Castletown Geoghegan Juvenile Hurling
The week end of June 15th – 17th 2007 will live long in the memories of the hurling folk in Castletown Geoghegan as the U-14 boys lifted the Canon Fogarty trophy to win the Division 2 all Ireland Feile na nGale final in Nolan Park , Kilkenny.
The weekend started on Friday morning when a party of 18 players 3 mentors and many parents, who provided the transport, headed off to Myshall in Carlow. There they were greeted by the host club Myshall. Their first game of hurling was against the local club Myshall on Friday afternoon and after a fine start they ran out comfortable winners on the score line of 4-16 to 1-3. This was a fine team performance and the result gave the team lots of confidence going into the remaining games.
On Friday evening the team and mentors took part in the Feile parade through the city of Kilkenny where they were joined by Camogie skills star representative for Westmeath, Sarah Jackson also from Castletown, and their fellow colleagues from Raharney and up to 5 thousand children. The parade was well organised with all clubs togged out in their team colours and a great display of club banners.
The following morning the team were back on the playing field against Muinebheag from Carlow who were the County champions, this game proved to be no simple task as Muinebheag started off in a very determined fashion and it proved to be one of the toughest games over the weekend. The sides were very evenly matched in the first half but a goal just before half time gave Castletown a bit of breathing space. Some of the exchanges were not for the faint hearted as the referee had to take a firm grip of the game, but Castletown’s skill won out at the end with a score line of 3-7 to 1-3. After one and a half hours rest the team was back on the field again to face the Kerry Co. champions named Ardfert and knowing that a win here would guarantee a semi final place the mentors had this team well tuned in to the task on hand. The Kerry boys had no answer to Castletown’s high fielding and long striking and they ran out easy winners 7-19 to 0-4. After a light dinner and some rest provided by the host club families the team headed off to Borris to play the semi-final against Robert Emmets the Derry champions who had beaten Rower Inistioge of Kilkenny. The boys were very focused on this game as they knew they had a great opportunity of getting to a final. For the first ten minutes of this game all those present witnessed some excellent hurling from the black and ambers. They raced into a 2-6 to no score lead after 10 minutes and were now playing with remarkable confidence. The Derry boys had no answer to the sheer speed and skill and the Castletown lads ran out winners on the score line of 5-12 to 0-3. On the return back to Myshall the host club provided a disco for the players and tea and refreshments for all the supporters. Everyone enjoyed the night.
On Sunday morning both clubs attended Mass in Myshall and the host families handed back the Castletown lads for their onward trip to Nolan Park. Great friendships were made between Castletown and Myshall. Both players and mentors were very excited about playing in Nolan Park in front of a large crowd and the TV cameras. The opposition was provided by St John’s of Belfast Co. Antrim who were the 2006 champions. The first half was very evenly matched with some tremendous hurling from both sides. At the interval Castletown led 0-5 to 0-4 and the supporters were anxious for the 2nd half to commence. The sides were level at 6 points each with 15 minutes to go and at that stage the mentors made some astute switches and as a result the scores began to flow in Castletown’s favour. The last 15 minutes of this match will live long in the memories of all those present for the pure skill in both striking catching and score taking displayed by the black & ambers. The boys from Antrim simply had no answer as Castletown reeled off points from every angle. As the final whistle approached it was evident that the trophy was coming back to the little village and Castletown duly ran out winners on the score line 0-21 to 0-6. Great scenes of emotion followed as Aonghus Clarke stepped up to collect the trophy from the president of the GAA Mr. Nicky Brennan. The large number of supporters from Castletown were overjoyed at this latest success. This success is just reward for this bunch of players who have worked tirelessly over the last no. of years and great credit must go to their team mentors Pat O’Brien, Kieran Kirby and Matt Kirby who have also worked tirelessly with them. There were some fine individual performances but overall it took team effort to gain success. This young team had great support all over the weekend but especially on Sunday when lots of local people travelled down to support them.