Castlemartyr Pedal into Quarter-finals

13 April, 2009




As Mossie Hodnett sr. used to say to us during the last recession “If you’re not hungry, you won’t eat your dinner, if you’re not hungry for the ball, you won’t win it. Well this Castlemartyr team that went into this match as overwhelming underdogs were not only hungry, they were ravenous. Time and time again during this epic encounter which ebbed and flowed throughout, the Reds battled for every ball as if their lives depended on it, and managed to turn over possession they had no right to, as well as winning dirty ball and having the courage to go for their scores whenever the opportunities arose. Team selector Johnny Morgan asked for one thing before the match, for the forwards to defend from the front, and they certainly did all they were asked, thus depriving the Aghada forwards of the quality ball that they enjoyed in the recent league humiliation, where they punished us with an avalanche of scores. In overturning a 3-13 to 0-2 scoreline of only 7 weeks ago in the league the Reds pulled off a major surprise and have travelled a long way since. Now they have reached the quarter finals under the steady stewardship of Joe Stack, and playing with a new found confidence that is a pleasure to watch. Easter Sunday ’09 may have seen the resurrection of Castlemartyr football.

The game started at a frenetic pace with Aghada registering the first score after only 2 minutes through the lively Matt O Connor. Ollie Smiddy replied 2 minutes later after surging up from midfield, but the Aghada lads were starting gain an upper hand at this stage and raced into a 3 points to 1 lead by the 12th minute. The Reds were playing with lots of passion though and when Barra O Tuama won a hard earned free on the 14th minute, he quickly released Brian Lawton who kicked his first point of the day to make it 3 points to 2.Matt O Connor added another for Aghada almost immediately and at this stage James Deehan was appointed the role of nullifying the threat which he did with major success.

By the 20th minute the sides were level 4 points apiece with the Lawton brothers slotting over two fine individual points and lion hearted midfielder Ollie Smiddy added another a minute later to give the Reds the lead for the first time. We now were on top in the midfield exchanges with Derek Bowens doing some fine work also and Jimmy Smiddy got on the score sheet on the 22nd minute following a mighty surge up field from the Cycling Centre-back Adrian Bowens Maurice added another 4 minutes later to leave it 7-4 approaching the break but Aghada finished the half strongly firing over 3 unanswered points to leave it level at the break.

Half time was a chance for everyone to have a breather after the intense first half but the second half was to prove to be even better. Eddie Clifford thundered into the game immediately after the resumption knocking over a lovely point after Jimmy Smiddy spurned a good goal chance. At this stage the cynical may have suggested that it was the fatigue of the Killarney to Castlemartyr Cycle that hindered Jimmy’s shot but Jimmy was to prove this theory completely and utterly wrong for the remainder of the game. The Bowens brothers were majestic at this stage driving forward at every opportunity and Derek winning good possession from kick outs. Jimmy tacked on 2 fine points by the 50th minute following some great pressure by him and Eddie followed with another brace of beauties to make it 12 points to 9 entering the final 10 minutes. It was champagne stuff from Castlemartyr now and when the Lawton brothers added a point apiece by the 55th minute to make it 14 points to 9, the Reds supporters were starting to relax a little.

But the Aghada men were not done yet. They are a proud club and with the game deep into injury time they scrambled over a point to cut the margin to 4 points. Then on the 63rd minute they stuck a peach of a goal past the veteran Michael John Cremin to cut the margin down to a single point. Now it was backs to the wall stuff and the excitement was intense. Tackles were hard and uncompromising and every bit of possession was vital. Thankfully for the Reds it was Brian Lawton on the 66th minute who slotted over another point to make it 15 points to 1-10 and when the Ref blew the long whistle following the kick out there were happy smiles on the faces of all Castlemartyr supporters present.


Jimmy Smiddy who played a starring role for his beloved Castlemartyr both in the Killarney-Castlemartyr Sponsored Cycle and in the JAFC MATCH V Aghada.


In what eventually proved to be a mighty weekend for Castlemartyr GAA club, our hardy cyclists, John Walsh, Barra O Tuama, Jimmy Smiddy, Kevin O Leary, Adrian Bowens and the Dagger Walsh returned back to the village to a hero’s welcome sometime after 3pm on Good Friday.

They were lucky with the weather and looked surprisingly fresh after their endeavours. Already they are making plans for next year and as Mick Leahy commented following the epic football match, “The cyclists played so well, they’ll have to start from Tralee next year”.

Well done to all concerned, especially the backroom staff of Mairead, Nicole and Elaine who provided the transport down and followed them up on the long and winding road. There is still time to sponsor the lads’ effort so please support this worthy cause.

The triumphant cyclists and their backroom team on their return pictured outside The Village Greengrocers on Good Friday.

The triumphant cyclists and their backroom team on their return pictured outside The Village Greengrocers on Good Friday.