Castlemartyr Notes

19 October, 2009



NEMO RANGERS......................................1-11(after extra time)

In a game that had more twists and turns than the Ring of Kerry, Castlemartyr finally emerged victorious after an epic battle that took almost 90 minutes of hurling that was certainly not for the faint hearted. Indeed as the game moved into its final minutes of normal time, it looked like that the journey was over for the men in Red. Nemo were a point in front and were cutting swathes through the Castlemartyr rearguard. But a shot that was destined to put them three ahead, was pulled down from over the crossbar by superb net minder David Fleming, and was scrambled to safety. Thirty seconds later Nemo were still on the rampage and bearing down on goal and looked like at last finishing the game off for once and for all. A powerfully struck shot from 14 yards out was bound for the bottom left hand corner, but somehow David flung himself across the goal and deflected the ball out for a 65. The resultant free puck was slotted over to make it a two point game but the Reds were still hanging on.

It was then that Evan O’Keeffe decided to alter the course of this game. When he got the ball out around midfield there didn’t appear to be any danger to the Nemo men but a huge puck from Evan sailed over the bar and the Reds were only a point behind. Time was up now but there was always going to be a generous helping of injury time due to the nature of the game, and in a case of déjà vouz, it was Brian Smiddy who was called on again to tie up the game from a long distance free. To rapturous cheers he duly obliged and we were going into extra time.

But before all that there had been a ferocious battle. On a cool, damp, gloomy day in Cobh both teams slugged it out from the start. Castlemartyr settled quicker and although playing against a slight breeze were 4 points to 1 ahead after a quarter an hour’s hurling. All Castlemartyr scores had come from close range Evan O Keeffe frees which had been hard earned by the Reds hard working forwards. It was noticeable that Derek Bowens was putting in an enormous effort, and that Barra O Tuama was hurling well on his illustrious opponent James Masters. Brian Lawton and Adrian Bowens too were on fire, and overall things were going to plan for the Reds.

But if Castlemartyr won the first quarter it was almost inevitable that Nemo would win the second and in this topsy turvey contest, that is exactly what happened .Both teams went in tied at the break 5 points apiece, but not before the game had threatened to spill over into something unpalatable. The intensity was frightening to watch as both teams refused to give an inch and just before the break the ref had to call both captains together to try and restore order.

The second half started with the first of David Flemings match winning saves. A Nemo forward went on a strong run through the Castlemartyr defence but as he went to strike his shot, David launched himself at the attacker and smothered the goal bound shot bravely. Another couple of frees, one each from Evan and Brian Smiddy put us 7-5 ahead by the 38th minute, but a minute later the game turned again when a high lobbing ball into the Castlemartyr full back line was gathered by James Masters. There was a question of him catching Barra O Tuamas hurley but this went unnoticed by the referee and Masters bellowed the net from close range. But Castlemartyr equalised again on the 43rd minute through a Brian Smiddy free as we entered the final quarter.

This game of inches was illustrated by a passage of play that took place in front of the Castlemartyr dug out half way through the second half. It started with the ball going out over the sideline for a line ball and the linesman was unsure which way to give it. From the resultant slap ball both teams dug in and went at it hard, both refusing to yield an inch. In all it took four slap balls in a row, all life threatening affairs before the sliothar saw daylight again. Whoever was going to win this match were certainly going to have to do it the hard way.

On the 49th minute Barry Lawton got Castlemartyrs first score from play to edge them in front, but this was quickly cancelled out 2 minutes later to make it 0-9 to 1-6.A further point from Nemo 3 minutes later put them a point in front with time slipping away Castlemartyrs backs were to the wall again. If this match were a film it would have to be Rocky, and Castlemartyr got back up off the ropes yet again through the heroics of the aforementioned David Fleming, Evan O Keeffe and finally Brian Smiddy to force this enthralling contest into extra time.

It is a testament to all those involved with all those involved that this Castlemartyr team went out and played the hurling they did in extra time. Amazingly after such a tough game, there appeared to be no tired legs and if anything the intensity levels were raised. Derek Bowens was unlucky just after the restart when he flashed a dangerous ball across the square, but the inrushing Damien McAuliffe just failed to get a touch on it to usher it home. Derek though flashed over a fine point following the puck out to restore the lead but Nemo replied with 2 of their own to put themselves back in the driving seat. Another mighty Evan O Keeffe point following a great ball from Adrian Bowens tied things up yet again, and with the Pairc Ui Chonaill heaving with excitement Derek Bowens put Castlemartyr back into the lead at the end of the first half of extra time by 0-14 to 1-10.

As the game entered its final act a great ball from Brian OTuama released Evan again and he rifled over a terrific score to give the Reds a 2 point lead. and when Brian Smiddy pointed his own hard earned free almost immediately we were 3 in front and dreaming of victory. From here to the end it was heart attack stuff. Nemo threw everything at Castlemartyr but through the combined efforts of the team, who played as if their very lives depended upon it, somehow repelled the black and green tide. Brian Lawton was especially heroic and must surely have slept soundly on Sunday night. He ran himself to a standstill, and then he ran some more and was the inspiration behind this famous Castlemartyr victory. But it would have all counted for nothing if David Fleming hadn’t saved the day again. With 3 minutes to go Nemo were through on goal again, but somehow David dived and stopped the ball again. The sliothar flew over him and was heading for the net, but out of nowhere came the magnificent Rob Rock O Donavan to clear the ball off the line and scramble it out for a 65. This was slotted over to make it a 2 point game again, but thankfully it proved to be the last score of this epic encounter. Castlemartyr had hung on and showed enormous character to advance to the semi final which will be held next Sunday in Pairc Ui Ring. against the mid Cork champions Cloughduv. It’s the year that keeps on giving, and they are the team that will give till they have got no more.



CASTLEMARTYR V CLOUGHDUV in Pairc Ui Rinn 3.30 Sunday 25th of October.