Shamrocks all set for Junior final after replay win
They might have stuttered a little towards the end, but Shamrocks were full value for their six-point win over Oylegate-Glenbrien in the Enniscorthy Farm Systems Junior football championship semi-final at St. Patrick's Park on Friday.
Shamrocks 0-15 Oylegate-Glenbrien 1-6
The victors suffocated their opponents with a high-energy, physical performance in the opening half and Oylegate-Glenbrien, who might have had other targets niggling away at the back of their minds with this weekend's Intermediate hurling final close at hand, were unable to match them.
Monageer-Boolavogue will probably go into the county final as slight favourites but this Shamrocks side is primed to cause an upset.
They are tenacious, biting but almost uncharacteristically disciplined in the tackle and have enough in the attacking third to notch a decent haul of scores.
The Enniscorthy side started brightly and took the lead in the third minute with a well-taken James Carty point.
Emmet Quirke added a free after a foul on John Kavanagh and Barry Dobbs followed with a point to make it 0-3 to nil after twelve minutes.
Dobbs added another score before the first quarter ended but Oylegate-Glenbrien slowly started to find their feet. They had a chance to get right back into the game in the 25th minute when Peter Nolan's shot was foot-blocked close to goal.
However, Thomas O'Brien brilliantly saved Seamus Casey's penalty and Fergus Heffernan was only able to blast the rebound over the crossbar.
A pair of John O'Connor points and a Quirke free gave Shamrocks a 0-7 to 0-1 interval lead.
After Seán Wildes opened his account in the second-half, Oylegate-Glenbrien showed a little more urgency. Robert O'Connor kicked a fine score and it was quickly followed by a dead-ball from substitute Barry Dunne as the lead shrunk to five.
Yet Shamrocks were still working hard, still looking energetic, and when they scored four points in a row, from Podge Doyle, Brandon O'Connor, Emmet Quirke and John O'Connor, it looked like game over (0-12 to 0-3).
The only thing that was going to stop this match drifting to a conclusion was an Oylegate-Glenbrien goal, and it duly arrived in the 45th minute when a mistake in the Shamrocks rearguard presented the ball to Peter Nolan.
He quickly fed Podge Doran and the county hurler made no mistake from close range.
A Dunne free, that made it 0-12 to 1-4, was cancelled out three minutes later by O'Connor at the other end. Minors from Doran and Heffernan did close the gap but Oylegate-Glenbrien got no closer than four in the time remaining.
James Carty settled the nerves with a superb point before Oylegate-Glenbrien peppered the Shamrocks goal, and eventually Philip Freeman was sent-off for a black card after a yellow.
It didn't matter in the end as Quirke put the seal on an excellent win in added time with his fourth free as Shamrocks joined neighbours Monageer-Boolavogue in the final which will be played in Bellefield on October 23.
Shamrocks: Thomas O'Brien; Anthony Wallace, Philip Freeman, Ricky Murphy; John Kavanagh (capt.), Brandon O'Connor (0-1), Podge Doyle (0-1); Seán Wildes (0-1), James Carty (0-2); John O'Connor (0-4, 2 frees), Dwaine Kelly, Barry Dobbs (0-2); Colin Sheehan, Emmet Quirke (0-4 frees), Jack Moorehouse. Sub. - Jack Carroll for Sheehan (38).
Oylegate-Glenbrien: Eddie Mernagh; Bryan McCormack, Michael Heffernan, Kieran Lambert; Robert O'Connor (0-1), Damien Reck, Lee Kehoe; Podge Doran (1-1, 0-1 free), Mark Kavanagh; Shane Reck, Peter Nolan, Fergal Doran; Seamus Casey, Fergus Heffernan (0-2), Conor Heffernan. Subs. - Barry Dunne (0-2 frees) for C. Heffernan (34), Pa Cullen for Kehoe (38), Jamie Reck for Nolan (46).
Referee: Brendan Martin (Ballyhogue).