Impressive Castletown secure spot in 'B' decider
Castletown 1-13 Ballyhogue 0-9
Castletown put in another impressive display when they became the first team to qualify for the inaugural Greenstar Under-21 football Premier 'B' championship final with a 1-13 to 0-9 victory over Ballyhogue at a baltic Bree on Saturday night.
The solid partnership of Minor duo Rory Heffernan and Liam Coleman at midfield saw Castletown monopolise that particular sector, meaning that their forward unit were allowed to express themselves in the knowledge that the supply lines were plentiful.
Nonetheless, the hosts enjoyed a bright opening ten minutes as captain Mick Condon and Dean Doyle gave them a 0-2 to 0-1 lead by that juncture.
Frank Roche is coming off the back of a fine debut season at Senior level for Castletown, and he had hot-heeled it from an exam in Cork to be in situ by the time they started to motor.
Darragh Brooks levelled on 14 minutes, the busy Liam Condren assisted Shane Halpin for the lead point, while Yusuf Frih scored a nice brace to open up a 0-6 to 0-2 advantage.
Before that, Ballyhogue's Eric Kennedy produced an amazing cat-like save to deny Halpin after a well-worked move, and Kennedy was also called into evasive action on 22 minutes to touch Ross Bealin's gamble on goal around the near post.
But sport can be a cruel beast at times, and that was highlighted from the '45 that followed Bealin's chance as Darragh Brooks' slightly under-hit attempt slipped out of Kennedy's gloves and dropped into the net for a fluke goal.
Brooks extended the victors' lead but Ballyhogue pulled two points back before the break to close the gap to 1-8 to 0-5 at half-time.
Condren resumed with a point that his selfless industry deserved while Brooks swung over a free to make it 1-10 to 0-5 after 32 minutes.
Those of a more mature vintage will never forget the rivalry these two sides had when challenging for Senior titles in the 1960s and '70s, and there was a brief glimpse back to those sepia-tinted days during a needless scuffle at the end of the third quarter.
But that was the only black mark in a game played in an otherwise sporting manner, as Roche and Dean Doyle tagged on points for Ballyhogue, although Castletown confirmed their passage to the final in style when Darragh Brooks supplied the finish to a move that started deep and progressed at pace through many hands.
Castletown will now take on Starlights or Forth and Bargy Gaels who meet next Saturday.
Castletown: Alex Reid; Chris Callanan, Ross Cody, Eoin Cullen; Killian Pierce, Joe Gardiner (capt.), Frankie Kavanagh; Rory Heffernan, Liam Coleman (0-1); Darragh Brooks (1-6, 1-0 '45, 0-2 frees), Yusuf Frih (0-2), Liam Condren (0-1); Ross Bealin (0-1), Robbie Brooks (0-1), Shane Halpin (0-1). Subs. - Frank Roche for Callanan (13), Callanan for Kavanagh (44), Andrew Byrne for Bealin (55).
Ballyhogue: Eric Kennedy; Shane Fenlon, Fionn Rochford, Colm Parnell; Cormac Byrne, Peter Kelly, Darragh Byrne; Shane Doyle, Dylan Dalton; Noel Roche (0-5, 4 frees), Mick Condon (capt., 0-1), Enda Minogue (0-1); Liam Rossiter, Dean Doyle (0-2), Cian Wickham.
Referee: John O'Loughlin (Monageer-Boolavogue).