CASTLETOWN’S SECOND string joined their Seniors in the hat for the quarter-finals when they made it two wins out of two in Group B of the Enniscorthy Farm Systems Junior football championship after disposing of Gusserane by 3-10 to 3-7 in Saturday’s enjoyable round three tie at a mild Oylegate.
For the second week running, the north county men mixed some excellent passages of play with more mundane periods, but they were certainly vibrant in the early exchanges as they created a 1-3 to 0-1 lead after seven minutes.
Anthony Masterson opened their account with a free out of his hands after 90 seconds, with Jaime Cooney converting an identical score for Gusserane’s leveller on three minutes.
A crucial intervention from newcomer Dylan Goland, who cut out a potential Gusserane goal chance in his own box, saw Castletown counter-attack and draw a free at the other end which Masterson tapped over.
Joe Gardiner then claimed a mark from the kick-out and off-loaded to Oisín Condren, and he gained ground before parting to Gavin McNulty to bury a brilliant goal on only his second start at this level. Condren was the creator again as Cian Bealin thudded over from distance, with McNulty providing the assist for Masterson’s first from play.
Seán O’Connor ended the siege with a free as Castletown led by 1-4 to 0-2 at the first water break, and Gusserane almost broke through for a goal again as Cooney squared for Shane Cullen, but his close-range palmed effort squeaked just over the bar.
But that was merely a warning shot as they did find the net on 18 minutes. Cooney was once again the creative force, this time supplying Dylan Ryan to fire underneath Niall Hempenstall.
However, Castletown seemed affronted by that setback and responded almost immediately as Marc Halpin forced a turnover which eventually led to Masterson applying a composed finish (2-4 to 1-3).
Gusserane soon lost Cullen to a nasty-looking head injury after an accidental collision, while a brace from Masterson (one mark, one free) and one in between from Halpin had Castletown ahead by 2-7 to 1-4 by half-time.
Masterson’s second mark opened the scoring after the break, and when Seán Roche found himself bottled up in front of goal, he somehow got the ball out to substitute Jody O’Shaughnessy to hammer home via the framework.
Gusserane reduced their deficit slightly to 3-9 to 1-6 at the second water break, with Cooney expertly dispatching a penalty twelve minutes from time and Shane Culleton striking a consolation goal with the last kick of the game.
Castletown: Niall Hempenstall; Seánie O’Hagan, Risteárd Kinsella, Dylan Goland; Cian Bealin (0-1), George Sunderland, Danny Dixon; Joe Gardiner, Gavin McNulty (1-0); Marc Halpin (0-1), Ross Bealin (0-1), Oisín Condren; Seán Roche, Anthony Masterson (1-7, 0-3 frees, 0-2 marks), Liam Condren. Subs. - Jody O’Shaughnessy (1-0) for Goland, inj. (29), Stephen Moloney for L. Condren (45), Shane Halpin for Roche (59).
Gusserane: Mark Flynn; Donal Kinsella, James Redmond (capt.), Eoin Power; Tom Breen, Cathal Somers, Aaron Whelan; Mark Kehoe, Jamie Sheehan; Evan Kiely (0-1), Martin Fitzharris, Seán O’Connor (0-1 free); Jaime Cooney (1-4, 1-0 pen., 0-2 frees), Shane Cullen (0-1), Dylan Ryan (1-0). Subs. - Shane Culleton (1-0) for Cullen, inj. (22), Jack Culleton for Kiely (45).
Referee: Philip Murphy (Faythe Harriers).