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Clinical Castletown clinch promotion to Premier

April 4th, 2024 1:00 PM

By Ger McCarthy

Castlelack FC's Oisin O'Mahony is challenged by Castletown Celtic's Eoin O'Reilly during the WCL Championship tie at Castletownkenneigh on Sunday. (Photo: Paddy Feen)

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Castletown Celtic 5

Castlelack 0



JACK O’Callaghan’s hat-trick secured Castletown Celtic’s promotion to the Premier Division on Easter Sunday but the battle for the West Cork League Championship title rages on.

Ahead of Castletown’s latest home fixture against Castlelack, the Championship pacesetters enjoyed a seven-point lead over their closest title challengers.

Castletown Celtic's Niall O'Halloran battling with Brian O'Mahony of Castlelack.


That chasing pack, including Clonakilty United and Drinagh Rangers B, possessed enough games in hand to stretch the title race until the end of the season. Clonakilty’s subsequent 2-1 loss to Aultagh Celtic confirmed Celtic’s promotion. Drinagh’s 4-1 win over Baltimore means Rangers can still, mathematically, pip the current leaders for the title.

So, against Castlelack, it was imperative Castletown kept their rivals at arm’s length and did so thanks to a convincing performance.

Two first-half Jack O’Callaghan goals set Castletown on their way. Additional Eoin O’Reilly and Jake Draper efforts coupled with O’Callaghan’s third strike completed an important win.

‘It was important for us to get the three points today more than anything really,’ Castletown Celtic manager Gary Shannon told The Southern Star.

‘Everything is in our own hands now with two league games to play. It is better to have things in your own hands as otherwise you are waiting on results from other teams.’

Castletown entered their 20th league fixture in rude health. A 1-0 opening day loss to Drinagh Rangers B was the solitary blemish in an otherwise undefeated (league) record since September. Fourteen wins in their previous 15 league outings underlined why the Championship pacesetters were heavy favourites at kick-off.

Castlelack's Darragh Hurley clears the ball before Castletown Celtic's Jack O'Callaghan can challenge.

As for a mid-table placed Castlelack, three wins from their previous five league fixtures meant the Brinny club was not travelling to Castletownkenneigh just to make up the numbers.

The game’s first chance fell to Celtic’s Rory O’Sullivan after nine minutes. Jack O’Callaghan’s attempt deflected into O’Sullivan’s path as he rushed into the penalty box. Goalkeeper Billy Curtin was equal to the effort and produced an instinctive stop.

Content employing a high defensive line, a youthful Castlelack played their way into contention. Rory Curtin and Brian O’Mahony’s midfield axis instigated a series of attacks during a positive spell.

While there was plenty to admire in both sides’ approach, chances were few until Castlelack came within the width of a crossbar of scoring. Aaron Elliott’s corner was met by a thumping Cian Kelleher header that rattled the frame of Castletown’s goal after 30 minutes.

An entertaining encounter looked to be heading for a scoreless first half until the league leaders netted twice in quick succession.

Aaron Draper’s run and low centre was flicked into the net by Jack O’Callaghan after 43 minutes. Not content to sit on their one-goal advantage, Celtic made it 2-0 just 60 seconds later. Moving the ball swiftly across their opponent’s penalty area, Darren Coughlan found Jack O’Callaghan, who side-footed first-time into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

Two down at the break, Castlelack stuck to their patient build-up and forced Rory O’Sullivan to head off his goal-line shortly after the restart.

Once again, the Championship leaders responded but failed to find a way past Billy Curtin who repeatedly thwarted Celtic’s attack. Despite some wayward finishing, Celtic confirmed their victory via an Eoin O’Reilly strike after 55 minutes.

Admirably, the visitors utilised an effective offside trap and spread the ball wide in an attempt to breach Celtic’s defence during the remaining half an hour.

That’s why a deflected Jake Draper goal frustrated the visitors and put an unfair gloss on their otherwise sterling efforts. There was still time for Jack O’Callaghan to complete his hat-trick and seal a comprehensive victory with the Championship Division trophy now firmly in Celtic’s sights.

‘We just have to keep going and try to get over the line,’ Gary Shannon said.

‘No one wants to let things slip at this late stage. Jack’s (O’Callaghan) goals were important again today so we just have to keep the momentum going now.’

Our Star: Castlelack goalkeeper Billy Curtin was superb throughout but Castletown’s Jack O’Callaghan gets the nod for his hat-trick of beautifully finished goals.


Castletown Celtic: David Curtin, Darren Coughlan, Tiernan O’Driscoll, Shane Corcoran, Aaron Draper, Jack O’Callaghan (captain), Rory O’Sullivan, Eoin O’Reilly, Barry O’Mahony, Gearoid O’Donovan, Matthew Draper.

Subs: Jeremiah Hurley, Finbarr Dromey, Niall O’Halloran, Cian Buttimer, Jake Draper.

Castlelack: Billy Curtin, Rory Curtin, Brendan Harrington (captain), Cian Kelleher, Brian O’Mahony, Oisin O’Mahony, Brian Lordan, Aaron Elliott, Dara Hurley, Noel Brady, Eoin Lane.

Subs: Robbie O’Brien, Max Mullaney, David Hall, Tadhg Curtin, Dylan O’Callaghan.

Referee: Jack Forbes.

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