Shanballymore 3-10 Doneraile 0-16.
We had a hard fought 3 point win over Doneraile last Sunday night in round three of the junior A hurling championship in a very well prepared Kildorrey venue. This was a game that was won with pure heart and determination and no shortage of last ditch defending in a very close second half which went down to the wire only to see us hold out for a brilliant win in the end.
We had the first score from Paul Burke inside the first 2 minutes when he pointed after good work by Rob McHugh in midfield. Doneraile hit back with a free of their own to level it but then Brian O’Reilly collected a puck out from Declan Fitzgibbon and turned his man and pointed from 45 yards. Again we were punished with a Doneraile free but then we got the first of our three first half goals when Eoin O’Regan and Jerome Fitzgerald combined to set up Brian O’Reilly who left his marker for dead and cut through the heart of the Doneraile defence and billowed the net from close range to give us a great lift.
Soon after Paul Burke slotted over a very well taken free after Brian Sheedy was fouled and this gave us a 1-3 to 0-2 lead after 15 minutes played. We were in good shape all over the field especially with our defence really on top and making some very important clearances. Doneraile answered with another free but then we had our second goal when again the Doneraile defence was put under pressure and Colman O’Reilly latched on to a great pass from Richard Burke and Colman made no mistake and rattled the net to give us a 6 point lead.
Both sides swapped three points each over the next few minutes with ours coming from an excellent effort from Brian O’Reilly who had a brilliant first half and two Paul Burke strikes. With 5 minutes to the half time whistle we got our third goal when a long ball by Sean Lynch was won by Paul Burke who passed to the on rushing Kenneth Barry and he squared to Darren Roche who pulled first time to the net for a brilliant finish. From here to half time Doneraile really upped their game and answered with three very good points to close the lead to 6 points and it showed that they would come out with all guns blazing in the second half.
They started the second half on the attack and got two quick fire points inside the first few minutes but with our next attack Paul Burke settled the nerves with a very well taken point to see our lead at 5 points. Our defence were under pressure all through the second half but Eoin McHugh, Alan Sheedy and Jonathan Dennehy showed they are a match for any inside forward line when the pressure comes on, at times they made some very important interceptions and stopped some certain scores.
Outside them Sean Lynch and his fellow halfbacks Jerome Fitzgerald and Brian Sheedy were rock solid and these three are also very good under the high ball. Doneraile closed the gap again in their next attack but thankfully we were on hand to answer this score straight away when Eoin O’Regan was fouled and Paul Burke made no mistake from the resulting free. Again some good pressure from the Doneraile saw them get two frees and they put these over to come within 3 points with ten minutes remaining.
Thankfully we were able to keep the score board ticking over and Colman O’Reilly got a brilliant point from a tight angle and from the next attack Doneraile again closed in on our lead with a well taken point from play. In the last few minutes they tried to get in for that all important goal but with our boys in defence willing to put their bodies on the line there was no way through. Alan Sheedy, Jonathan Dennehy and Jerome Fitzgerald were three players that felt the full force of the ball when they made last second efforts to stop goals and Declan Fitzgibbon in goal was also on hand to stay claim and clear his lines when under pressure.
Both sides had a point in the last few minutes of the game with the experienced Paul Burke getting our last and his seventh point of the day after he was set up by his brother Vincent Burke who came in at center forward for the last ten minutes and done very well. With time running out and the clock in Kildorrey gone over the 60 minutes referee Dave Copps from Ballyhea who had an outstanding game blew the full time whistle and we had held out for a very tough but well deserved win against a youthful and lively Doneraile side.
This was an excellent win and keeps our adventure in the junior A championship going for another few weeks which now sees us take on Fermoy in the quarter final. This will be another tough physical encounter and it’s only two years ago that we suffered a big defeat to Fermoy in the championship. Hopefully all injuries will be healed by then and with Jamie Sheedy and James Hayes returning we should have a full squad to pick from.
Team&scores: Declan Fitzgibbon, Alan Sheedy, Eoin McHugh, Jonathan Dennehy, Brian Sheedy,Sean Lynch, Jerome Fitzgerald, Colman O’Reilly(1-1), Robert McHugh, Brian O’Reilly(1-2), Haulie Burke, Eoin O’Regan, Richard Burke, Paul Burke(0-7 0-4f), Darren Roche(1-0) Subs: Kenneth Barry for Richard Burke, Vincent Burke for Robert McHugh.