Shels see off Buffers Alley
Pettitt's Senior Hurling Championship: Shelmaliers 1-17 Buffers Alley 0-11
Shelmaliers cruised past an injury hit Buffers Alley in this hugely disappointing Pettitt's Senior Hurling Championship Round 5 Group A game played at Innovate Wexford Park on Saturday evening.
Shelmaliers needed both points to secure their quarter-final spot for fear of other results not going their way and this they achieved without any real difficulty against a Buffers Alley side that had the luxury of a knock-out spot going into this game, for they qualified on a head to head victory with Glynn-Barntown who despite demolishing last year's beaten finalists, Cloughbawn, saw their championship ended on a disappointing note.
For the Shelmaliers the result saw them back in business after coming through a dreadful sixty minutes of hurling.
Should they serve up a repeat in the quarter-final they will find it difficult to achieve a result, while for the Alley they will be solely dependent on their injured players to influence them, for as they stand at the moment they will hardly test whoever their quarter-final opponents may be.
Played out in front of a disappointing crowd, which must have reduced to less than two hundred for the second half, the hurling was devoid of interest, as it lacked a real competitive edge, with the Shels simply playing through the final 20 minutes as the Alley challenge evaporated into a token challenge, which left their hardened supporters and past players frustrated at the feebleness of their challenge.
Conor Byrne, free, and Andrew Kenny exchanged opening points, but once Byrne pointed his side in front once again with a sixth minute free, it was a lead they were never subsequently to lose, for they went on to add further points through Ciaran O'Shaughnessy and Conor Hearne to lead 0-4 to 0-1 after 12 minutes and playing into the breeze.
With the Alley unable to mount any real challenge and playing the sweeper system when assisted by the breeze it was no surprise that they struggled for scores, being mainly dependent on Paul O'Leary's freetaking and Andrw Kenny points to keep them in touch, but they still trailed 0-8 to 0-6 at the interval leaving them with a real challenge if they were to get a result from this game.
The Alley needed a good start to this half, but it was the Shels who mounted a series of attacks but their finishing did not match their outfield play as they shot four successive wides.
The Alley in their first real second half attack saw Pauyl O'Leary point a 35th minute free, but that was as good as it got as the Shels finally found their accuracy responding with points from Eoin Doyle, Andre O'Brien and Stephen Banville to lead 0-11 to 0-7 after 38 minutes.
Meanwhile the Alley struggle became more pronounced despite a fine Paul O'Leary point from play, as the Shels had points through substitute Joe Kelly along with Ciaran O'Shaughnessy and Conor Hearne to stretch into a 0-15 to 0-9 lead with nine minutes remaining in the game.
With the Alley only providing a token challenge it was the Shels who added to their opponent's woes when keeper Brian Murphy goaled a 56th minute penalty enabling his side to emerge with a comfortable nine-point victory but still leaving manager Tom Mullally with much work to do.
Shelmaliers: Brian Murphy (1-0 pen); Ciaran Walsh, Aidan Murphy, Benny Barron; Glen Malone, Aidan Cash, Simon Donohoe; Andre O'Brien (0-1), Eoin Doyle (0-2); Stephen Banville (0-1), Brian Malone (0-1), Conor Hearne (0-2); Ciaran O'Shaughnessy (0-2), Eoghan Nolan (0-1), Conor Byrne (0-3 frees). Subs: Joe Kelly (0-4, 0-2 frees, 0-1, 65) for Byrne; James Cash for Banville; Arnie Murphy for Doyle; Tommy Barron for O'Shaughnessy; Conor Walsh for Glen Malone.
Buffers Alley: Darren O'Brien; Ciaran Murphy, Sean Murphy, Paudie Reidy; Bobby Kenny, Ross Donohoe, Robert O'Leary; Kevin Roche (0-1), Sean Og Whelan; Willie Doran (0-1), Domhnall McArdle, Shane Grannell; Conor Kenny, Andrew Kenny (0-3), Paul O'Leary (0-6, 0-5 frees).
Referee: Andrew Tobin (Ger O'Hanrahans).