Shels make Fethard pay from penalty spot
Shelmaliers rubber-stamped their place in the quarter-finals of the Tom Doyle Supplies Senior football championship with a hard-earned Group A victory over Fethard in Taghmon on Friday.
Shelmaliers 1-9 Fethard 0-9
The Hollymount side fell to their first defeat of the group stages against St. Anne's five days earlier but bounced back to sneak victory, thanks in no small part to A.J. Lehane's 22nd-minute penalty.
Both sides had their chances for vital goals throughout the contest but Lehane's proved to be the only one to beat either 'keeper. Otherwise there really was very little between two very evenly-matched teams who will likely both be a threat in the knockout stages.
The first quarter was cagey and tight with a nice score from Kevin Rowe in the sixth minute only cancelled out by Lehane nine minutes later.
Amongst the backdrop of black cards that littered that period of the game, the vital score came just eight minutes before half-time and shortly after John Tubritt had given Fethard the lead.
Páraic O'Leary sent Liam Donnelly away and the full-forward burst in one-on-one with William Doyle.
The Fethard stopper made a classy save but Donnelly regained possession and was tripped for a penalty that Lehane coolly converted.
A slick move that involved Rúairí Tubrid and Chris Colfer saw Mikie Dwyer crack a shot at Graham Lawler's goal but the Shelmaliers number one dived up and across his line to tip the net-bound effort over the crossbar.
A fisted point by the excellent Brian Malone and a classy score by Tony Smith gave the Shels a 1-3 to 0-3 interval lead which was increased one further by Tommy Barron just two minutes after the resumption.
Fethard then had a spell in which they reeled off three consecutive points with Tubritt (two) and Mark Wallace on target - the second of those Tubritt efforts was a decent chance for goal which whizzed just over the crossbar.
Back came Shelmaliers with four unanswered points from Lehane, Brian (two) and Glen Malone to edge them into a strong-looking 1-8 to 0-6 lead with nine minutes left. A trio of Tubritt points cut the deficit to two, only for Barry O'Connor to pick off a point in added time.
Fethard had one last chance to snatch a draw when Graham O'Grady and Tubrid linked up to release Rowe, but he sliced wide with his left foot to end the New Ross District side's hopes and give Shelmaliers safe passage to the last eight.
Shelmaliers: Graham Lawler; Aaron Murphy, Andre O'Brien, Graham Staples; Páraic O'Leary, Ciarán O'Shaughnessy, Simon Donohoe (capt.); Aidan Cash, Brian Malone (0-3); Glen Malone (0-1), Brian Doyle, A.J. Lehane (1-2, 1-0 pen., 0-2 frees); Tony Smith (0-1), Liam Donnelly, Tommy Barron (0-1). Subs. - Aidan Murphy for Cash, black card (18), Barry O'Connor (0-1) for Aidan Murphy, black card (26).
Fethard: William Doyle; Chris Molloy, Daniel Mullan, Seán O'Donohoe; Joe Sutton, Eddie Power, Mark Wallace (capt., 0-1); Daire Barden, Rúairí Tubrid; Chris Colfer, Graham O'Grady, Mikie Dwyer (0-1); John Tubritt (0-6, 3 frees), Kevin Rowe (0-1), Mikey Banville. Subs. - Mick Roche for Power, inj. (1), Bryan Power for Barden, black card (13), Ricky Rowe for Banville (51).
Referee: Seán Whelan (St. Martin's).