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Niall O'Brien helps Castletown Geoghegan shed nearly men tag with deserved win in Westmeath

Castletown Geoghegan 0-22 Clonkill 1-14


Castletown Geoghegan star Niall O'Brien in action for Westmeath. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Castletown Geoghegan star Niall O'Brien in action for Westmeath. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Castletown Geoghegan star Niall O'Brien in action for Westmeath. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Having lost three finals on the spin, Castletown Geoghegan stood on the brink of an unwanted piece of history.

Lose here, against a fancied and unbeaten Clonkill, they faced the very real possibility of being remembered for the wrong reasons as the first team in the county to lose four in a row. But from pillar to post, they set the tone and by the finish they were well worth their five-point win.

Castletown started much brighter and set the tone inside the first minute by forcing a throw ball. Niall O’Brien, as he would all afternoon, punished the indiscretion from a placed ball

And from there Alan Mangan’s side thundered into everything. Clonkill tried to respond with county footballer Luke Loughlin their most likely threat early on but generally Castletown hurled with the fury of a side who had been on the wrong side of the biggest day too often.

Jack Gallagher snaffled two wristy points late in the half while David O’Reilly felt his way into the game and turned it into a man of the match performance. Mick Heeney hit three from play. Going in at half time, Castletown Geoghegan led 0-14 to 0-6 and looked like they had all the answers.

The second half went along similar lines. But when presented with the chances to apply a little pressure and test Castletown’s mettle down the home straight, Clonkill demurred. Three missed frees from Anthony Price and the experienced Brendan Murtagh denied them the chance to build momentum. Castletown, perhaps sensing the game was theirs for the taking, pinned their ears back and went for home.

A late goal from a Murtagh free meant little. Castletown were champions at last and move on to take on the Kilkenny winners on the weekend of November 12/13.

SCORERS – Castletown Geoghegan: N O’Brien 0-8 (5f), D O’Reilly 0-4, M Heeney 0-3, J Gallagher 0-2, P Clarke, A Clarke, M Gavigan, C Kane, C Murphy 0-1 each.

Clonkill: A Price 0-7 (6f), L Loughlin 0-4, B Murtagh 1-0, M Glynn, A Shaw, N Mitchell 0-1 each.

Castletown: C Glennon; N McKenna, J Bermingham, A Glennon; C Kane, L Varley, D Lynch; P Maxwell, M Heeney; P Clarke, A Clarke, S Clavin; N O’Brien, D O’Reilly, J Gallagher SUBS: C Murphy for Clavin (37), B Carey for Gallagher (47), J Clarke for Maxwell (50), E Quinn for Glennon (53), M Gavigan for Clarke (55)

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Clonkill: A Mitchell; C Nolan, M McGrath, A McGrath; J Murtagh, P Scally, D Egerton; L Loughlin, S Power; A Price, N Dowdall, A Loughlin Stones; J Smyth, N Mitchell, A Shaw SUBS: P Dowdall for McGrath (HT), L Moran for Murtagh (44), B Murtagh for Loughlin Stones (45), M Glynn for Shaw (46), M Heffernan for N Dowdall (61)

Referee: C Flynn (St Brigid’s)

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