One-point win for Castletown
Fethard fall agonisingly short
Castletown's resurgence continued apace on Saturday as they knocked Fethard out of the Tom Doyle Supplies Senior football championship by the narrowest of margins at the quarter-final stage in Innovate Wexford Park.
Castletown 1-9 Fethard 1-8
The Tomahely-based club seem to be peaking at the right time after a victory over in-vogue selection for the title, St. Martin's, in their final group game and then this success against a notoriously difficult side to dispatch.
Everyone knows what Fethard are about at this stage and they threw few surprises at their opponents in this match-up.
Rugged and biting in the tackle, springy and youthful in attack, the seasiders are the type of opponent to give most teams trouble.
Castletown were no different. Indeed, on another afternoon, with a little bit more luck, Fethard would have taken the win. They had chances, good chances to do more damage but didn't always take their opportunities.
In the first-half, playing with the breeze, Fethard bossed the game but not the scoreboard despite taking a 1-3 to 0-4 lead in at the interval. Mikie Dwyer nipped in to goal after Mick Roche stole a sloppy clearance, found Dwyer and he played a one-two with John Tubritt before hitting the net.
At 1-1 to nil in arrears, Castletown hit back with points from Brendan Halpin and Richard Farrell but dodged a bullet when Mark Wallace slipped Tubritt into the clear, only for the Fethard talisman to flash his shot narrowly wide right.
The New Ross District side did move 1-3 to 0-2 ahead following points from Kevin Rowe and Tubritt, but the longer the half wore on the more Fethard efforts at the posts fell into the 'ill advised' category.
Maybe four points was about right for the conditions but Castletown weren't content with a par first-half and raised late white flags from the boots of Halpin and Colm Morris to halve the deficit at the interval (1-3 to 0-4).
Minors from James Holmes and Halpin tied the contest after 36 minutes but again Fethard missed their chance to turn the screw when Dwyer and Daniel Mullan combined brilliantly to release Tubritt, only for the attacker to turn into trouble close to goal.
Dwyer registered a great point but his score was the last to put Fethard ahead.
The all-important Castletown goal arrived with 41 minutes on the clock and saw Donnacha Holmes breeze past two defenders without being touched, before picking out Yusuf Frih as one of his two free man options and the youngster made no mistake from close range.
Castletown went three ahead on a trio of separate occasions with the more junior Holmes, Anthony Masterson and Morris doing the honours.
While Fethard cut the gap to one in the 59th minute with points from Tubritt and Richie Waters, they couldn't manufacture that one good chance to force extra-time as the Gorey District side held on to book a spot in the final four.
Castletown: Niall Hempenstall; David Dearing, Danny Gardiner, Joe Ahearne; Pierce Maxwell, Noel Morris, Joe Gardiner; Anthony Masterson (0-1 '45), Richard Farrell (0-1); Donnacha Holmes (0-1), Brendan Halpin (0-3, 1 free), Yusuf Frih (1-0); Colm Morris (capt., 0-2), Jody O'Shaughnessy, James Holmes (0-1). Sub. - Gavin Stamp for Frih (52).
Fethard: William Doyle; Seán Donohoe, Daniel Mullan, Martin Power; Chris Molloy, Daire Barden, Mark Wallace (capt.); Mick Roche, Kevin Rowe (0-2 frees); Bryan Power, John Tubritt (0-4), Mikey Banville; Graham O'Grady, Chris Colfer, Mikie Dwyer (1-1). Subs. - Joe Sutton for O'Grady (40), Richie Waters (0-1) for Banville (51), Kieran Dwyer for B. Power (55).
Referee: Kevin Carty (Sarsfields).