Two first-half goals laid the foundations as Shels, with wind assistance, raced to a ten point interval lead.
But they still had to survive a late St. Anne’s surge that saw them reduce the deficit with the aid of a 54th minute Diarmuid O’Keeffe goal.
Shelmaliers began strongly and Kelly pointed an opening minute free, but the sides were deadlocked 0-2 each after seven minutes. However, Shels looked sharper, harrying and hassling St. Anne’s into mistakes, and, with Kelly striking over his side’s five opening points, they built a 0-5 to 0-2 lead by the end of the opening quarter.
The first goal on 21 minutes was a fortuitous affair, a Joe Kelly lob being lost in the air by keeper Joe Codd, with both ball and keeper finishing up in the net.
Now leading 1-5 to 0-3, Shels delighted their fans when an amazing 70 metre run out of defence by corner-back Simon Donohoe set up Eoghan Nolan for their second goal to give them a 2-7 to 0-3 interval lead.
Shels, driven on by Donohoe in defence and Kelly in attack, were never going to relinquish their lead, and when Kelly goaled after 48 minutes to push them 3-8 to 0-5 ahead, their sights were firmly set on a historic victory.
Shels had keeper Brian Murphy to thank for an excellent save from Liam Rochford, but St. Anne’s, trailing by 12 points, lifted their game to greater heights in the closing ten minutes. Two quick-fire Diarmuid O’Keeffe pointed frees, followed by a fine goal with six minutes remaining, left the scoreline 3-8 to 1-7.
The Shels defence was now coming under intense pressure as sub David Fogarty pointed, while O’Keeffe struck over three pointed frees, leaving the deficit reduced to three points as the game moved into additional time.
Despite the intense late pressure, the Shels defence held firm for a deserved win.
Scorers for Shelmaliers: J Kelly 2-7, 0-5 frees, 0-1 sideline cut; E Nolan 1-0; B Malone 0-1.
St. Anne’s scorers: D O’Keeffe 1-5, 0-5 frees; L Og McGovery 0-2; L Rochford, M Furlong, D O’Connor, D Fogarty 0-3 each.
SHELMALIERS: B Murphy; S Donohoe, A Murphy, B Barron; C Walsh, C Lawlor, A Cash; E Doyle, B Doyle; J Kelly, B Malone, E Nolan; C O’Shaughnessy, S Banville, J Cash.
Subs: T Barron for E DFoyle; C Byrne for Banville; D O’Brien for Nolan.
ST. ANNE’S: J Codd; T Cullen, R O’Connor, K Cloney; K Whelan, A Rochford, K Hannigan; J Fogarty, R Barry; M Fogarty, D O’Keeffe, M Furlong; L Rochford, L Og McGovern, P O’Keeffe.
Subs: D O’connor for Whelan; D Fogarty for M Fogarty; P White for Furlong; F Simpson for L Rochford.
Referee: J Owens (Kilrush/Askamore).