Wexford SHC Final : Glory for Shelmaliers
Wexford Senior Hurling Championship Final
Shelmaliers 3-18 Naomh Eanna 3-11
By Ronan Fagan at Wexford Park
Wexford hurling’s biggest day was staged behind-closed-doors, but Shelmaliers had their absent supporters lapping it up back home as they dominated 2018 winners Naomh Éanna to secure Senior Championship glory.
Spectators were not permitted under fresh restrictions related to the pandemic, leaving the first-ever county final of the Covid-19 era to be contested at an eerily quiet venue.
Gratefully, the TG4 live cameras were beaming the on-field events back to the respective support bases, and those of a Shelmaliers’ hue were rejoicing after goals from sharpshooter Ross Banville (penalty), Seán Keane-Carroll and James Cash powered Vinny Parker’s men home.
It represents their third senior championship crown within the space of seven years, following their maiden hurling and football crowns of 2014 and 2018 respectively.
Naomh Éanna had designs on celebrating their club’s 50th anniversary in style, but they struggled to match opponents who could afford the luxury of striking 15 wides.
Wind-assisted Shelmaliers asserted clear by 0-6 to 0-2 before the first water break as Glen Malone, Ross Banville (3), Conor Hearne and James Cash found the range while the black-and-amber also hit five wides.
Naomh Éanna were lifted when a re-start error by Shelmaliers following that water break saw the sliotar intercepted by David O’Brien who located Cathal Dunbar to roll the sliotar to the net in the 19th minute (0-6 to 1-2).
The Shels refused to be ruffled though as, despite adding five wides, they opened-up a 0-9 to 1-3 lead courtesy of Jody Donohoe, Eoin Doyle and Ciarán O’Shaughnessy.
Two frees from Pádraig Doyle meant Naomh Éanna were still within whisker of pulling level before being stung by a couple of injury-time blows. Conor Hearne pointed before Arnie Murphy forced a penalty which Ross Banville hammered home, to ease Shelmaliers ahead by 1-10 to 1-5 at half-time.
Shelmaliers bounced clear by 2-11 to 2-6 when James Cash netted in the 34th-minute. But Cian Molloy revived gallant Gorey’s hopes a minute later when his powerful low drive found the net to help eventually shave the difference to 2-11 to 2-8.
But the far more superior Shels established a firm grip when Seán Keane-Carroll made the most of a speculative delivery from the right to slam home for a 3-11 to 2-8 advantage after 42 minutes.
A trio of points from the outstanding Ross Banville established justified daylight after 42 minutes (3-14 to 2-9).
Naomh Éanna refused to yield and substitute Gearóid Cullen fed Gary Molloy for a consolation goal in added-time, but they had to concede second-best as Shelmaliers soared back to the throne of Wexford hurling.
Scorers for Shelmaliers: Ross Banville 1-8, (1-0 p, 3fs, 0-1 65, Seán Keane-Carroll and James Cash 1-1 each, Conor Hearne and Jody Donohoe 0-2 each, Glen Malone, Eoin Doyle, Ciarán O’Shaughnessy, and Eoghan Nolan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Naomh Éanna: Pádraig Doyle 0-7 (6fs), Cathal Dunbar, Cian Molloy, and Gary Molloy 1-0 each, Darragh Hughes 0-2 (1f), Conor McDonald and Gearóid Culle 0-1 each.
SHELMALIERS: Brian Murphy; Simon Donohoe (capt.), Aidan Cash, Jody Donohoe; Glen Malone, Brian Malone, Conor Walsh; Conor Hearne, Eoin Doyle; James Cash, Ross Banville, Seán Keane-Carroll; Joe Kelly, Ciarán O’Shaughnessy, Eoghan Nolan.
Subs: Arnie Murphy for Walsh, inj. (7), Kyle Roche for O’Shaughnessy (60+1), André O’Brien for J. Donohoe (60+2), Dylan O’Neill for Kelly (60+2).
NAOMH EANNA: Jack Cushe; Peter Travers, Brendan Travers (capt.), Eoin Conroy; Seán Doyle, Jack Cullen, Tom Stafford; Aodhán Doyle, Gary Molloy; Cian Molloy , Pádraig Doyle, Charlie McGuckin; Cathal Dunbar, Conor McDonald, David O’Brien.
Subs: Darragh Hughes for O’Brien (36), Jack Doran for Dunbar (51), Gearóid Cullen for McGuckin (51), Cian Browne for Stafford (58).
REFEREE: Barry Redmond (Na Fianna/Clonard).