Castlemartyr Notes

12 October, 2009

CASTLEMARTYR DIG DEEP TO FORCE REPLAY

CASTLEMARTYR...............................1-10

NEMO RANGERS...............................0-13

Not for the first time this season, centre –back Brian Smiddy struck with a point deep into injury time to rescue a match for his side. But whereas his effort against Midleton way back last June was a last gasp winner, sparking scenes of jubilation, the priceless point scored at the end of 65 pulsating minutes against Nemo was welcomed with a huge sigh of relief, as it earned this gallant Castlemartyr team a second crack at the city outfit.

However with the game entering the final quarter, things were looking a lot more promising for the Reds. Castlemartyr were playing their best hurling of the hour, and were leading by 1-8 to 0-8 when Nemo had their corner back sent off for a reckless pull on Barry Lawton. Now playing against fourteen men, one would have expected the Reds to close the game out, but in fairness to the Turners Cross outfit, they upped their game considerably whereas Castlemartyr seemed to go strangely flat. In the end it was the Reds who were scrambling for survival, and were mightily relieved at the end of the game to be still in contention for County honours.

On a perfect day for hurling on a beautiful sod in Cobh, Castlemartyr started brightly, when Barry Lawton opened the scoring inside the first minute with a lovely point from play. Brian Smiddy added a 65 five minutes later having taken over the long distance free taking responsibilities from his injured brother Jimmy, and the Reds were two points to the good. However Nemo took a firm grip on the game when they rattled over five unanswered points within the next ten minutes, with Castlemartyr guilty of giving away a lot of silly frees around the midfield area. Barra O Tuama was finding his opponent a handful, when he stuck two fine points but gradually Barra came to terms with this threat, and nullified him for the rest of the game. The game was proving to be a dour stop-start affair with fair punishment being dealt out by both sides. As usual Adrian Bowens and Brian Lawton were inspirational figures for the Reds and were doing their best to stem the Nemo tide.

Brian Smiddy cut the deficit to 2 points with another free from distance on the 16th minute, but scores were now becoming very hard to come by as both sets of defences were well on top. But on the 25th minute a long relieving clearance by Adrian Bowens was won by Evan O Keeffe 30yards out from goal. A point seemed to be there for the taking, but Evan went for the jugular, and although he has often hit far better shots, it somehow ended up in the net and the Reds were 1-3 to 0-5 in front. Nemo equalised almost immediately, but with the game starting to open up a bit now Evan pointed a free to reclaim the lead. However two unanswered points from Nemo just before the break made it 0-8 to 1-4 to the city boys, with the Reds having to face the slight breeze in the second half.

The opening spell of the second half was Castlemartyrs best period as their half forward line started to get a grip on the game. Seanie Hennessy after a subdued opening half was now back to his hard working best and rattled over a fine score on the resumption to equalise .Three unanswered frees, one from Brian Smiddy and two from Evan gave the Reds a healthy three point cushion, and they were hurling with a superb intensity and appetite for the task on hand. Eddie Clifford was having a fine game in the no 12 berth as were Peter Horgan, Brian Smiddy and Ollie Smiddy. Rob O Donavan at full back was proving imperious and James Deehan alongside him was seeing a lot of ball. Things were moving along nicely and one felt that Castlemartyr would not be beaten unless Nemo could score a goal. But the sending off on the 46th minute changed the course of the game. Almost at once Nemos half back line and midfield got totally on top and the Castlemartyr defence was coming under intense pressure. A Nemo point soon after the sending off was cancelled out by an inspirational score by a rampaging Eddie Clifford with 51 minutes on the clock to leave it 1-9 to 0-9. But amazingly that was to prove to be the Reds last score until the dying moments. Nemo were running at the Castlemartyr rearguard and their efforts were bearing a rich harvest. Four unanswered points put them a point up with the full hour played and the Nemo supporters were asking the Ref for the whereabouts of his whistle.

It is to this Castlemartyrs team eternal credit that they kept plugging away till the end. With excitement at fever pitch a ball flashed across the Nemo goals and when Colin Bowens connected sweetly with it, we expected the net to bulge, but alas it went agonisingly wide. “That’s it” we thought but after another passage of play Castlemartyr won a free 80yards out from goal and the task was given to Brian Smiddy to tie the match. There was now 62 minutes on the clock, but when his effort sailed narrowly wide, the dream looked well and truly over. But thankfully there was still more time. Another Castlemartyr attack was snuffed out by gallant Nemo defending, at the expense of a 65 and well, Brian Smiddy was coolness personified as he slotted it straight between the sticks to dramatically equalise. We were now 5 minutes deep into injury time and still the Ref found more. There was time for two more Nemo attacks which the Reds rearguard heroically repelled, and when the Ref finally blew the full time whistle it was the Castlemartyr team and supporters who had most reason to be happy.

The replay is fixed for Cobh again, next Sunday the 18th of October at 4pm.Nemo will start again as strong favourites, especially with the return of star forward James Masters, but if Castlemartyr can play with all the skill and passion they have shown at key moments throughout this glorious year, they will have nothing to fear from the city side..Best of luck lads, and well done so far.

TEAM: D FLEMING, BARRA O TUAMA, R O DONAVAN, J DEEHAN, O SMIDDY, B SMIDDY0-4frees), A BOWENS, BRIAN LAWTON, P HORGAN. D BOWENS, S HENNESSY (0-1), E CLIFFORD (0-1), E O KEEFFE (1-3 (0-3frees)), M.BOWENS, BARRY LAWTON (0-1). SUBS USED COLIN BOWENS.