Parle secures draw for thrilled Jimmies
A huge cheer went up around St. Patrick's Park on Friday as an injury time point from Adam Parle completed a thrilling comeback by St. James' and left honours even with Castletown.
St James' 2-7 Castletown 1-10
The gap in this high-octane Tom Doyle Supplies Senior football championship Group B game widened at one stage midway through the second-half to seven points, but the trailing side straightened their shooting and left Enniscorthy with a deserved point.
This was a slow burner of a fixture, with just four points scored in the opening quarter as the action was more fast and furious than cool and collected.
A pattern did begin to emerge from all the frantic activity, with the Ross side increasingly wayward at the country end of the field while their rivals began to accumulate scores slowly at the town end.
Colm Morris was at the heart of most that was good for Castletown, operating at centre-forward and helping to create points for Brendan Halpin (twice) and Donnacha Holmes.
A fisted point from Gavin Stamp, annoyed that he did not find the net, had the early pace-setters four up on 26 minutes, though a brace of frees from Kevin O'Grady reduced the deficit to two by the interval.
The south coasters felt that they should in fact have been ahead, but a combination of over-ambitious shooting from obscure angles and fine goalkeeping by Niall Hempenstall had them in arrears.
Hempenstall responded with a good save after O'Grady rounded Risteárd Kinsella to create the opening, and the net-man later repeated the heroics shortly after the resumption, this time blocking Brian Molloy.
In contrast to St. James' waywardness - their top class players Kevin O'Grady and Brendan Doyle leading the wides chart - Castletown did not post a wide until 33 minutes.
However, a run of good points from Anthony Masterson, Jody O'Shaughnessy and Brendan Halpin showed that they still knew where the posts were.
Midfielder Matthew O'Hanlon responded with a Scud rocket of a free from all of 60 metres to demonstrate to his more wasteful colleagues the way, but then came the Castletown goal.
Referee John Carton awarded the penalty after Pierce Maxwell was fouled as he waited under a high ball, and Anthony Masterson dispatched the set-piece to give his team a commanding lead at 1-9 to 0-5 going into the final 15 minutes.
They decided to box clever and play keep ball in an effort to frustrate the opposition, adding just one more score, a towering point from Masterson.
Meanwhile, last year's Intermediate champs never lost faith and Adam Parle proved that it was possible to score from wide, where so many previous efforts had wafted off course.
And they also were blessed with an ability to pick off goals under pressure. The first was lashed past Hempenstall left footed by Kevin O'Grady, somehow finding room to run on the edge of a very crowded square.
Then Brendan Doyle, moved from midfield to full-forward, used his towering height to get his hands on David Doyle's cross from the right to the far post, punching his shot down into the net.
And finally, deep in added time, they moved the ball through five or six pairs of hands to release Parle for the concluding score, the draw greeted as though it were a victory.
St. James': Willie Murphy; Paul Barron, Jason Barron, Greg Doyle; David Doyle, Graeme Molloy (0-1), Robbie Barron; Matthew O'Hanlon (0-1 free), Daniel Keating; Donal Barron, Brendan Doyle (1-0), Brian Molloy; Kevin O'Grady (1-3, 0-2 frees), Liam Murphy, Adam Parle (0-2).
Castletown: Niall Hempenstall; Risteárd Kinsella, Noel Morris, David Deering; George Sunderland, Danny Gardiner, Pierce Maxwell (0-1); Jody O'Shaughnessy (0-1), Richard Farrell; Donnacha Holmes (0-1), Colm Morris, Andy Merrigan; Gavin Stamp (0-1), Anthony Masterson (1-3, 1-0 pen.), Brendan Halpin (0-3). Subs. - James Holmes for Merrigan (30), Conor Carty for Kinsella (33), Aaron Condren for Stamp (42).
Referee: John Carton (Monageer-Boolavogue).