All Britain Hurling Shield Final
Wolfe Tones 2-12
Roger Casements 0-06
By Martin Mannering
at Pairc na hEireann
Liverpool’s Wolfe Tones captured the All Britain Hurling Shield with a comprehensive victory over Roger Casements at a bright but chilly Pairc na hEireann on Sunday.
The scoreline somewhat belies the story of the match, however, as Casements enjoyed plenty of possession but failed to convert it into scores.
Indeed, the Coventry side started much the sharper but their policy of dropping it into the full forward line proved fruitless, as Sam Waters, Ruari Kinny and Finian O Callaghan formed an impenetrable barrier in the Liverpool full back line.
They were ably backed up by an equally vigilant half back line and James Campbell, who played the sweeper role to perfection.
John Reidy put Wolfe Tones in front with their first meaningful attack after three minutes, but Casements continued to pour forward.
Their only reward, though, was an eighth minute point from a Chris Convery 65 on seven minutes and Tones soon began to find their stride.
When they did they made full use of the strong wind and John Walsh picked out David Bury with a searching pass and he fired over.
Next up was Aiden Slattery who weaved his way in from the left and pointed from the tightest of angles. Denis O Neill and Jason Patton now had a handle on the midfield area and the supply to the front division increased.
O Neill’s pass again found the dangerous Bury, who hit his second of the day, before Campbell briefly abandoned his sweeping duties to hit two points in a minute to put his side five clear.
The second of those came after a wonderful piece of fielding and lay off by David Coughlan. Chris Convery pulled one back for Casements but the response was swift and telling.
Congratulations to all of our Hurling team and management on winning the All Britain Hurling Shield!! Match report… https://t.co/ZL5zspk8Ji
— Liverpool WolfeTones (@Lpoolwolfetones) November 12, 2017
John Reidy embarked on a driving solo run, drawing defenders and then offloading to Bury in open space, and he buried the ball in the bottom corner.
Casements’ persistence with hitting in to an overpowered full forward line continued to produce nothing and the quick accurate returns forced more pressure on their defensive unit.
Pressure that inevitably caused them to concede frees and Jason Patton put three of them over to stretch the lead to ten in the dying minutes.
Campbell hit a peach from midfield before being hauled down on another sortie which Patton duly converted to send them in with a healthy 1-11 to 0-2 interval lead.
With the strong wind behind to come, there was still a chance that Casements could mount a meaningful challenge but it was going to need a good start.
They were probably going to require a change of tactics as well, but as it transpired neither happened. Indeed, the second half never really got going at all as both teams struggled evermore with the heavy conditions.
They became literally bogged down and when any decent scoring chances did come they were squandered at both ends.
Chris Convery did convert a third minute free for Casements, but remarkably it was the only score in a forgettable third quarter.
Eighteen minutes in, the game was settled. John Reidy’s pile driver drew an excellent save from Tony Joyce but when Aiden Slattery collected the rebound he was upended as he prepared to strike. Jason Conway promptly stepped up and buried the penalty in the bottom corner and that was pretty much that.
The winners shut up shop from that point and though Convery, Joe Meagher and Ian Dwyer hit consolation points for the Coventry lads the result was never in doubt.
It was certainly not lack of effort that saw Casements come up short, but they showed a certain degree of inexperience and may have been wiser to go for scores from further out when the deliveries in to the overcrowded forward area were failing.
Wolfe Tones on the other hand played a smarter and more varied game in that opening half to lay the platform for their win.
The defence was rock solid all game and James Campbell was superb throughout. Up front, John Reidy, Aiden Slattery and David Bury posed problems from start to finish.
WOLFE TONES: Stephen Hennessey; Sam Waters, Ruari Kinny, Finnian O Callaghan; John Walsh, Colm Larkin, David Coughlan, Denis O Neill, Jason Patton (1-4, 4f, 1pen), John Reidy (0-1), Stephen Grace, Tor Kinny, Aiden Slattery (0-2), David Bury (1-2). SUBS: Sean Ward for Tor Kinny, James Hammersley for David Bury, Jude Millar for John Walsh, Bernard McHugh for Aiden Slattery.
ROGER CASEMENTS: Tony Joyce; Steven Clarke, Mark Nolan, Lewis Fairgreaves; Michael Holland, Joe Meagher (0-1), Jack Keogh; Kieran Phelan, Chris Convery (0-4f); Ciaran McMullan, Cathal Stakelum, Ciaran Boyle; Larry Whelan, Ian Dwyer (0-1), John Hughes SUBS: Brian O Longaigh for Larry Walsh, Ciaran Glennon for Cathal Stakelum, Ronan Hoey for Ciaran McMullan.