THE BEATEN finalists of the past three years, Starlights, took a step closer to the Jim Byrne Cup Minor football league decider when they had an easier than expected quarter-final win over Castletown in a one-sided game at Tomnahely on Sunday last.
STARLIGHTS 4-12 CASTLETOWN 1-3
They will have a home semi-final against their old rivals and current holders Shelmaliers, or Ballyhogue, on Sunday week (February 3) that should attract a good crowd to Bellefield.
Playing some delightful football, the visitors from the Cathedral town had this game well and truly wrapped up by half-time when they led by 2-9 to 0-1.
An early goal from Leonard Connolly and some well-taken points from Liam Ryan and Aaron Sinnott paved the way for the big win, while Ross Bealin accounted for the only firsthalf Castletown score.
The Gorey District side earned a penalty at the start of the second-half when Mark Halpin was fouled, and team captain Seán Roche momentarily raised their hopes when he blasted the ball to the net from the spot kick.
However, Starlights were soon back in command again and finished with a flourish as Conor Farrell and substitute Declan Courtney found the net to add to some earlier scores from Nicky Doyle, Kevin and Kyle Foley, Ryan Mahon and Dylan Redmond.
The second quarter-final scheduled for Bree on Sunday last between Ballyhogue and Shelmaliers did not take place due to a bereavement in the Shels camp, but will now be played at the same venue and time this coming Sunday.
Also this coming Sunday, the first of the Jim Byrne Cup semi-finals will take place at Piercestown when St. Martin's will take on Fethard in what should be an exciting game. The starting time is 2.45 p.m.
Starlights: Dylan Cloke, Seán Cloherty, Ben Edwards, Aaron Sinnott (0-1), Kevin Foley (0-1), Dylan Redmond (0-2), Liam Ryan (0-3), Conor Farrell (1-0), Leonard Connolly (1-3), Nicky Doyle (0-1), Dale Kirwan, Jack Hanley, Kyle Foley (0-1). Subs. - Declan Courtney (1-0), Ciarán Cronin, Seán McGrath, Ryan Mahon (1-0), Jack Conroy.
Castletown: Ben Clarke, Alan Halvey, Joe Gardiner, Liam Condren, Colin Kennedy, Sam Kennedy, Seán Roche (1-0 pen.), Stephen Moloney (0-1), Ryan Murphy (0-1), Yusuf Frih, Ross Bealin (0-1), Mark Halpin, Adam Flanagan. Subs. - Paul Chapman and Ciarán Fleming.
Referee: Eddie O'Sullivan (Kilanerin).