Jubilation as Shamrocks end 24-year title famine

IT WASN’T pretty, but that won’t matter to Shamrocks, who ended a 24-year famine by collecting the Barry Collins Super Valu South east JAHC title at Innishannon yesterday, dismissing their underdog status to overcome gallant Kinsale.

Both sides who served for an exciting finale, but it was the Shanbally side that finished stronger, with three fine points, though Kinsale might have snatched victory at the death when Brian McSweeney stopped a goal-bound shot on the line.

It rained incessantly for the first twenty minutes and players had real difficulty adjusting to the ground conditions it took 21 minutes for the first score from play.

Kinsale opened through ace free-taker Donal Murphy in the seventh minute and Shamrocks' Colin O'Sullivan pointed two frees before Murphy levelled in the 14th minute.

Some great individual contests were taking place: Peter Prout was gaining the upper hand on Kinsale dangerman Paul Forde, Kenny O'Regan and Senan Collins served up a good battle while Lyndon Kiely and Michael Prout shared prominence at midfield.

After a Murphy free pushed Kinsale ahead, Shamrocks replied with a blistering goal. A high ball into the Kinsale square was batted out by Ger O'Regan and fell to Colin O'Sullivan, who struck to the right corner.

This gave Shamrocks added impetus and went for more scores, though only one followed, from Brian McSweeney. Kinsale finished the half well with points from Murphy and an excellent strike from Eoin Quigley to leave Shamrocks 1-3 to 0-5 ahead at the break.

Shamrocks shot 14 wides over the hour and started the second half wastefully, but eventually they found the range through a Colin O'Sullivan free. Kinsale then suffered a huge blow when influential midfielder Lyndon Kiely was sent off. Shamrocks landed two quick points from O'Sulllivan and a lovely effort from Stephen O'Neill.

Kinsale found a new lease of life in the 46th minute, when excellent wing back David Coughlan sent a long ball into the danger area, Kenny O'Regan fed Conor O'Brien and he swept a beautiful strike to the net.

The goal sparked off an exciting finale: Donal Murphy levelled matters in the 47th minute before Darragh Collins raced through to kick a shot narrowly wide. Shamrocks continued to waste chances but eventually found the range in the closing five minutes.

First Stephen O'Neill clipped over a fine effort for the right wing, and Terence O'Sulllivan followed this with an equally audacious strike. Kinsale did get one back in injury time before Colin O'Sullivan picked off an insurance point that sparked off great scenes of jubilation for Shamrocks.

Scorers for Shamrocks: C O'Sullivan 1-5 (0-5 frees); S O'Neill 0-2; B McSweeney and T O'Sullivan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kinsale: D Murphy 0-5 (frees); C O'Brien 1-0; C Quigley and B Gray 0-1 each.

SHAMROCKS: R Collins; S Andrews, P Prout (c), D Andrews; D Roche, S Collins, S O'Reilly; C O'Neill, M Prout; S O'Neill, B McSweeney, P O'Sullivan; D Collins, T O'Sullivan, C O'Sullivan.

Sub: D Bourke for P O'Sullivan (51).

KINSALE: G O'Regan; M O'Sullivan, B Murphy (c), J Barrett; D Coughlan, N O'Sullivan, R O'Sullivan; L Kiely, C Quigley; J Keohane, K O'Regan, C Lane; D Murphy, P Forde, C O'Brien.

Sub: B Gray for Forde (44).

Referee: O Webb (Tracton)

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