Strong Shels finish
Shelmaliers 0-14 Geraldine O'Hanrahans 0-13
Shelmaliers finished stronger to edge out Group B opponents Geraldine O'Hanrahans and pick up their first win of the Top Oil Intermediate 'A' hurling championship in Cushinstown on Saturday.
In truth, it felt like a game that neither side actually wanted to win, as each team's wide count far exceeded their scoring tally.
Although you wouldn't know it from the scoreline, it was certainly a game of two halves. The Geraldines dominated the first, but their lack-lustre performance in front of the sticks kept the scoreline close. Registering five wides before their first score, they laboured into a 7-5 advantage at the break.
Eoin Kelly gave New Ross the lead after Tommy Barron and Eoin Doyle had got the Shels ticking in the early exchanges. Further Dylan Egan scores, all from placed balls, extended the Geraldines' advantage before two important Joe Kelly points kept the black and ambers in touch at the interval.
As if the see-saw had suddenly shifted its weight, Shelmaliers began to dominate the second-half in identical fashion - having all the play but with very wayward shooting keeping the opposition in the game.
Craig Parker, Emmet O'Leary, Seán Keane-Carroll and Kelly all pitched in to level the scores at ten apiece in the 41st minute.
Then, with just one score in the following ten minutes, as Eoin Kelly briefly restored the Geraldine's lead, it was clear this was going to the wire.
Kevin O'Leary and Eoin Kelly traded points further before two vital Joe Kelly scores, amongst a number of wides, gave Shelmaliers the narrowest of leads. Eoin Doyle's free extended the gap to two in injury time.
Yet, there was still enough time for New Ross to race up the other end and earn a threatening free 25 metres out. Brandon Gardiner's goal attempt whistled harmlessly over the bar and the Shels claimed their first championship win.
Shelmaliers: Adam Howlin; Eoghan Fitzgerald, Kevin O'Leary (0-1), Eoin O'Leary; Seán Keane-Carroll (0-1), Aidan Murphy, Cian Manley; Eoin Doyle (0-3, 2 frees), Graham Staples; Ronan Kavanagh, Tommy Barron (0-1), Joe Kelly (0-6, 3 frees); Craig Parker (0-1), Emmet O'Leary (0-1), Liam Rockett. Sub. - Cathal Gaule for Parker (45).
Geraldine O'Hanrahans: Brandon Gardiner (0-1); Enda Kelly, Tony Murphy, Gerry Cash; Michael Cleere, Dylan Egan (0-3, 2 frees, 1 '65), Conor Cleere; Matt Crowdle (0-1), Jack Foran; Kevin Grangel, Steven Somers (0-1), Eoin Kelly (0-6, 4 frees); Barry Roche (0-1), David Crowdle, Brian Haberlin. Subs. - Ned Connors for Murphy (37), Danielius Neikus for Haberlin (47).
Referee: Brendan Holohan (Rathgarogue-Cushinstown).