Castlemartyr GAA Notes

26 September, 2010




What happened for the first hour in this epic game, became incidental in the end. Because when people will cast their mind back on this game, over the winter months ahead, all they will remember is throbbing excitement of injury time, when the match was lost, rescued, and unbelievably won. There can now be no doubt that this group of Castlemartyr players, will die with their boots on, and are truly heroic. Their supporters are certainly getting their money’s worth, and I would appeal to them to get out in greater numbers for the semi-final next Sunday evening at 6pm in Pairc Ui Rinn.

The first hour can be summarised like this. Castlemartyr started well, and with the Lawton brothers looking sharp, were 3 points to one ahead after 10 minutes. Then Buttevant totally took over, and dominated the rest of the first half. The Reds were guilty of conceding too many frees around the middle of the field, which were clinically punished, and were lucky to be only seven points to five in arrears at half time.

Mark Bowens appeared out for the second half, and the Reds took over. The forwards clicked into gear, and when Evan O Keefe goaled on the 42nd minute to put the Reds 1-8 to 0-9 in front, the game was in their hands. With ten to go, Jimmy had stretched it to a goal, and it looked like only the concession of a goal would deny the Reds. But in a repeat of the first half, the Buttevant lads, roared on by their huge support, pegged it back with three unanswered points, and the noise reached a crescendo , on the 60th minute, when they earned a free 21 yards out from goal, albeit out by the sideline.

We were now in injury time, and as the Buttevant free taker stood over the ball, Ollie Smiddy was being attended to, inside in the square. In what was later diagnosed as a serious Achilles tendon injury, Ollie eventually got up after four minutes of attention, and played on, but unfortunately that will have proven to be his last hurling of the year. Eventually the free was struck, and in fairness to the Buttevant man he nailed it, and the black and amber men were a point to the good.

On the 65th minute Dave Fleming pucked it out, and in this time of crisis, there was only going to be one paw he was aiming for. The paw went up amongst a forest of Buttevant hurleys, and not for the first time, came down with the sliothar firmly grasped. The “paw” of coarse belonged to Jimmy Smiddy, and when he was subsequently fouled, he himself took on the mantle of responsibility, to try and tie the game. The free was about 68 yards out, slightly to the right of the goals, but the moment it left his stick, it was only going straight over. Level again, and living to fight another day, one would have thought, as we entered the 66th minute.

The Buttevant keeper pucked it out long, deep into the Castlemartyr half back line, as we waited for the whistle to sound. But the ball was won by the Castlemartyr rearguard, and when Peter Horgan won possession, he was fouled, and now we had a free in our own half back line. Jimmy ambled over again, even though this was well outside his range, and we all expected a long one into Mark. But showing some clever thinking, Jimmy shot a quick one to Brian Lawton, who took off on a bit of a run. Drawing a man, he scooped a hand pass out to the roaming Darragh O Keeffe, and when he opened his shoulders from about 50 yards out, and lobbed the ball over the ball, the Castlemartyr supporters were in seventh heaven.

It was now the 67th minute, and there was still more time. Possession was everything now. Another long puck out was again successfully defended, and finally the game was over. The Reds were in their second County semi final in a row after another epic quarter final. Last year Nemo Rangers were overcome after a replay and extra time, but this year it only took one game plus plenty injury time to see off the stern challenge of Buttevant.

A heroic display by the lads, but if they are to go one better than last year, it’s going to take a much more consistent performance. We disappeared out of the match, too many times, and it will take a full hours hurling (plus injury time), to even live with the Cloughduv men. The mid Cork representatives’ sent us packing with ease last year, and it’s going to take a super human performance, to match them. The loss of Ollie Smiddy is a devastating blow, and will break up the 6 man unit that have played so well all the year. Whoever goes back there, will face an enormous challenge.

It’s a huge mountain to climb, and going on last year’s match, the Reds will be hoping that Cloughduv will have an off day, and that they themselves can play out of their skins. They did it before during that second half in Rostellen last year, so who is to say it that it can’t happen again. We are now down three big names from last year, Derek, Deano and Ollie, but this opens the door for eager lads on the line.

Anyway lads, give it a lash. It will be the first match you will have gone into all year in which you are complete outsiders, so that should focus the mind. And Castlemartyr supporters, you must do your bit too. This bunch of lads is a special bunch, and deserves your full support. Come out and roar them on next Sunday at 6pm in Pairc Ui Rinn. This time should be taken with a warning so check out closer to the weekend, in case it has been changed in the meantime. There will also be posters up in local shops around Mogeely and Castlemartyr, giving all the details.