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Friday 19 October 2018

Consistent Castletown best

Castletown 3-15 Taghmon-Camross 1-10

Donnacha Holmes of Castletown driving past Taghmon-Camross full-back and captain, Alan Nolan
Donnacha Holmes of Castletown driving past Taghmon-Camross full-back and captain, Alan Nolan

Alan Aherne

Castletown survived a poor spell on either side of half-time to march on to the semi-finals of the Tom Doyle Supplies Senior football championship for the fourth year running in Bellefield on Saturday.

Intermediate holders Taghmon-Camross gave them a scare when they goaled with the last kick of the opening half and then added the first five points on the re-start, but the north county side quickly re-asserted control and were ultimately full value for their commanding victory.

They will be pleased that 3-13 of their winning tally came from play, and that three of their substitutes contributed 2-4 between them on an evening when county player Ben Brosnan had to leave the fray before half-time with an injury.

And it was very interesting to see former Wexford boss Pat Roe on the sideline with the winners, having recently joined their backroom team.

He was pitted against a man who later filled that role, Jason Ryan, but while Taghmon-Camross did very well to reach the knockout stages at the first attempt, this proved a bridge too far for a young and promising team.

Castletown were intent on ensuring that the underdogs were chasing the game from an early stage, and they applied all of the pressure from the off to surge 1-6 to nil clear by the 25th minute.

It took them a while to get into their stride though, as an eleven-minute barren spell followed Conor Carty's early point before Jody O'Shaughnessy doubled the lead.

Brosnan made his contribution from play and a free before the first goal arrived in the 21st minute. Alan Nolan dived at full stretch to block a Donnacha Holmes kick, but the break fell invitingly for Danny Gardiner, up lending support to his attack, and he finished to the net with a low drive (1-4 to nil).

A rout looked possible after Holmes and his brother, James, widened the gap to nine, but Taghmon-Camross finally showed some signs of what they're capable of after Ian Carty got them off the mark in the 26th minute.

Donnacha Holmes and Jody O'Shaughnessy did hit back for Castletown, but a Stephen O'Gorman point arrived after Anthony Masterson denied Carty with a fine save in a one-on-one situation.

However, the former county netminder was beaten with the last kick of the half when Seamus McLoughlin cut in from the right and drilled a low shot to the far corner of the net to fill Taghmon-Camross with hope (1-8 to 1-2).

And the last New Ross District team left in contention produced a superb start to the second-half, kicking five points up to the 39-minute mark to reduce Castletown's lead to 1-8 to 1-7.

McLoughlin (free), Stephen O'Gorman, Darren Carty, O'Gorman from distance, and McLoughlin from play all split the posts to leave the early pace-setters with plenty of issues.

However, Brosnan's replacement, Andy Merrigan, then came into his own, pointing a free to settle his side before pouncing for their decisive second goal in the 43rd minute.

It was borne out of naivety from the underdogs as they couldn't clear the ball from the right corner of their defence.

Too many players were sucked towards that area, leaving Merrigan free to thunder down the centre after Castletown re-cycled the ball and Jody O'Shaughnessy supplied the handpass.

That goal knocked the stuffing out of Taghmon-Camross as Donnacha Holmes, substitute Robbie Brooks and Merrigan added points before a third goal put the icing on the cake in the 47th minute.

Danny Gardiner and Donnacha Holmes created the chance for teenager Brooks whose low shot took a slight deflection off a defender before beating Seán O'Gorman to push Castletown 3-12 to 1-7 clear.

Brooks almost added a second goal while Conor Carty saw his effort from the rebound blocked for a '45.

Brooks and fellow replacement Pierce Maxwell then extended the lead to 13 points before Anthony Masterson acrobatically turned an Ian Carty piledriver over the bar as Taghmon-Camross sought a consolation.

Barry O'Gorman and Seamus McLoughlin (free) kicked late points for the losers on either side of a fourth from play by the hard-running Donnacha Holmes as Castletown made it safely through to yet another semi-final draw.

Castletown: Anthony Masterson; Joe Aherne, Danny Gardiner (capt., 1-0), Frank Roche; Peter Devine, Colm Morris, Joe Gardiner; Richard Farrell, Colin Kennedy; Stephen Maloney, James Holmes (0-2), Jody O'Shaughnessy (0-2); Conor Carty (0-1), Donnacha Holmes (0-4), Ben Brosnan (0-2, 1 free). Subs. - Andy Merrigan (1-2, 0-1 free) for Brosnan, inj. (27), Robbie Brooks (1-1) for Farrell, black card (41), Pierce Maxwell (0-1) for O'Shaughnessy (51), Conor Cleary for Kennedy (53).

Taghmon-Camross: Seán O'Gorman; Stephen Stafford, Alan Nolan (capt.), Shane Doyle; David O'Keeffe, Mark O'Gorman, Darren Carty (0-1); Barry O'Gorman (0-1), Anthony Breen; Stephen O'Gorman (0-3), Seamus McLoughlin (1-3, 0-2 frees), Michael O'Gorman; Chris Cullen, Ian Carty (0-2), Luke Sinnott. Sub. - Shane Lacey for Cullen (52).

Referee: Barry Redmond (Clonard).

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