We travelled to Churchtown last Saturday evening to play Milford in the semifinal of this year’s junior b football championship and like the Ballyhooly game after a tight and close first half we again totally took over in a very one sided second half.
Having been defeated by Milford in last year’s County football championship we knew that this would be another tough physical encounter and this is the way the first half turned out. we started with great energy and were two points to the good when Haulie Burke and Brian O’Reilly put us ahead but Millford answered with a point of their own after 5mins.
We were dominating and creating some great chances and a brilliant move down the right wing saw Colman set up his brother Brian and he in turn put Paul Burke threw on goal but the Milford goalkeeper came to the rescue when he saved from close range. We kept this pressure up and added a further two points from Vincent Burke and Brian O’Reilly after good play from Alan Sheedy to put us in a good position after 15mins.
Milford got in for a point after some good movement from their dangerous corner forward to keep them close but with our defence again well on top we shut out anymore attacks that Milford created for the next ten minutes.
Sean Lynch and Eoin O’Regan got in for two more points with half time approaching and this moved us 4pts clear 0-6 to 0-2 and we were looking good to take a good lead into the second half but Milford had other ideas and tacked on two points of their own to stay in touch. Scoreline at half time Shanballymore 0-6 Milford 0-4.
At half time it was simple we had to keep up the pressure and get our running game going against a physical Millford team. We tore into Millford from the start of the second half and had four points in quick succession from Brian O’Reilly, Eoin O’Regan, Haulie and Vincent Burke to open up a six point lead. Milford stayed within striking distance with two points of their own but these were to be the last scores they would get as we again showed unbelievable hunger and fitness to take over.
Vincent and Paul Burke started the barrage of scores with Vincent getting two lovely points before Paul got in for the games only goal after a great move up the field when he was set up Brian O’Reilly. Paul added two points shortly after the goal and then Brian O’Reilly got a point after being set up by the hard working Robert McHugh.
We were well on our way to victory leading 1-14 to 0-7 and with our inside backline of Brian Sheedy, Padraig Fitzgerald and Jerome Fitzgerald outstanding in the second half there was to be no comeback from Milford at any stage, behind them in goal Dylan was again very assured and used the ball well when it got through.
Our half back line of Colman O’Reilly, Hallie Burke and Robert McHugh were raiding down field at every opportunity and this created plenty support for the fowards as the game went on, midfield was again our strongest position on the field throughout the game with Sean Lynch and Eoin McHugh dominating and making some great runs. Like the Ballyhooly game we had the luxury of bringing on fresh legs in the last ten minutes of the game and these subs played there part in this victory.
Brian O’Reilly added another point and Kenneth Barry had two points in quick succession after good work by Brendan Hayes and Richard Hallihan, Haulie Burke and Sean Lynch got two beautiful points after surging up field before Jamie Sheedy got the score of the game when he put one over from way out on the wing from the tightest angles.
Kenneth Barry closed out the scoring in the last minute with a point from close range and soon after referee Mick Sheehan blew for full time and we were back in the final after a three year absence when we last won the title in 2012. We will play Grange in the final on Sunday the 18th of October in Glanworth at 12 o clock and this will be another big test against a very good Grange outfit that have already contested this year’s County junior b football final back in July. They defeated Castletownroche in a very tight contest last Sunday in Glanworth and it will take another serious hour of football from us to over come the men from Grange.
Shanballymore 1-21 Millford 0-7
Team: Dylan O’Callaghan, Padraig Fitzgerald, Brian Sheedy, Richard Burke, Robert McHugh, Eoin McHugh, Colman O’Reilly, Sean Lynch(0-2), Haulie Burke(0-3), Vincent Burke(0-4), Eoin O’Regan(0-2), Jamie Sheedy(0-1), Alan Sheedy, Paul Burke(1-2), Brian O’Reilly(0-4). Subs: Jerome Fitzgerald for Richard Burke, Richard Hallihan for Alan Sheedy, Kenneth Barry(0-3) for Vincent Burke, Brendan Hayes for Eoin O’Regan, Stephen Donegan for Brian O’Reilly, Niall Barry, Eamon Fitzgerald, Jonathan Dennehy, James Hayes, Darren Roche, Shaun Cronin.