WOLFE TONES................1-12 BRUREE....................0-11
by Michael O Connor.
The Shannon renaissance continues in hurling circles. A return to the senior ranks secured followed by an appearance in the Minor A final is now complimented by this hard earned, hard hitting win against a determined Bruree side in Kilmallock.
Fitzgerald park, Kilmallock was in remarkable good condition when one considers the heavy overnight rain. The tense nature of the semi final threatened to escalate on a number of occasions as the referee entered eight different names into his notepad over the course of the hour's action. The elements were important in this game and Wolfe tones had the stiff breeze at their backs for the opening half. However, the omens were far from positive for James Carrig's men after 22 minutes when they were level on (0-4) apiece. A powerful start from Wolfe Tones saw Daithi O Connell, Aron Shanagher and Rory Hayes who was to provide the match winning score all hit minors before Bruree captain Michael Lane opened the Limerick sides account. A potential huge blow visited Wolfe Tones when experienced centre forward Declan O Rourke was forced to retire with a suspected broken thumb at the end of the first quarter. Jack Cunningham entered the fray at this stage.
Aaron Cunningham with his only score of the day left his colleagues (0-4) to (0-1) ahead but that was shortlived as Bruree's Shane Mullane and the O Dea's Jimmy and Gerard levelled proceedings. Despite this impressive short lived showing from Bruree it was Wolfe Tones who finished the half the stronger with five unanswered and much needed points. Ben O Gorman, Aron Shanagher (2) and Daithi O Connell with his second score left it (0-8) to (0-4) before a chest pumping long range score at the stroke of half time from Barry Loughnane from inside his own half gave Wolfe Tones a deserved and much required (0-9) to (0-4) interval lead.
Many were speculating that this five point lead might not be enough for Wolfe Tones if Bruree were able to grab a stranglehold on the game. This fear appeared well grounded with early scores from Michael Lane and Kieran O Dea after just three minutes into the new half. The Wolfe tones management introduced Gary O Connell for Declan McCarthy and the youngest of the O Connell clan went on to offer much to the eventual result. Wolfe Tones managed just one score in the opening ten minutes of the second half courtesy of a Aron Shanagher free. Luckily for the Shannon men Bruree managed just one more score than Wolfe Tones in this period.
The vital score which was Rory Hayes grabbing the game's only goal came about after great work from Brian O Connell who made the opening and crossed the ball to Hayes who finished to the Bruree net past Daniel Lane after 40 minutes. Wolfe Tones were now (1-10) to (0-6) ahead and with little evidence that Bruree were in the mood to score it was a case of holding on and not conceeding a run of scores.
The eight yellow cards were flashed in the last quarter as the physical stakes were upped considerably by both sides. Bruree hit three Kieran O Dea scores in the following ten minutes but could not break down the vastly experienced Wolfe Tones defensive sextet. 16 minutes elapsed from Rory Hayes's goal to the next Shannon score as Shanagher popped over a 20 metre free five minutes from time. When it looked as it was a done deal for Wolfe Tones, Bruree rallied one final time with two scores from Michael Lane and Kieran O Dea and now only a goal was the difference between winning and losing as the game entered the final minute of normal time with two minutes of additional time announced. The final free of consequence was awarded to Shannon and Aron Shanagher was on hand to leave four points between the side and secure passage to the final.
For Wolfe Tones when this trip comes to its end they must accept that senior survival is all that counts and use these games to build for the 2016 county senior championship. Best for the better balanced winners were Jamie Roughan, Dermot O Rourke, Barry Loughnane, Brian O Connell, Gary O Connell, Aron Shanagher and Rory Hayes.
WOLFE TONES: Paul Hogan, Declan McCarthy, Jamie Roughan, Dermot O Rourke, Barry Loughnane (0-1), Bobby McPhillips, Brian O Connell, Daithi O Connell (0-2), John Guilfoyle, Ben O Gorman (0-1), Declan O Rourke, Rory Hayes (1-1), Aron Shanagher (0-6), Aaron Cunningham (0-1), Kevin McCafferty. Subs: Jack Cunningham for Declan O Rourke, Gary O Connell for McCarthy, Andy Shanagher for McCafferty, Dean Devanney for Hayes.
BRUREE: Daniel Lane, John Paul Murphy, Kieran O Rourke, Patrick Deady, Patrick Lane, Ger O Brien, Shane Mullane (0-1), Jimmy O Dea (0-1), Patrick Carey, Kieran O Dea (0-5) , James Vincent O Brien, Ger O Dea (0-1), Donal Deady, John O Brien, Michael Lane (0-3). Subs: Brian O Rourke for Deady, Cian McCarthy for G O Dea.
Referee: Thomas Walsh (Waterford)