Monday 16 December 2019

Castletown dim the lights

Castletown 0-12 Starlights 0-11

Jody O'Shaughnessy of Castletown is outnumbered by Starlights duo Darragh Pepper and Dillon Redmond
Jody O'Shaughnessy of Castletown is outnumbered by Starlights duo Darragh Pepper and Dillon Redmond
Conor Carty gathers possession for Castletown as Ricky Fox (Starlights) gives chase

Alan Aherne

It's all about the inches in competitive sport, and the literal meaning of that phrase was probably the difference between winning and losing in this Tom Doyle Supplies Senior football championship Group A match in Innovate Wexford Park on Sunday.

Castletown were clinging to a 0-10 to 0-9 lead in the 58th minute when Starlights full-forward Eamonn Furlong, an effective targetman throughout, caught a Ryan Mahon delivery, beat his man with a sharp turn, and took aim from the edge of the square.

Agonisingly for the Enniscorthy side though, the shot flew over the bar and, though it brought the teams level, it so easily could have been a game-clinching goal.

Castletown knew they were lucky, and they moved ahead again when Ben Brosnan converted a free with 20 seconds of normal time left.

And even though another placed ball shortly afterwards struck the post and was cleared, Peter Devine set up substitute Pierce Maxwell for a key point before Alan Tobin hit a consolation with the second-last kick of the game.

Castletown now lie second in the table on six points and also boast by far the best scoring difference of the five teams in contention for four quarter-final places, although their safest route to the knockouts would still be with a last round win over Glynn-Barntown.

Many clubs felt the absence of holidaying Senior county hurlers over the weekend, but probably none more so than Starlights as the influence of Liam Ryan and Kevin Foley would have been considerable in such a tight contest.

Ball handling wasn't easy on a slippery surface, with early Castletown points from Devine and Donnacha Holmes cancelled by Dillon Redmond (free) and Richie Farrell.

Redmond put the Enniscorthy men ahead for the first time from another placed ball in the eleventh minute, but Castletown then hit five on the bounce with full-forward Andy Merrigan displaying fine accuracy and player-manager Colm Morris prominent in the build-up play.

He supplied the final pass for a brace from Merrigan who turned provider in between to set up Donnacha Holmes for his second.

Conor Carty also kicked one of his three scoreable frees in that first-half before Alan Tobin replied to Merrigan's third from a placed ball in added time, leaving Castletown 7-4 clear at the interval.

While another Tobin free left two between them on the re-start, the next three points were registered by the north county side as they pulled clear courtesy of Ben Brosnan, with two of his efforts from play (10-5).

The fortunes swayed considerably though in the other direction as Starlights started to carry the ball effectively into the wind.

This yielded positive results as Castletown didn't score for 17 minutes, with Dillon Redmond ('45), Nick Doyle, Redmond with a sweet outside of the boot effort and Tobin (free) leaving one between them with seven minutes left.

Starlights had the momentum and probably would have gone on to win if Furlong had been able to keep that shot slightly lower.

Instead Castletown bounced back from their sole loss to Shelmaliers, but they will need to produce more to be in with a realistic chance of winning the county title.

Castletown: Anthony Masterson; Frank Roche, Joe Gardiner, Joe Aherne; Peter Devine (0-1), Colm Morris, Colin Kennedy; Richard Farrell, Danny Gardiner (capt.); Conor Carty (0-1 free), Ben Brosnan (0-4, 2 frees), Jody O'Shaughnessy; Stephen Maloney, Andy Merrigan (0-3), Donnacha Holmes (0-2). Subs. - Pierce Maxwell (0-1) for Holmes (44), Robbie Brooks for Maloney (55).

Starlights: Pa Doyle; Mel Doyle, Tom Wall, Rory O'Connor; Jack Kelly, Anthony Roche, Alan Tobin (0-4, 3 frees); Nick Doyle (0-1), Ricky Fox; Killian Lett, Richie Farrell (0-1), Dillon Redmond (0-4, 2 frees, 1 '45); Darragh Pepper, Eamonn Furlong (0-1), Ryan Mahon. Sub. - Brendan Kearney for Lett (HT).

Referee: James Mullally (Gusserane).

Wexford People

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