Shelmaliers 2-11 Kilanerin 2-11

Wing-back Simon Donohoe came to the rescue of first-time finalists Shelmaliers with an injury-time equaliser to deny seven-time champions Kilanerin in the Wexford SFC final at Innovate Wexford Park on Sunday.

An intriguing tie looked to be heading Kilanerin's way when Niall Hughes netted to power them clear by 2-11 to 2-08 on 50 minutes.

But Shelmaliers overcame being reduced to 14-men late on as they recovered with a pointed free from Craig McCabe before two late conversions by the outstanding Donohoe forced a replay next Saturday.

Favourites Shelmaliers made the early running as captain Eoin Doyle put them 0-02 to no score clear inside seven minutes.

But Kilanerin's disciplined defence held strong under severe pressure before transforming matters by 1-4 to 0-2 after 23 minutes, when Matty Forde instinctively boxed a Conor Devitt cross to the net after Forde had shared the scoring spoils with Niall Hughes.

Shelmaliers shook things up though when dramatically ending a 20 minute scoreless period by shooting two goals within a minute, as wing-back Donohoe powered an angled finish to the net on 27 minutes, before full-forward AJ Lehane followed moments later with a deft kick to help turn the tables by 2-03 to 1-04.

But honours were even at half-time at 1-06 to 2-03 after a couple of injury-time submissions from Forde, including a sublime conversion from play.

Intrigue built as a Craig McCabe free edged Shelmaliers back into the lead on the restart only for Kilanerin to seize back control after 38 minutes by 1-09 to 2-04 through Seán Forde, Niall Hughes and Peter Hughes.

Edges of seats were well and truly worn out as the Shels reclaimed the initiative by 2-08 to 1-09 on 46 minutes with a string of scores from McCabe, a free, Eoghan Nolan and Donohoe (2).

But the Shels looked to be in disarray when losing full-back James Cash to a second yellow-card as Forde posted two points before the former All Star intercepted a kick-out to help Niall Hughes net a 2-11 to 2-08 turnaround on 50 minutes.

Shelmaliers refused to lose heart however and lived to fight another day thanks to Donohoe's brilliant late intervention.

Shelmaliers: James Gordon; Ciarán O'Shaughnessy, James Cash, André O'Brien; Simon Donohoe (1-04), Glen Malone, Graham Staples; Eoghan Nolan (0-01), Brian Malone (0-01); Jody Donohoe, Eoin Doyle (capt., 0-02), Ross Banville; Conor Hearne, AJ Lehane (1-00), Craig McCabe (0-03fs).

Subs: Seán Keane-Carroll for Hearne (40); Aidan Cash for J Donohoe (51); Páraic O'Leary for Banville (58);

Kilanerin: Tom Hughes; Aidan Jones (capt.), Colm Kavanagh, Rhys Owley; Denis Jones, Gavin O'Toole, Mark Boland; Niall Hughes (1-03), Niall Breen; Páraic Hughes, Seán Forde (0-01), Peter Hughes (0-01); Dean O'Toole, Matty Forde (1-06, 0-02fs), Conor Devitt.

Subs: Mark Gethings for D Jones (42, black-card); Bobby Hughes for P Hughes (47); Emmett O'Toole for S Forde (47); Ben O'Connor for N Hughes (57, temp.); B O'Connor for D O'Toole (60).

Referee: John Carton (Monageer-Boolavogue).