Shanballymore 1-16 Randal Óg 1-7
On the night we proved that fitness, heart and never say die attitude were key factors to our success and now for the first time since 1951 we have a chance of bringing a county final back to Shanballymore.
The first half was a very dogged close affair with the lead swapping hands on a number of occasions, with both teams tied at 0-6 a piece at the short whistle. Randal Óg were first to score after 3 mins before Jamie Sheedy who was deadly accurate from place balls all day had us on level terms in the 6th minute.
Points were swapped from play with Randal again scoring a well taken point before captain Brian O’Reilly slotted over from the end line to draw us level again. We then had the misfortune of going a man down when our corner back was given a second yellow card and now we had to rejig the team with Alan Sheedy moving from corner forward to corner back and Colman O’Reilly and Vincent Burke making up a two man inside forward line.
We took the lead when Jamie pointed another free after Brian Sheedy was fouled but back came Randal og with two pointed frees of their own to lead 0-4 to 0-3 after 20 mins played. Hallie Burke had the game level again with a fine effort after one of his trade mark surging runs.
At this stage the game was beginning to become a slog with both teams going at each other at every opportunity. Randal Óg had another pointed free before Colman found some room inside and latched on to a great ball from Jerome to get our fifth point to again see us on level terms coming up to the break. Another conceded free was put over by Randal Óg to hold a slender lead with the half nearly up, however we had our last point of the first half when a puck out by keeper Declan Fitzgibbon was gathered by Jamie and he pointed to see us go in at half time on level terms.
We knew that it was going to take an outstanding effort in the second half to overcome a very tough and physical Randal Óg team who had a one man advantage. We came out in the second half a totally different team and from the start blitzed Randal og with points from all angles to leave them stunned.
Brian and Colman O’Reilly started the scoring with two quick fire points from play before sub Dylan O’Callaghan got on the score sheet with one of his own, this gave us a three point lead. Our inside back line of Eoin McHugh, Jonathan Dennehy and Alan Sheedy were letting noting through and outside them our half back line of Sean Lynch, Eoin O’Regan and Jerome Fitzgerald were dominating this sector of the field.
Two Jamie frees were put over at ease before his brother Brian popped over our 12th point to put six between the teams with 15 minutes to go. Randal Óg got their first point of the second half and they followed this with a goal to come within two points 0-12 to 1-7.
Paul Burke who had replaced Vincent Burke was fouled going through and Jamie again obliged and pointed. Dylan and Colman had two points inside a minute to stretch our lead again and put some daylight between the teams and for the next few minutes it was backs to the wall as Randal Óg went in search of another goal but with bodies being thrown on the line there was no way that Randal Óg could get through.
With a five point lead and only 4 minutes remaining we got the insurance score when a ball into the forward line was gathered by Dylan and he burst past his marker before lobbing the on rushing keeper to give us an 8 point lead with time almost up. The last point of the game was scored by the very impressive Colman O’Reilly who had worked his socks off all day and when he sent over his 4th and our last point we knew that we were well on our way to a county final.
On the puck out the referee blew for full time and there was a hugh cheer from the large Shanballymore following who for many years have waited for this opportunity to cheer the team into a county final. The final will be played next Friday night in Pairc Ui Rinn with a throw in time of 8:15 pm.
This will be a great occasion for the team, supporters and the club, and we will be calling on all Shanballymore supporters near and far to come and see this team create their own bit of history and hopefully bring the cup home to the village on Friday night.
Team: Declan Fitzgibbon, Jonathan Dennehy, Eoin McHugh, Darren Roche, Robert McHugh, Sean Lynch, Eoin O’Regan, Hallie Burke(0-1), Jamie Sheedy(0-6 0-5f, 0-1 ‘65’), Jerome Fitzgerald, Brian Sheedy(0-1), Brian O’Reilly(0-2), Vincent Burke, Alan Sheedy, Colman O’Reilly(0-4) Subs: Paul Burke for Vincent Burke, Dylan O’Callaghan(1-2) for Robert McHugh, Stephen Donegan, Padraig Fitzgerald, Eamonn Fitzgerald, Brendan Hayes, James Hayes, Kenneth Barry, Shaun Cronin, Brian O’Regan, Mick O’Donovan, Dave Twomey, Richard Burke.