Cumann Pheadaír Naofa 0-10
Newry Shamrocks 2-18
After a long-enforced break, the senior hurlers finally got their Div. 1 campaign off to a start… not the start they would have looked for, but this was new territory for the Blues. Newry Shamrocks were fully deserving of the win and it could have been more only for a string of missed scores in the opening 15-20 minutes. In deed the Ulster Junior championship runners up found themselves behind in the first 6 minutes when Niall McParland in the opening minute & a John O’Kane free five minutes later saw the hosts take an early lead. Shamrocks were guilty of six wides inside the quarter and it took a Ruairí Campbell point from midfield to open their account as Sean Campbell levelled matters just inside the quarter time mark.
The game was a hard-hitting contest with both sides looking to put daylight between themselves and their opponents. Both Oisín Kelly in the corner & Shane Rooney at wing back put in very impressive performance in their debuts for the home side as did Tomas Magill in the middle of the park, whilst Shamrocks Matthew Mee, Billy Campbell & Niall Lennon kept the Blues under constant pressure. O’Kane pointed his second free at the end of the first quarter to put the Blues into a one point lead, but it was to be their last score for the next eleven minutes, as Sean & Ruairí Campbell put Newry into a commanding position pushing the visitors into a five point lead with less than five minutes to go. Cumann Pheadaír Naofa’s midfielder Tiernan Murphy scored a fine point from 50m out, but the Newry men increased their lead with an Artie McGuinness long range free, before Adrian Mee traded scores with John O’Kane in the dying moments of the half.
Half time score: Cumann Pheadaír Naofa 0-5 Newry Shamrocks 0-11
Sean Campbell, who was quickly staking his claim as the man of the match, soloed through in the opening seconds of the half to crash the sliotar past Anthony O’Brien. Shamrocks scored a series of points through Campbell (again) and Odhran McCaffery over the next 15 minutes as the blues were guilty of a giving away soft frees, which were duly punished.
Further disaster struck on the 26th minute when Shamrock John Cleary gained possession at the edge of the square, turned and riffled the sliotar to the top of the net. The blues had a mountain to climb and struggled to make headway into the shamrocks half as they were guilty of some stray passes and were caught in possession as the visitor’s experience was paying off. Tiernan Murphy & second half sub Ali Higgins pulled back three points for the hosts as the game quickly approached injury time. Campbell once more pointed from a free before Darryl Freer grabbed the last score of the Day for Cumann Pheadaír Naofa.
Overall, Sean Mallon, Tom Daly & Liam Boyle were pleased with the team’s first venture into Div1 and acknowledged that it was new territory playing teams at a higher level than last year, the team put in a good performance overall and will have gained the experience of playing at a higher level.
Scorers: J. O’Kane 0-4, A Higgins 0-2, N McParland 0-1, T Murphy 0-1, T Magill 0-1, D Freer 0-1.
Shamrocks: S Campbell 1-8, R Campbell 0-3, J Cleary 1-0, E McGuinness 0-2, A McGuiness 0-1, A Mee 0-1, C Sheehan 0-1, O McCaffery 0-1, M McKey 0-1