Shinrone keep quest for semi-final place alive with impressive win
Shinrone maintained their quest for a place in the semi-final of the Offaly senior hurling championship with an important victory over Birr in Coolderry on Saturday.
Molloy Environmental Systems Senior Hurling Championship
Shinrone were good measure for their victory after they took control of the game in the second half in impressive fashion and outgunned their rivals with a strong overall team display.
Both sides now have four points from their four games with one round of games left but with Shinrone to face Kinnitty and Birr to play champions St Rynagh’s in that final round, Shinrone look to be in the stronger position to battle for one of those places in the last four.
This was a game played with real championship fervour and both sides were really up for the game. It was played at a good pace throughout but Shinrone were able to maintain the pace better and stamped their authority on the contest in the second half.
Birr had started the game better and were on top in the opening quarter. They had more possession in the first half but Shinrone seemed to be able to put scores on the board that bit easier when they got the chance and at the interval the sides were level 0-10 each.
They were still level four minutes into the second half when Jason Sampson netted Shinrone’s first goal and 21 minutes later they had built up a 12 point lead before Eoghan Cahill pointed five frees in succession late in the game to cut the final gap down to seven points. In the event of scoring difference coming into play after the final round of games those five points could yet make a difference.
Shinrone will be very pleased with this victory as defeat would have put them out of contention to make the knock out stages. They were a little slow to settle but they grew in confidence the longer the game went on. They used the short puck out well and Birr didn’t really put enough pressure on that which allowed Shinrone to build out from the back.
Once that first goal went in Shinrone were quick to push home their advantage. They followed up the goal with a couple of quick points and then four points in succession early in the final quarter gave them the breathing space they needed to hold on for victory.
After making a good start Birr will be disappointed at the outcome. Their cause wasn’t helped by the loss of two members of their half back line through injury in the first half. Sean Ryan and Barry Harding are also two of Birr’s more experienced players and both were badly missed after their departures. The alterations they had to make didn’t help the team and they struggled after that.
Their dependence on Eoghan Cahill for scores was another problem and he accounted for 14 of their 18 points, which speaks for itself. They never really looked like raising a green flag and their total of just two goals in their four games to date highlights an issue they will have to sort out going forward.
Birr did start well with Eoghan Cahill pointing after just 28 seconds. Killian Sampson levelled from a free but Birr got the next four scores, three from Cahill (two frees) and another from Morgan Watkins. D.J. McLoughlin pointed for Shinrone but Eoghan Cahill’s free restored the four point lead.
Shinrone got the next four scores through Jason Sampson, Adrian Cleary and two Killian Sampson frees. Dylan Quegan and Colm Mulrooney put Birr back in front and Jason Sampson and Killian Sampson (free) exchanged points with Eoghan Cahill ( two frees) before Paul Cleary and Jason Sampson pointed to bring the sides level at 0-10 each at half time.
Killian Sampson put Shinrone ahead for the first time a minute after the restart but Eoghan Cahill’s free levelled matters again. Then after four minutes a towering delivery from Killian Sampson landed at the edge of the Birr square, where, under pressure, Brian Mullins was unable to hold onto the ball and Jason Sampson forced the loose ball over the line. He and Adrian Cleary quickly added points to move Shinrone five points clear.
Eoghan Cahill and Dylan Quegan pointed for Birr with Jason Sampson and Killian Sampson replying in turn to leave Shinrone 1-15 to 0-13 ahead at the water break. Three Killian Sampson frees and a Donal Morkan point pushed Shinrone nine points clear before they put the icing on the cake with five minutes left when Adrian Cleary picked out the unmarked D.J. McLoughlin and he fired low to the net. Eoghan Cahill pointed five frees in a row late in the game to leave seven points between them at the end.
Both sides now go into the final round of games knowing they have to win to keep their championship hopes alive.
SHINRONE: Eamon Cleary; Peter Cleary, Darren O’Meara, Joe Cleary; Declan Cleary, Dan Doughan, Dara Maher; Adrian Cleary, Killian Sampson; Conor Doughan, Sean Cleary, Donal Morkan; Paul Cleary, Jason Sampson, D.J. McLoughlin. Subs. Michael Cleary (for Darren O’Meara, half time), Darren Crean (for Dan Doughan, 43 mins), Eoin Carroll (for Dara Maher, 54 mins), Michael Cordial (for Donal Morkan, 57 mins).
BIRR: Brian Mullins; Jimmy Irwin, Brian Watkins, Padraic Watkins; Sean Ryan, Barry Harding, Stephen Lonergan; Rory Carty, Oisin Murphy; Brendan Murphy, Dylan Quegan, Colm Mulrooney; Eoghan Cahill, Morgan Watkins, Luke Nolan. Subs. Paddy Mullins (for Sean Ryan, 19 mins), Michael Verney (for Barry Harding, 30 mins), Lochlann Quinn (for Paddy Mullins, 46 mins), Niall Lyons (for Brendan Murphy, 48 mins).
REFEREE: Shane Guinan (Drumcullen)
MAN OF THE MATCH
The Sampsons, Killian and Jason, were central to Shinrone’s victory and it is full forward Jason who gets the vote here. He finished with 1-5 from play and it was his goal which turned the game firmly in Shinrone’s favour.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Shinrone’s first goal four minutes into the second half was the decisive score. The sides were level at the time and little had separated them before that but over the following 21 minutes Shinrone outscored Birr 2-8 to 0-2 and victory was well in the bag.
This was a very competitive and keenly contested championship game but Shane Guinan kept control of it throughout. He communicated well with the players, used the advantage rule well and ensured the game kept moving at all times.
Shinrone have put themselves right back into the reckoning for the knock out stages with an impressive display. Having lost their previous two games they now face into their final game against Kinnitty knowing victory could put them into the semi-finals.
Shinrone face Kinnitty in their final group game while Birr have the daunting task of facing champions St Rynagh’s needing a victory to stay in contention for the semi-final places.
Coolderry hosted the game well. There was a good crowd present and they had parking well organised and there were plenty of stewards on duty. The pitch was a bit soft after a lot of rain but it held up well overall.
Wides; Shinrone 10 (2 in first half) Birr 12 (6 in first half)
Yellow Cards: Shinrone 2 (Darren O’Meara, Donal Morkan) Birr 0
Red Cards: None
Shinrone; Killian Sampson (0-9, 0-8 frees), Jason Sampson (1-5), D.J. McLoughlin (1-1), Adrian Cleary (0-2), Paul Cleary and Donal Morkan (0-1 each).
Birr; Eoghan Cahill (0-14, 0-11 frees), Dylan Quegan (0-2), Morgan Watkins and Colm Mulrooney (0-1 each).
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