Kings of the castle
Amalgamation still in Minor title race
Castle-Craan Gaels kept their Wexford People Minor hurling Roinn 1 championship hopes alive with a critical victory over Macamore Gaels in Craanford on Wednesday.
Castle-Craan Gaels 6-15 Macamore Gaels 2-9
With games against Ferns St. Aidan's and Rapparees, who sit immediately above and below the fifth place combination of Liam Mellows and Craanford, still to come, the Gorey district duo can, at worst, force a play-off for a quarter-final spot.
This result was not in doubt for long as the hosts impressed from the off, racing into a 3-4 to 0-2 lead after just 14 minutes. Jack Butler made several superb saves to keep the score down, one of those coming from a Jamie Doyle rocket in the opening minute.
There was nothing the goal-tender for the Buffers Alley/Ballygarrett combination could do to deny the impressive Eoin Cullen from firing low to the net from Darragh Brooks' pass in the ninth minute.
After Robbie Brooks clipped over his first point, Danny Doyle pulled to the net at the second attempt after more Butler heroics had kept Cullen out in the build-up. When county Under-17 star Cullen flashed home a second goal, his side were well on the way to victory.
As the half wore on, Macamore started to look more dangerous. John Furlong was superb, picking off three first period points. Jamie Dempsey-Doyle registered a fine point and Jamie Warren's kicked score caused some debate over whether it had went through a gap in the net or over the crossbar.
Castle-Craan Gaels survived that call to go in 3-9 to 0-5 in front at the interval. It was more competitive for a while after the resumption with Darragh Hammel and Jordan Redmond scoring for Macamore while James Smyth, Cullen and Darragh Brooks pointed at the other end.
However, a fine finish to the net by Jamie Doyle was followed by a Pádraig Redmond goal to increase the Castle-Craan lead to 20 (5-12 to 0-7). Shortly after he pointed, John Breen's ball was batted, by Thomas Furlong, as far as Hammel and the Buffers Alley clubman netted.
Scores from Shane Halpin and Cullen preceded a late James Smyth major. There was still time for a deflected Gavin Morris shot to fly past Furlong but it was too little, too late to deny Castle-Craan.
Castle-Craan Gaels: Thomas Furlong; Pádraig Redmond (1-0), Martin Doyle (capt.), Jack Kehoe; Ross Cody, Frank Roche, Stuart Byrne; Jim Kenny, Jamie Doyle (1-0); Oisín Condren, Robbie Brooks (0-2), Shane Halpin (0-2); Danny Doyle (1-1), Eoin Cullen (2-8, 0-2 frees), Darragh Brooks (0-1). Subs. - Eoin Doyle for Condren (31), James Smyth (1-1) for D. Doyle (31), Condren for D. Brooks (40), Paddy Doyle for Redmond (55), also Alan Kelly.
Macamore Gaels: Jack Butler; Billy Dunne, John Furlong (0-4, 1 free, 1 '65), Barry Doyle; Darragh O'Toole, Gavin Morris (1-0), Cillian Doyle; Liam Cousins, Conor Dowling; John Breen (0-1), Conor Mangan, Jamie Warren (0-1); Jamie Dempsey-Doyle (0-1), Darragh Hammel (capt., 1-1), Cian Fortune. Subs. - Jordan Redmond (0-1) for O'Toole, inj. (23), Jack Quinn for Warren (45), Gearóid Redmond for Fortune (45), O'Toole for Dempsey-Doyle (52).
Referee: Joe Kelly (Naomh Eanna).