NEWRY Shamrock’s hurlers are through to the Ulster Junior Championship semi-final after Jordan Murphy’s headed goal was enough to kill off Sean Treacey’s.
Played in Crossmaglen on Saturday the sides locked at 0-5 a piece after 30 minutes, it was going to take a special moment of individual inspiration, or the touch of lady luck to put either of these sides into a semi-final meeting with the Antrim champions, Gort Na Mona next weekend and in the seventh minute of the second half, the Newry side got the rub of the green they so desperately sought, with the opening goal.
The first half started off well for the south Down side, rushing into an early 0-3 to 0-0 lead, with Conor McPolin opening the scoring inside the first minute and two other scores courtesy of Artie McGuinness and Ruairí Campbell. Danny Magee opened the Lurgan men’s account when he converted a forty-metre free at the end of a ten-minute spell of Newry dominance. Shamrocks looked certain to double their lead in the eighth minute when Campbell broke through a tough Sean Treacy’s defence, racing towards Declan Maher’s goals he unleashed a thunderous shot goalward, only to see Maher produce a fine save in response.
From the resulting save Treacy’s worked the sliotar up field and when Joe McKeever found space, he snatched a point to narrow the deficit. The Shamrocks men replied minutes later when Artie McGuinness expertly slotted over a 65', before adding another placed ball a little closer to the Lurgan side goals. In the remaining ten minutes Sean Treacy’s were now making good use of the wind advantage with Shay McStravick and Joe McKeever levelling the scores by the end of the half.
Sean Tracy’s blitzed the Newry side in the opening seven minutes with five points and they now had a comfortable five-point advantage. Shamrocks needed to get an inspirational score if they had intentions of a semi-final berth next week and when midfielder Ryan Courtney flighted a high lobbing shot into the Treacy’s square, the inrushing Conor McPolin and Jordan Murphy were quick to see a potential goal opportunity arise and as the sliotar fell from the sky it deflected off Murphy's helmet and into the goal.
McKeever grabbed the Armagh sides 11th score a minute later, with two points between the sides and just under 15 minutes to go both teams were eager to snatch the initiative and with the tempo and excitement starting to ramp up both sides were once more guilty of some scoreable wides.
Shamrocks wing forward Sean Campbell levelled the encounter with five minutes remaining, whilst up front Eoin McGuinness began to take the game by the scruff of the neck and started to stamp his authority on the game with three influential points. Mark Cribbin and Gary Courtney at the other end made some vital interceptions and last-minute tackles to deny Patrick Lyness, Danny Magee and Neil Corey of Sean Treacy’s. Shay McStravick had his sides last score, but it wasn’t enough as McGuinness, with his last score ensured got the Shamrocks over the line.
They advance to next week’s semi-final and hope that they can keep the dream alive of an Ulster final appearance.
Newry Shamrocks: R Sheehan, M Mee, G Courtney, M Cribbin, A Mee, A McGuinness (0-4), B Campbell, R Courtney (0-2), N Lennon, S Campbell (0-1), R Campbell (0-1), O McCafferty, J Murphy (1-0), E McGuinness (0-4), C McPolin (0-1). Subs: M McKey for McCafferty.
Sean Tracy’s: D Maher, B McDonald, C McCavanagh, R Sands, M Hamilton, A Carville, O McCann, R Magee, R Shine (0-1), J McKeever (0-3), N Corey (0-2), M Doran (0-1), D Magee (0-4), S McStravick (0-2), P Scullion. Subs: P Lyness for Scullion, (blood sub; C McCann for McCann)