Club Notes: 13th November 2018
Shamrocks GAA Club Notes (Kindly sponsored by Allen Engineering & Agri Sales Ltd).
Junior Football Final, Shamrocks 0-12, Mount Sion 2-9.
When reporting on any game involving one’s own club, I’m sure most people will find it hard to be neutral or dispassionate about it, especially when a county title is at stake. With about ten minutes to go in last Saturday’s long awaited Junior football final in Walsh Park the referee in charge, Tom Mansfield, decided to change the course of the game by awarding a penalty which was at best, dubious, and at worst, totally unjustified. But to go back to the start, Shamrocks enjoyed the best of the early exchanges, and points from Bernie Kelleher from placed balls, and two from Colm Roche gave us a 4 points to 1 lead. Though the football was at times scrappy and error ridden, with neither side anywhere near their best, at half time the score was Shamrocks 0-5, Mount Sion 0-2, Chris Murphy getting our last score of the half with a fine point. Our backs were generally on top, but we weren’t getting the best out of our forwards, and the general feeling among the large group of Shamrock supporters who travelled the 100 mile round trip was we should have been further ahead. Mount Sion had a more determined look about them in the second half, and they registered three of the first four points before Colm restored a two point lead with about ten minutes left on the clock. Then a long ball which sailed over the full back’s head was whistled by the referee, and to everybody’s shock and amazement, he indicated a penalty. Now first of all, he made this decision from around forty yards out the field, he never consulted the umpires, and from my vantage point our full back Tom O’ Donovan and his opponent weren’t even in the square, but were probably a couple of yards outside it. And apart from the usual bit of jostling, nobody saw any foul committed. I really believe that the only man in Walsh Park who had any idea why that decision was made was the referee. Martin F. O’ Neill duly dispatched the penalty, and totally against the run of play, we were a point behind. To give our lads credit, Edward Lonergan and Colm got us back in front again, but a free by that man O’ Neill left the scores level, and to make matters worse, he had a close in free to win the game at the end, but pulled his shot wide. Confusion then reigned for a while, as the announcer informed us there would be a replay, which both sets of players clearly didn’t want, and after a lot of discussion, two periods of ten minutes were decided on. At this stage it was obvious to me that Mount Sion looked the fitter team, which was entirely predictable considering it was 9 weeks since our last championship match, and a week since theirs! Although Chris Murphy struck the first point of extra time with a free, Mount Sion went into the second period of extra time leading by a point. We did get one great opportunity of a goal in that time, but Edward Lonergan shot just wide of the post. We conceded another point in the second half of extra time before a long ball from a free from that man O’ Neill again, somehow ended up in the net. Again we rallied, and points from Colm and Eoin Murphy completed the scoring to leave us three points down when the final whistle went, and we were to regret another great goal opportunity which Padraig Ahearne ( who had a fine game) missed. So defeat was our lot, and we congratulate Mount Sion who were sporting and gracious in victory. But for as long as I’ll draw breath, I’ll never forget that (and I’m choosing my words carefully here) bizarre decision that cost us a county title in normal time. Our lads gave everything they had, and despite the penalty setback, tried hard to the end, but they will know that this was a title they should have won, but some terrible shooting and equally bad passing cost us scoring opportunities, and that will be a regret as this performance was well short of their winning Western final display. It’s a long road back, but I know they have the character to go one better next year. Panel; Ritchie Murphy, Padraig Roche, Thomas O’ Donovan, Brian Harnedy, Cathal Herlihy, Shane Roche, Adam Crawford, John Paul Lucey, Stephen Lucey, Billy Hynes, Colm Roche (0-6), Chris Murphy (0-2), Edward Hynes, Bernie Kelleher (0-2), Padraig Ahearne, Edward Lonergan (0-1), Eoin Murphy (0-1), Liam Motherway, Kieran Crawford, Sean Murphy, Joe Leahy, Ivan O’ Neill, Tim Lenehan, Liam Dalton, Tom Roche, Alan Kelly, Martin Delaney, Michael Lucey, Shane Harnedy, Eamonn Forbes, Ciaran O’ Keeffe, Jack Crawford, Tom Goulding, Padraig Tobin, John A. Kelly.
I must thank selectors Declan Butler, Seamie Tobin, Dan Casey, and Trainer Noel Crowley for their great efforts, and it was heartening to see such a fine crowd at the game and also at the after match meal in Lawlors Hotel afterwards. I know the lads fully appreciated the support. We’ll recover from this setback, don’t let anyone underestimate the spirit in our club.