Father and son figure on winning Cushinstown combination
The pre-match pessimism evident in the Castletown camp proved justified on Friday as the club's second string lost by 14 points to Rathgarogue-Cushinstown to leave their Enniscorthy Farm Systems Junior football championship prospects in disarray.
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown 3-13 Castletown 1-6
The eventual winners did nothing to bolster their opponents' self-esteem when they delivered the opening point of this Group B tie at St. Patrick's Park with less than 20 seconds on the clock, delivered by the influential Matthew Cody.
Though veteran Kevin Morris picked off a prompt reply high and handsome with his trusty left foot, this was the last time that the 41-year-old's team were destined to be on level terms as a must-win game slipped quickly away from their grasp.
The Ross District unit were eager to attack, with wing-back Jason Dunne leading the charge, showing impressive speed, passing ability and willingness to take on an occasional shot at goal.
He scored one point for Rathgarogue-Cushinstown among seven picked off in the space of ten crucial minutes, during which the game threatened to become a very one-sided procession.
It could well have been worse for the underdogs too, as Nicky Sinnott hit the crossbar above Seán Roche's head during this dizzying and decisive period.
Fair play to Castletown that they stemmed the tide as Morris rallied his troops to summon up three unanswered scores, the pick of them a long-range effort struck with authority by Jesse Foley.
But with Aaron Ryan taking a splinter off Roche's bar on the way to the final point of the half, the gap was five points at the interval and no one was betting on a revival by the men from the Wicklow border.
Instead, there was more interest in the fact that Rathgarogue-Cushinstown had a father and son pairing in their attack, with James Bolger taking the bragging rights ahead of young Daire. The wily dad, with two points already to his credit from the early exchanges, hit the ball off a post in the build-up to the opening score of the half, collected by substitute defender Mark Carroll.
Daire might have goaled but Roche pulled off a fine save to thwart him, though the netminder could do nothing to stop Aaron Ryan, Brendan Fitzpatrick and Nicky Sinnott (penalty) from finding the net.
His opposite number was beaten just the once, on 42 minutes, when Jimmy Fogarty rose to meet a free dropped into the danger area by fine young wing-back Oisín Condren with a big fist.
The three-pointer raised brief hopes of an unlikely revival but they mustered just one point, from Kevin Morris, in the closing quarter while Rathgarogue-Cushinstown continued on their merry way.
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown: Jonathan Kelly; Paddy Murphy, Paudie McGrath, Brian O'Neill; Jason Dunne (0-1), Ollie Bolger, Brian Cody; Matthew Cody (0-3), Bernard Furlong; Jimmy Whelan, James Bolger (0-2), Aaron Ryan (1-1); Daire Bolger, Brendan Fitzpatrick (1-4, 0-1 free), Nicky Sinnott (1-1). Subs. - Mark Carroll (0-1) for B. Cody (20), John Power for D. Bolger (53), Brendan O'Neill for Ryan (55).
Castletown: Seán Roche; Peter Fogarty, Paul Nugent, Seán Carty; Oisín Condren (0-1), John Carty, Sam Kennedy; Jimmy Fogarty (1-0), Jesse Foley (0-1); Liam Condren, Stephen Maloney (0-1), Robbie Brooks; Kevin Byrne, Kevin Morris (0-3), Ryan Murphy.
Referee: Martin Armstrong (HWH-Bunclody).