Castletown take their chances and win

Story by Tom Kelly

Saturday, 13th October, 2007 9:00am


Gaeil Colmcille0-6

SO often in the past Castletown have reached the last four of the IFC only to see their hopes cruelly dashed in the most comprehensive fashion.

This time was different as they did all that was asked of them in overcoming a Gaeil Colmcille side that threw away their chance of victory with 13 wides at Pairc Tailteann on Saturday.

This was no classic, particularly in the opening half with both sides guilty of a litany of misplaced passes and spurned opportunities.

Gaeil Colmcille will look to their wides tally and think about what might have been, while Castletown proved more economical in front of the posts and that turned out to be a crucial factor.

The setting could hardly have been better for this encounter with the day calm and sunny, but because of the warm conditions fitness was always going to be a big factor and both sides could not be found wanting in that department.

What did make the difference was a sharper cutting edge displayed by Castletown in front of goals with four of their forwards contributing eight points to their total.

Barry Smith, Shane Farrelly, Thomas Smith and James Finnerty combined to shoot over the eight points between them with midfielder Gerard Farrelly and substitute Alan Smyth also splitting the posts.

With plenty of pace in the forward division Castletown looked like they could conjure up something every time they got the ball into the danger zones.

They stitched together a series of passing movements that had the Gaeil Colmcille defence chasing shadows.

However, they will be concerned by their inability to score a goal and the opposition goalkeeper was not troubled throughout the hour.

Perhaps the players were instructed to go for points rather than to attempt to work a goal and if they were it was a strategy that worked. There was no need to be heroic and try for glory when the chance was there to pick off the points and steadily build up a winning margin. This was no frills football at its best.

Castletown led throughout making the most of a slow start by their opponents to surge into 0-6 to 0-1 interval lead that always looked like it would be enough to provide a platform for victory.

Smith top-scored with three points, including the first two of the game to set Castletown on their way. His three points capped a busy afternoon and his runs from deep, along with colleagues Liam Clarke and Shane Farrelly, were big factors in drawing frees from the over-stretched Gaeil Colmcille defence.

The Castletown scores came in a variety ways. There was the long range free from Shane Farrelly on 28 minutes followed almost immediately afterwards by a score from Finnerty who showed great pace to create an opening before fisting over from close range.

When they got their short passing game going Castletown were very impressive. In the opening minute of the second-half they swiftly moved the ball from one end of the pitch to the other with Wayne Donegan, Gerard Farrelly, Clarke and Finnerty among those involved in creating a chance for Thomas Smith who pointed.

At the back Castletown quickly closed down their opponents with Kevin Barry giving a first-rate display at full-back, mopping up a lot of ball. Invariably he used the hard won possession well. Centre-half-back Derek Clarke also got a vital block to deny Martin Barrett a goal late in the game. 

Gaeil Colmcille enjoyed a few good spells when they had plenty of possession to cause problems. Once the time came to take a pop at goals they lost their composure and paid the price.

It took them 25 minutes to register their opening point when the industrious Brian Hanlon lofted over from a free. With Jim Gallagher and Jim Ward working hard in midfield Gaeil Colmcille did have their chances and the players never stopped battling with Marty Barrett putting in a big effort before he was taken off.

Points from Ward, Hanlon, two from Barry Smith, including one superb effort from out on the right, helped to reduce the deficit to four points with four minutes remaining. They just could not find the finish required and instead Castletown marched on to the final.

Castletown - J. Ginnity; S. Duffy, K. Barry, J. Carry; K. Smith, D. Clarke, W. Donegan; A. Young, G. Farrelly (0-1); B. Smith (0-3), L. Clarke, S. Farrelly (0-2); T. Smith (0-1), J. Finnerty (0-2), D. Ginnity. Subs - A. Smyth (0-1) for Ginnity, M. Hickey for T. Smith, F. Hoey for Young.

Gaeil Colmcille - D. Drew; S. Hanney, R. Flanagan, P. Maguire; S. Reddy, Marty Barrett, D. Smith; J. Gallagher, P. Ward (0-1); S. McManus, B. Smith (0-2), B. Hanlon (0-3); M. Foley, K. Reilly, Martin Barrett. Subs - C. Usher for Maguire, D. O`Neill for Marty Barrett, E. O`Connor for Reilly.

Referee - Donal Smyth (Navan O`Mahonys).