Wolfe Tones 2-9 (aet)
JOHN TARRANT REPORTS
CASTLEHAVEN’S ability to rise to the occasion in extra time quelled the intentions of Wolfe Tones in the Covid-delayed 2020 Rebel Óg U18 Premier 2 FC final after a thrilling encounter at Bishopstown 4G.
It’s the first time, too, that Castlehaven has won a Premier county title.
Though 14 months later than its intended date, the battling traits of both sides surfaced to a contest that held quality and excitement to it in abundance with an added 20 minutes of extra time thrown into the mix.
When required, Castlehaven produced a performance brimful of commitment and resolve, not least during extra time when they outscored their opponents 1-3 to 0-1. Neither side operated at full strength, Castlehaven without central players Seán Bohane and Liam McCarthy, while Tones didn’t start Tommy Walsh, just back following injury but brought into the action at the three-quarter stage.
A wind-assisted Castlehaven made the early running, Jack Cahalane pointing a pair only for Tones – a combination of Kanturk and Lismire – to answer with a superb goal from Colin Walsh. The Haven realised the potential of Walsh, a former county dual minor player, and positioned an extra man in defence that took a time to bear dividends.
With the action unrelenting, Castlehaven answered with Cahalane placing Jamie O’Driscoll for a peach of a goal. However, Tones worked their way upfield, Walsh fielded brilliantly and warded off defenders to plant his second goal for a 2-1 to 1-3 lead at the first water break. Play resumed with Castlehaven possessing a greater pep through the efforts of Jack O’Neill, Thomas O’Mahony and Robbie Minihane with Cahalane, Jamie O’Driscoll and Jack O’Neill growing in prominence in attack.
O’Neill curled over a pair of neat points, the sides deadlocked at the interval 2-2 to 1-5 before Castlehaven nudged ahead courtesy of a Sean Browne point. However, Tones forfeited a terrific chance of a third goal, the Haven custodian Rory Courtney to the rescue with a brilliant double save from a penalty and subsequent follow-up effort.
Such heroics lifted the boys in Blue, O’Neill blasted over the crossbar before a productive move saw Cahalane feed O’Mahony to net for a clear 2-8 to 2-3 advantage.
But Tones were far from finished. A spell of concerted pressure saw talisman Colin Walsh and Brian O’Sullivan land five points without reply to level the game, 2-8 apiece, at the end of normal time.
Into extra time, Tones were down to 13 players for black card offences incurred by Eamon Hayes and Rory Sheahan. That numerical advantage allowed Castlehaven to make a telling breakthrough. Joseph Bohane cut out a ball in defence for O’Neill to find O’Driscoll in a crisp move to rattle the Tones net.
Still, Tones hung in. A Walsh point trimmed the gap to 3-8 to 2-9 by the closing of the opening ten minutes of extra time. On the restart, a focused Haven looked the more energised, Cahalane landed massive points and a third from O’Driscoll put daylight between the pair.
Try as they may, Tones attempted to rescue the day only for the Castlehaven to circle the wagons and allow team captain Tiarnán Collins accept the silverware.
Scorers – Castlehaven: J O’Driscoll 2-2; J Cahalane 0-4 (2f); T O’Mahony 1-1; J O’Neill 0-2; S Browne, R Burchill 0-1 each. Wolfe Tones: C Walsh 2-4 (2f); B O’Sullivan 0-3; R Sheahan, G Bucinskas (f) 0-1 each.
Castlehaven: R Courtney; F Collins, J McNulty, O Daly; A O’Donoghue, T Collins, T O’Mahony; J O’Neill, R Minihane; S Browne, C O’Neill, D Maguire; J Bohane, J O’Driscoll, J Cahalane. Subs: J Baudains for C O’Neill (35), R Burchill for D Maguire (38).
Wolfe Tones: R Cashman; C Carroll, J O’Connor, D O’Connor; E Hayes, O O’Connor, M Hooton; B O’Sullivan, A Walsh; R Sheahan, G Bucinskas, B Healy; D Gray, C Walsh, E McAulliffe. Sub: T Walsh for C Carroll (44).
Referee: Shane Scanlon (Newcestown).