Bolger bags win with moment of absolute magic
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown 1-13 Castletown 0-13
A moment of magic from Daire Bolger proved to be the difference between the sides as Rathgarogue-Cushinstown took the spoils in Group A of the Enniscorthy Farm Systems Junior football championship in a sunny Hollymount on Sunday.
In the 50th minute Bolger collected a pass from substitute Garrett Browne 40 yards out wide on the right and went on a mazy run through the heart of the Castletown defence before directing a shot beyond goalkeeper Niall Hempenstall.
That score gave the New Ross District side a 1-13 to 0-9 advantage and they looked home and hosed.
However, four unanswered points in as many minutes left just a kick of the ball between the sides as the game entered injury time, but Castletown couldn't work an opening to grab the goal they craved.
The north county men actually began the game quite brightly, with a 19th-minute point from Gavin Stamp giving them a 0-6 to 0-3 advantage.
Darragh Brooks (two), Marc Halpin, Jimmy Fogarty and Aaron Condren also chipped in with points for a Castletown side playing with confidence, with Aaron Ryan, Eric Cummins and Eoin Porter replying.
The Gorey District outfit had to wait 22 minutes for their next score though, with Rathgarogue-Cushinstown contributing seven points on the trot as they assumed control.
Daire Bolger converted two frees, either side of a good point from play, to level matters at the interval, and they continued where they left off after the break with two more Bolger points and efforts from Eoin Porter and Tadhg Cody giving them a four-point cushion.
Kevin Morris finally stopped the rot for Castletown in the 41st minute by firing over a booming point, and although Daire Bolger provided a swift reply, scores from Danny Dixon and Seán Roche left just two between the sides (0-11 to 0-9).
When they felt their opponents breathing down their necks, Rathgarogue-Cushinstown put the foot down again, and after Garrett Browne and Aaron Ryan swapped points they grabbed the score that looked to be the final nail in the Castletown coffin with 49 minutes on the clock.
When Daire Bolger was found by Browne on the right he still had an awful lot of work to do, but he single-mindedly scythed past defenders and planted the ball in the back of the net.
Castletown weren't prepared to go down without a fight though, and four quickfire points from the inspired Kevin Morris gave them renewed hope, although time ran out on their spirited fightback.
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown: Johnny Kelly; Neil Merrigan, Bryan Cody, Paddy Murphy; Eoin Whelan, Eoin Porter (0-2, 1 free), Jason Dunne, Ollie Bolger, Robert Murphy; Daire Bolger (1-6, 0-3 frees), Brian O'Neill, Tadhg Cody (0-1); Brendan Fitzpatrick, Aaron Ryan (0-2), Eric Cummins (0-1). Sub. - Garrett Browne (0-1) for Fitzpatrick.
Castletown: Niall Hempenstall; David Deering, Risteárd Kinsella, Paul Nugent; Marc Halpin (0-1), Conor Cleary, Danny Dixon (0-1 '45); Jimmy Fogarty (0-1), Oisín Condren; Aaron Condren (0-1), Kevin Morris (0-5, 1 free), Seán Roche (0-1); Shane Halpin, Gavin Stamp (0-1), Darragh Brooks (0-2, 1 free). Subs. - Peter Fogarty for Nugent, Liam Condren for Stamp, Rory Heffernan for S. Halpin, Pádraig Byrne for O. Condren, Stephen O'Rafferty for Brooks.
Referee: Stephen Burke (Volunteers).