Fast start crucial
Holmes' troops triumph on the road
A fast start from Castletown proved crucial in the end as they edged St. Martin's in the New Ross Standard Under-14 football Division 1 championship in Piercestown on Thursday.
Castletown 5-8 St Martin's 3-6
The Gorey District side flew out of the blocks with 4-1 in the first ten minutes and were able to hang on to victory despite coming under pressure from their spirited hosts in the second period.
The James Holmes-led players have taken on the style of the county star with powerful, direct running ingrained in their make-up. They exhibited that quality as early as the second minute as the impressive Mark Boyle thundered through the home defence and netted.
Seán Og Stafford laid off for Seán Dowling to grab a second goal two minutes later and, had Adam Feery not brilliantly saved from Og Stafford moments later, the early damage could have been even worse.
Dowling and Mark Doyle combined for Boyle to smash home a second goal and, after the goalscorer added a free, he was involved again when providing the assist for Darragh Canavan for goal number four.
Trailing by 4-1 to nil, St. Martin's notched their first point in the 12th minute through Conor Stafford and added a goal five minutes later through Seán Roche with an accurate long-range strike.
However, Castletown finished the period on the front foot and, following a pair of points each from Boyle and Doyle, Saul McGirr chipped in with an accurate low shot to the bottom left corner.
Trailing by 5-5 to 1-1 at half-time, St. Martin's began to dominate the middle third of the field and goaled when James Berry fed Ben Morris who smashed a shot in off the underside of the crossbar.
Following an Alex Murphy point the Wexford District boys continued to push on at the other end and added minors from Roche (two) and Conor Kelly before Joe Barrett slid to the net soccer style (5-6 to 3-4).
Castletown came under plenty of pressure in the last ten minutes but defended superbly. They also picked off scores on the counter-attack with Boyle and Canavan cancelling out Stafford and Roche points as the north county side held on to take the spoils.
As an aside, both of these clubs fielded two teams again last Thursday. It's fantastic to see young lads playing the games rather than a team having 15 substitutes at the start of the season, a number that would inevitably dwindle without them getting game minutes.
Castletown: Dylan Goland; Andy Kinsella, Seán O'Loughlin, Sam Cody; Kevin Cleary, Brian O'Leary, Dylan Farrell; Darragh Canavan (1-0), Seán Dowling (1-1); Seán Og Stafford, Mark Boyle (2-4, 0-2 frees), Mark Doyle (0-2 frees); Alex Murphy (0-1), Joe Barrett, Saul McGirr (1-0). Subs. - Seán O'Hagan for Og Stafford (31), Niall Roche for Kinsella (31), Kinsella for Cody, inj. (33), also Darragh Heffernan.
St. Martin's: Adam Feery; Tom McDermott, Shane Walsh, Conor Doyle; Oisín Waters, David Codd, Cillian Corkery; Conor Devereux, Conor Stafford (0-2, 1 free); Seán Roche (1-3), Conor Kelly (0-1), Ben Morris (1-0); James Berry, David Cantwell, Joe Barrett (1-0).
Referee: Brendan O'Brien (St. Fintan's).