So ... who exactly is Cathal Naughton
WITHIN 120 seconds of coming on the field on Sunday last a young hurler few of us had heard of turned the tide in the All-Ireland Hurling semi-final and turning Cathal Naughtons championship debut into the talking point of the week With his first touch he simply turned and swung over a very tricky point. Less than two minutes later he popped up in front of goa
WITHIN 120 seconds of coming on the field on Sunday last a young hurler few of us had heard of turned the tide in the All-Ireland Hurling semi-final — and turning Cathal Naughton’s championship debut into the talking point of the week
With his first touch he simply turned and swung over a very tricky point. Less than two minutes later he popped up in front of goal to — as cool as you like — neatly place the ball in the net past the flailing Deise goalie and despite a defender bearing down on him at full tilt.
Disheartened Deises were also left to ponder what exactly is in the air, water or food in Newtownshandrum, as the young man — who had only one league appearance to his name for the county seniors — helped beat off Waterford’s chances of going to the All Ireland final by one point.
Son of Dermot and Josephine, the Naughton family are well known for their love of hurling with their three sons, Shane (22) and Diarmuid (21) and Cathal (19) all hurling with their beloved Newtownshandrum. In fact, the Rebel county is indeed lucky to have Cathal on their side as he was a former Nottingham Forest trainee. Thankfully, it was his love of hurling which brought him back home.
“We thought we had him lost to soccer but, thankfully, he came back to hurl,” said a clearly delighted Mike Morrissey, PRO of Newtownshandrum Hurling Club. “ Nottingham Forest had great meas on Cathal and used to fly him over from Friday to Sunday to play. He has a great left foot and for a soccer player that is invaluable, and he also has amazing speed and ability.
“He’s a great fella on and off the field. He’s level-headed and his introduction on Sunday was a major factor in Cork winning the game. In essence, he’s a top class player and he always had it in him,” said Denis O’Mahony, chairman of Newtownshandrum hurling club.
Cathal’s dream debut on Sunday came as no surprise to the principal of Charleville CBS Secondary School, Tom Clarke and vice-principal Tim O’Callaghan.
Tom Clarke said that Cathal captained the school team to win the Munster B Colleges Championship and retained the Limerick Colleges Keane Cup. Having completed his Leaving Certificate last year Cathal is studying business studies in Cork Institute of Technology.
Cathal has certainly joined in the footsteps of a lengthening line of Newtown stars wearing the ‘blood and bandage’ including Cork captain Pat Mulcahy as well as the dynamic twin duo of Ben and Jerry O’Connor. In fact, on Sunday Newtownshandrum produced no less than six players on the senior and minor panels.
Still, there was little time for Cathal to rest on his laurels as on Wednesday he was due to line out once more for the Cork under 21 team as they played Tipperary in the Munster Final.