Mahon on fire as Rapps finish in second position
RAPPAREES SECURED second spot in Group A of the Pettitt’s Senior hurling championship and a quarter-final against Rathnure with victory over Shelmaliers in Innovate Wexford Park on Saturday.
The Enniscorthy club did most of the hard work in the second-half against the breeze, having conceded three goals and gone in one point down at the break (3-3 to 0-11).
However, their strong running in possession was a key factor in a patient second period and they eventually wore down the Hollymount club.
Both sides went into the game comfortable in the knowledge that only positioning in the table was at stake as both had already qualified. However, it didn’t necessarily feel like either was in the mood to take the foot off the gas in an entertaining encounter.
Despite a second-minute Ryan Mahon free, Shelmaliers got off to a fantastic start against the elements when Eoghan Nolan collected possession just inside the ‘45, used his pace and the space on the left of goal and flashed low across Eamonn Furlong to the Rapps net.
Ross Banville almost got though a minute later but ended up doing a fine job popping over under pressure from the edge of the ‘20.
Mahon kept Rapparees in touch with a string of points, while Ciarán O’Shaughnessy and James Cash registered for Shelmaliers, but it was level at 1-3 to 0-6 after 18 minutes.
Mahon’s seventh point gave his side their second lead, but it lasted just seconds as good work by Banville sent Seán Keane-Carroll in on goal and the rangy attacker made no mistake with a crisp finish past Eamonn Furlong.
Shelmaliers didn’t score for ten minutes after that second major and it looked like Rapparees might just about build an interval lead when Kevin Ryan, Alan Tobin, Mahon and Lenny Connolly all registered to make it 0-11 to 2-3.
Yet there was one more first period twist and it came when Keane-Carroll committed defenders and found Brian Malone on the run. With only Furlong to beat, the experienced Shels man didn’t connect cleanly but it was to his benefit as the strike gave the off-balance Rapps ‘keeper no chance.
The pick of his side’s forwards on the day, Keane-Carroll extended Shelmaliers’ lead after the resumption but Alan Tobin got away in the 32nd minute and batted powerfully past Brian Murphy.
Three third quarter points was not exactly what the Hollymount men were looking for but they did eventually put a few scores together.
When Conor Hearne grabbed his second point after coming off the bench, Shelmaliers led by 3-11 to 1-15 in the 53rd minute. Yet they added just a single Joe Kelly free in the time remaining.
The key score came with five minutes left after a superb Darragh Pepper run ended with a flip pass and bullet batted finish by Mahon.
Kevin Foley put the Rapps two up in added time and it was fitting that Mahon, scorer of 1-14, ended the game with another converted dead-ball.
While the win left the Enniscorthy side with a District derby in the quarters, it will be a local rivalry tie for Shelmaliers against Oylegate-Glenbrien.
Rapparees: Eamonn Furlong; Dillon Redmond, Liam Ryan, Mel Doyle; Jack Kelly, Ricky Fox, James Peare; Lenny Connolly (0-1), Kevin Foley (0-1); Kevin Ryan (0-1), Ryan Mahon (1-14, 0-11 frees), Nick Doyle; Aaron Ronan, Alan Tobin (1-1), Darragh Pepper. Subs. - Tom Wall for Redmond (31), Ben Edwards for M. Doyle (31), Anthony Roche for Ronan (45), Ed Tobin for Connolly (50).
Shelmaliers: Brian Murphy; Andre O’Brien, Eoin Doyle, Ciarán Walsh; Conor Walsh, Glen Malone, Jody Donohoe; Ciarán O’Shaughnessy (01), Simon Donohoe; James Cash (0-2), Brian Malone (1-0), Seán Keane-Carroll (1-3); Eoghan Nolan (1-0), Conor Byrne, Ross Banville (0-3, 2 frees). Subs. - Conor Hearne (0-2) for Byrne (40), Joe Kelly (0-1 free) for Banville (53), Tommy Barron for G. Malone (60).
Referee: Gearóid McGrath (St. James’).
Eoin Doyle of Shelmaliers trying to steal a march on Lenny Connolly (Rapparees).
Liam Ryan of Rapparees tackles Ciarán O’Shaughnessy.