Top spot for Castletown after fine first-half show
Castletown secured top spot in Group A of the Tom Doyle Supplies Senior football championship with a powerful first-half display against the breeze in Bellefield on Sunday.
Castletown 1-14 St. Anne's 0-9
The Gorey District club outplayed a depleted St. Anne's in the opening 30 minutes and kicked several superb team scores on their way to a 1-11 to 0-6 interval lead. Their all-round play was excellent as they worked the ball well, picking the correct pass continuously.
The crispness of the inter-change created a lot of free shots as their opponents' defence continually struggled to put the shooter under pressure. If anything it was a little too easy.
There were just six points evenly shared after the interval. It's fair to say Castletown's quality dipped sharply after the resumption, leaving them with something to work on ahead of their last group game with relegation final-condemned Starlights.
Stephen Maloney's opening minute point was countered by Kenny Cloney but Castletown quickly settled and began to build their lead. They were 0-4 to 0-2 ahead before Maloney prudently chose to tap over when cutting in on goal from the right.
His side didn't have to wait long for their goal, with Maloney himself who won the penalty that led to it after another slick move involving Brendan Halpin and Conor Carty. Halpin converted the spot-kick high to Richard Cleary's left, although the St. Anne's stopper did get his fingers to it.
Seán Gaul responded with a point at the other end but a quickfire brace from the impressive Donnacha Holmes eased Castletown 1-7 to 0-3 clear. If St. Anne's were going to have any chance they needed to find a way to their opponents' net.
They nearly got that elusive goal when Gaul found Redmond Barry with a quick free-kick 13 metres from goal. Barry shot powerfully on the turn but Joe Gardiner was alive to the danger and superbly tipped the rasping shot over the crossbar.
St. Anne's never went as close to a goal again. James Holmes knocked over a double as Castletown moved 1-11 to 0-6 ahead at the interval. It was inches from being worse, as Conor Carty hit the side-netting just before the whistle.
The Wexford District side had just two points to show from their domination of the first ten minutes after the break. Castletown missed a couple of decent goal chances as the half wore on while Cleary made a fantastic smothering save from Carty, whose two second-half points were more than enough to keep St. Anne's at arm's length.
The Tomahely club can no longer be caught at the summit, meaning they will play the team that finishes fourth in Group B - the loser of the Fethard and Gusserane game - in the quarter-finals.
Things are not quite as rosy for St. Anne's, who will qualify with victory over Horeswood in their final group game. Although, if Glynn-Barntown lose to St. James', the Rathangan side will advance regardless of their own result.
Castletown: Niall Hempenstall; Joe Aherne, Danny Gardiner (capt.), Joe Gardiner; Colin Kennedy, Noel Morris, Colm Morris; Richard Farrell, Jody O'Shaughnessy; Andy Merrigan, Brendan Halpin (1-3, 0-1 free), Stephen Maloney (0-2); James Holmes (0-3), Conor Carty (0-2, 1 free), Donnacha Holmes (0-4). Subs. - Anthony Masterson for Merrigan (46), Gavin Stamp for J. Holmes (54), David Deering for Aherne (58).
St. Anne's: Richard Cleary; Seamus Mythen, Cian McGovern, David Kavanagh (0-1); Michael O'Brien, Seán Gaul (0-3, 2 frees), Kenny Cloney (0-1); David Fogarty (0-1), David O'Connor; Ben Moore, Pat O'Brien, Jack Murphy (0-1); Shane Mythen, Redmond Barry (capt., 0-2), Josh Cloney. Sub. - Jonathan Fogarty for Shane Mythen (42).
Referee: Billy Dodd (Sarsfields).