue as he was off target from a more difficult placed ball before Niall O'Reilly kicked their seventh and final wide in added time.
This was a most welcome win for Shamrocks, especially after the disappointment of falling at the final hurdle last October. And it was particularly sweet for Anthony Wallace, James Carty and Colin Sheehan who had played on their last title-winning team in 2005, while Dwaine Kelly was an unused substitute.
In addition, all four of manager Martin Sheehan's selectors - Jimbob Dempsey, John Dobbs, Ray Doyle and Seán O'Neill - lined out in that victory against St. Patrick's eleven years ago.
The eventual winners had grabbed the game's first point in the fifth minute, with Emmet Quirke obliging from a Barry Dobbs pass.
Monageer-Boolavogue equalised when Mick Sweeney picked out Seán Roche midway through the first quarter, and Cathal Walsh then gave them the lead from a '45.
Quirke levelled from a free in the 18th minute, with Podge Doyle setting up John O'Connor who finished with aplomb before the green and whites created a goal chance.
John Kavanagh was hit late after finding Jack Moorehouse who in turn moved the ball on to Quirke, but Niall Finn advanced smartly off his line to make a crucial save.
Monageer-Boolavogue then suffered a big blow when captain Chris Daly departed with an injury, forcing Paddy Breen to move to full-back, although they did ensure the sides were level for a third time when Matthew Dunne converted a free awarded for a foul on Mick Sweeney (0-3 each).
On an afternoon when each and every score was hard-earned, that Brandon O'Connor goal which followed was absolutely priceless for the eventual winners. And with Colin Sheehan repeating the dose on the re-start, it left Monageer-Boolavogue with too much catching up to do despite their best efforts.
Shamrocks: Thomas O'Brien; Philip Freeman, Brandon O'Connor (1-0), Ricky Murphy; Podge Doyle, Anthony Wallace, John Kavanagh (capt., 0-1); Seán Wildes, James Carty; John O'Connor (0-1), Dwaine Kelly, Barry Dobbs; Emmet Quirke (0-2, 1 free), Colin Sheehan (1-0), Jack Moorehouse. Subs. - Jack Carroll (0-1) for Quirke (39), Kyle Foley (0-1) for Kelly (50), Aaron O'Toole for Wallace, inj. (55), also Cory Breen, Reece Dunne, Shane Larkin, Jamie Dagg.
Monageer-Boolavogue: Niall Finn; John Darcy, Chris Daly (capt.), Morgan Gahan; Niall O'Reilly, Brian O'Loughlin, Paddy Breen; Seán Roche (0-3), Conal Nolan; James Gahan, Matthew Dunne (0-1 free), Mick Sweeney; Damien Fenlon, Cathal Walsh (0-3, 2 frees, 1 '45), Stephen Lacey. Subs. - Ian Hawkins for Daly, inj. (24), Bertie Gahan (0-1) for Lacey (26), Declan Kelly for Fenlon (48), Seán McCabe for J. Gahan (60+1), also Ray O'Brien, Robbie Donnelly, Diarmuid Breen, James Sweeney, Bryan Dwyer.
Referee: Billy Dodd (Sarsfields).