Birr 3-24 Shinrone 1-12

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Lone Shark
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Birr 3-24 Shinrone 1-12

Post by Lone Shark » Mon Oct 03, 2005 11:35 am

One could very easily start with a brief synopsis of the game, or a quick summary of how each team performed, but when a game has a scoreline of this nature, it’s clearly not necessary. This game was everything the result says it was – an utter mismatch between two sides that dwell in completely different worlds when it comes to hurling ability.

This is not meant to denigrate Shinrone in any way, who were worthy of their slot in the last four this year, and hurled for long stretches with the same passion that had kept them in the championship into October. But they are a village team after all, comprising half a parish, and on Sunday they were meeting a Birr team who are pretty much on top form, and with thirteen of their fifteen starters having played senior intercounty hurling for Offaly. Even Birr supporters in attendance would have hoped that Shinrone would have found enough in themselves to stay in touch throughout and leave the outcome uncertain going into the last quarter of an hour, but it was always unlikely, and secretly this outcome would have been feared and expected by all.

The first twenty minutes were deeply engaging, and highly encouraging from a Shinrone point of view. Points were swiftly exchanged from the off, and the first five minutes saw a point scored per minute, Rory Hanniffy getting the “decider” as it were. His second significant contribution to the game followed two minutes later, and appeared to set his team on the path to a comfortable win. An insightful pass from the right hand side by Simon Whelahan found Paul Molloy pushing forward from midfield some 25 metres out from goal, and he got his shot away, only for it to be blocked and break out to Hanniffy on the left. Rory burst past two defenders who were off balance, and finished high to the roof of the net.

Michael Cordial hit the first of six placed balls over the bar to eat into the lead, but a typical Birr move on ten minutes doubled the advantage. Rory was again involved, picking up the ball in midfield, drawing players onto him and finding Barry Whelahan in space out on the left. He in turn struck an inch perfect pass into an unmarked Gary Hanniffy about 20 metres out, and his low shot raised another green flag from the umpire at that end of the field.

Shinrone needed to dig deep at this point, and to be fair to them, they roused themselves with a fantastic ten minute spell from here. A Seán Ormond run from midfield left several players trailing in his wake on 14 minutes, and once he drew Paul Cleary out from his square, his pass found the now unmarked Martin Keeshan, who finished past Brian Mullins. Further points from Pat Maloney, Eddie Bevans and Cordial kept the scoreboard operators in action, though Simon and Barry Whelahan each hit points to keep their side two in front.

The game swung completely on the next three minutes, and turned a potentially absorbing and competitive game into a formality. A high puckout was doubled on brilliantly in midfield by Declan Loughnane for Shinrone, and the ball ran to the edge of the square, where Pat Maloney hit another first time ball at the goals. Mullins was well placed however, and Shinrone’s chance to take the lead had passed. Two more points were hit over almost immediately by Birr, before Rory Hanniffy was involved in his side’s third goal. He ran down the left hand side, evading a lot of defender’s attention before reaching the bye line and playing a superb cross field ball to Simon Whelahan, who was waiting unmarked at the far post. He had the time to catch and shoot at his ease, and was never going to miss. A potential one point lead had turned into a seven point deficit in a matter of 120 seconds for Shinrone, and from there Birr started to move the ball around a lot more easily, and the points began to accumulate. Five more were added before the break, and at 3-12 to 1-8 at half time, the game was all but over.

The second half needed a big start from Shinrone to be remotely competitive, and it never came. Birr had nine more points registered inside twelve minutes, and the closing twenty odd minutes took the form of a practise match. 3-24 is a big enough tally in any man’s language, but when one factors in the fact that Birr brought on five subs and had 3-23 on the board with fifteen minutes still to play, it’s clear that they could have scored much more if they were so inclined.

Looking forward to Sunday week, and the much anticipated clash with Coolderry in the final, Birr’s main concern will be their profligacy in front of goal, which was certainly a feature of this game. Fifteen wides is a lot of wasted possession in any game, but it has to be said that several of those wides were highly scorable chances that were squandered, in many cases when the guilty party was not under a lot of pressure. But on the other hand, their distribution of the sliothar among themselves is without equal, and with another comfortable win on their backs, they’ll clearly be installed as comfortable favourites for the decider. Nothing new there then.


Birr: Brian Mullins; Neil Rogers, Paul Cleary, John Paul O’Meara; Brian Whelehan, Joe Errity, Niall Claffey; Barry Whelehan (0-1), Paul Molloy (0-1); Rory Hanniffy (1-4), Gary Hanniffy (1-4), Stephen Brown (0-3); Dylan Hayden (0-2), Simon Whelahan (1-6, 0-4 frees), Michael Dwane (0-2).
Subs: Michael Verney for Neil Rogers, Donal Franks for John Paul O’Meara, Sean Ryan for Michael Dwane, Declan Pilkington (0-1) for Paul Molloy, Liam Power for Stephen Brown.

Shinrone: Thomas Brereton; Colin O’Meara, John Doughan, John Cleary; Mark Morkan, Willie Comerford, Denis Doughan; Declan Loughnane, Brendan Keeshan; Eddie Bevans (0-3), Daniel Hoctor, Michael Cordial (0-7, 0-5 frees, 0-1 ‘65); Sean Ormond (0-1), Martin Keeshan (1-0), Pat Maloney (0-1).
Sub: Thomas Hannon for John Cleary, Darren O’Meara for Brendan Keeshan, Kevin Reid for Declan Loughnane.

Referee: Brian Gavin

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