Wexford SHC final: This was a real grind for the full 60 minutes before a last minute Ciaran O’Shaughnessy point earned Shelmaliers a draw with St. Anne’s in this tough Wexford senior hurling championship final at Wexford Park yesterday.
It was an afternoon when a new order was restored to Wexford hurling, but St. Anne’s were within 60 seconds of their first title since 2000, before Shelmaliers eked out that last minute equalising score to send the final to a replay next Sunday.
Driven by the hurt of a 14 year absence from the top table, St. Anne’s opened with an attacking surge and after just two minutes forced keeper Brian Murphy into two tremendous double saves before Liam Rochford crashed the breaking ball through a crowded goalmouth to the net.
Joe Kelly as was the case all year was Shels main scoring threat as he picked off some excellent points from frees all over the pitch.
But it was still St. Anne’s who were holding a 1-2 to 0-2 lead at the end of the opening quarter. With Kelly and Ciaran O’Shaughnessy continuing to pose a threat with further points, St. Anne’s, playing with a strong wind, only managed a single point lead, 1-3 to 0-5, at the interval through a fine individual Liam Rochford effort.
Two minutes into the second half a Joe Kelly free had the sides level, with Aidan Rochford and Joe Kelly going on to exchange points.
But by the tenth minute wind-assisted Shels through two Kelly points, one free and another excellent effort from play had moved into a 0-9 to 1-4 lead.
This set the tone for a tremendous final quarter as both sides struggled for the initiative, but it was Diarmuid O’Keeffe, who had been off colour from placed balls, finally found the target with two efforts. Then sub Pierce White chipped in with two neat points to leave the sides level, 1-7 to 0-10 with nine minutes remaining.
The lead was to change hands as Brian Doyle regained the Shels lead, while Jonathan Fogarty and Diarmuid O’Keeffe responded with points, leaving St. Anne’s in front 1-10 to 0-11 with less than three minutes remaining.
The Anne’s defence was proving almost impenetrable but a Kelly pointed 50 meter free, followed by O’Shaughnessy’s late effort saw the sides deadlocked at the final whistle.
ST. ANNE’S: J Codd; T Cullen, R O’Connor, P O’Keeffe; K Cloney, R Barry, K Hannigan; J Fogarty (0-1), A Rochford (0-2); M fogarty, D O’Keeffe (0-4 frees), D O’Connor; L Rochford (1-1), L Og McGovern, M Furlong.
Subs: P White (0-2) for Furlong; J O’Conor for D O’Connor.
SHELMALIERS: B Murphy; S Donohoe, A Murphy, A O’Brien; C Walsh, C Lawlor, A Cash; E Doyle (0-1), B doyle (0-1); J Kelly (0-7, 0-3 frees, 0-2 65s), B Malone, B Barron; C O’Shaughnessy (0-3), S Banville (0-1), J Cash.
Sub: N Mythen for J Cash.
Referee: J Carton (Monageer-Boolavogue).