Two from two for Castletown
Castletown 2-13 St. Anne's 1-8
Castletown fended off a third quarter rally from St. Anne's to take their second consecutive victory in the Tom Doyle Supplies Senior football championship Group A in St. Patrick's Park on Friday.
The Rathangan men put it up to their opponents in the early stages of the second-half, clawing back a six-point interval deficit to tie the game. However, they managed just one more score in the last 22 minutes as Castletown again impressed with their new-look line-up.
An eight-point margin was probably about right in the end. One individual error cost the victors a goal and gave their opponents hope, but otherwise it was an attractive, classy performance from a team looking more and more like contenders, rather than the pretenders of recent seasons.
What makes Castletown look good is their range of options. This time Donnacha Holmes proved to be the go-to man, kicking 2-4 and generally playing with county-like quality. Ben Brosnan also chipped in with his first points from play and looked more comfortable in his second championship start with his new club.
Midfield was an area of real strength, with Danny Gardiner really relishing his battle with Jonathan Fogarty, and Colin Kennedy acting as a willing and able foil. It was that solid base that allowed Holmes and Brosnan to shine.
At 0-2 each after eleven minutes, Castletown kicked on. Brosnan notched his first from play in the maroon after a classy lung-busting run from deep. Moments later Andy Merrigan hit an overlapping Holmes in stride and he drilled home a fine opening goal.
Trailing by 1-5 to 0-2, Seán Gaul's introduction somewhat unsurprisingly coincided with his side's best spell. In the next 30 minutes, they outscored their opponents by 1-5 to 0-3 and got themselves right back into the game.
Castletown led by 1-7 to 0-4 at the break but quickly fought back to level. Powerful new addition Seán Kelly notched three second-half frees while the wily Redmond Barry nipped in, intercepted a short Anthony Masterson kick-out, and fed Andy Kennedy for his team's goal.
Lesser sides may have buckled but Castletown quickly recovered from being tied. Andy Merrigan smashed a shot narrowly over the crossbar to give them a 1-8 to 1-7 lead in the 41st minute. Peter Devine then floated over his first Wexford club championship point to double the lead.
Conor Carty increased the Castletown advantage to three and Brosnan could, maybe should, have put the game to bed in the 50th minute when smacking into the side-netting. However, the clinching goal did come, six minutes from time, with Merrigan again acting as provider for a clinical Holmes finish.
From there it was fairly routine, although St. Anne's did miss out on a consolation goal when Francis Simpson sliced inches wide when clean through on Masterson's goal in added-time. Castletown go into the break top of the pile in Group A, and they could wrap up their quarter-final spot when the championship resumes with round three.
Castletown: Anthony Masterson; Frank Roche, Joe Gardiner, Joe Ahern; Peter Devine (0-1), Richard Farrell (0-1), Conor Carty (0-2, 1 free); Colin Kennedy, Danny Gardiner (capt.); Colm Morris, Jody O'Shaughnessy, Ben Brosnan (0-4, 1 free); Donnacha Holmes (2-4), Andy Merrigan (0-1), Robbie Brooks. Subs. - James Holmes for Brooks (41), Stephen Moloney for Morris (50), Pierce Maxwell for O'Shaughnessy (54).
St. Anne's: Graham Holmes; Tomás Cullen (capt.), Páraic O'Keeffe, Tony McDonnell; Finn O'Driscoll, Diarmuid O'Keeffe, Kevin Hannigan; Jonathan Fogarty, Ben Moore (0-1); Andy Kennedy (1-1), Seán Kelly (0-4 frees), Jack Murphy; Conor Hannigan, Redmond Barry (0-1), Mark Furlong (0-1). Subs. - Seán Gaul for C. Hannigan (17), Francis Simpson for McDonnell (31).
Referee: Barry Redmond (Clonard).