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2008 Féile na nGael Hurling Final

Last gasp O’Brien goal sees Black and Ambers through in thriller
Tuesday, 13th May, 2008

Castletown-Geo. 3-7            Clonkill 3-6

The young hurlers of Castletown-Geoghegan and Clonkill produced an epic Feile na nGael final in Cusack Park on Tuesday evening last, May 13 with a display huge skill, heart and passion that had the large attendance on the edge of the seat from minute one to fifty.

It was a game that could have gone either way and in honesty if Clonkill had converted half of their chances then they would have won this game easily.

They probably were the most cohesive unit of the two but in Niall O`Brien, Castletown had the star turn. His silky skills were a joy to behold and when he took on the Clonkill defense they had no answer to him. His run for the winning goal started on his own 21 yard line and after running the length of the field and passing with his team-mates he found himself in the position to strike the perfect shot to gain victory for his side and to break the hearts of the Clonkill boys.

There really were no losers in this game as the young boys of Clonkill treated us to some wonderful hurling as well and they will ponder long on how they let this title slip away after dominating for long periods but it is the Black and Amber of Castletown that will represent Westmeath at this year’s All-Ireland Feile na nGael in Offaly/Laois.

From the throw-in both teams went at it hammer and tongs and in the space of two minutes Clonkill`s Daniel Sheridan and Castletown`s O`Brien had exchanged scores, O`Brien`s coming from a superb side line cut.

There was a small hiatus as both defenses began to get on top and we saw the other side of the game with expert blocking, hooking and harassing and wholehearted challenges that showed these youngsters are being coached expertly in all the skills of the game. Sheridan put Clonkill back in front with a well taken score but Daniel Collins replied in style for Castletown when his high effort evaded the efforts of the Clonkill defense and goalkeeper, Peadar Scally to find its way into the net.

Clonkill immediately responded and a great move ended with Luke Loughlin hitting the crossbar and Ciaran Morrison being blocked superbly on the rebound and somehow Castletown managed to clear the danger with some heroic defending. Points from Sheridan and Finbar Thompson did level matters for the green and gold`s though and it was the least they deserved for their long period of pressure.

It was now Castletown`s turn to hit back and marvelous points from Kieran Glennon and O`Brien put them two in front and they should have increased that lead when Kyle Dever found himself one on one with the `keeper but Peadar Scally saved the day for Clonkill with a fine stop.

From the resultant `65 O`Brien hit the crossbar and somehow the ball was cleared. A good run by Luke Thompson ended with Luke McGrath pointing a beauty and there followed a bizarre moment when Castletown goalie, David Pidgeon made a good save from Niall Mitchell only for Mitchell to hook him on the clearance and the ball ended up in the Castletown net and Clonkill now lead by two.

Niall O`Brien pulled one back for Castletown and moments later his run caused consternation in the Clonkill defense and when the ball bobbed around in the square somehow Shane Clavin got his hurley to it and right on the break Castletown had a goal to leave the half time score 2-4 to 1-5 in their favour.

The start of the second half was a bitty affair and neither side could gain a foothold until Kieran Glennon struck for a lovely point for Castletown. Clonkill were now three points in arrears and needed a lift and in fairness they poured forward and were extremely unlucky with some of their attempts on goal but it was also heroic defending from the Castletown rearguard. Just when it looked as if Clonkill would never pierce the Castletown defense, Daniel Sheridan pointed a free but O`Brien negated that with a free of his own.

Then Clonkill hit a purple patch and in the space of three minutes they had struck for two goals. The first was a solo effort from the impressive Ciara Morrison and gave the Castletown goalie no chance while the second came from a sideline cut that landed in the square and after a small melee Dean Moran, on as a sub, pulled on it and Clonkill were now in the driving seat.

At this stage Clonkill looked all over winners but they could not convert possession into scores and Castletown tried one last gasp effort. Firstly, Eoin Quinn was unlucky to see his shot just go over the bar when a goal looked on but the best was still to come. After intercepting a Clonkill attack on his own
45, Niall O`Brien soloed and interchanged the entire length of the field and when he found himself in shooting distance he unleashed an unstoppable shot to the net and from the jaws of defeat Castletown were now in front. With time running out Clonkill pushed everyone forward but Moran and then Thompson were thwarted by sublime blocks in defense and try as they might they just could not penetrate the Castletown defense.

After a foul on Kieran Glennon, Niall O`Brien had the chance for an insurance score but his long range effort drifted just wide. Clonkill could not muster a final hurrah and seconds later Frank Brennan blew the final whistle and Castletown had made it back to back Feile titles and Clonkill were left to ponder on what might have been.

O`Brien was immense for Castletown but in defense they had some excellent contributions from Michael Heeney, Conor Lynch and Frankie Deegan  while Kieran Glennon was another major threat. Clonkill too had their stars particularly, Ciaran Crentsil and Thomas Egan at the back while Jack and Luke McGrath at midfield were excellent in the middle of the field while up front Ciaran Morrison, Daniel Sheridan and Finbar Thompson were the pick of the forwards but despite probably shading the possession stakes it was their
failure to score that cost them this game and once more the Black and Amber of Castletown will represent Westmeath in the Feile final and Niall O`Brien accepted the trophy from Minor Board Chairman, Sean Sheridan to the delight of his team mates and supporters.

Scorers: Castletown-Geoghegan - Niall O`Brien 1-4 2 frees, Daniel Collins and Shane Clavin 1-0 each, Kieran Glennon 0-2, Eoin Quinn 0-1. Clonkill - Daniel Sheridan 0-4 3 frees, Ciaran Morrison, Niall Mitchell and Dean Moran 1-0 each, Finbar Thompson and Luke McGrath 0-1 each.

Castletown-Geoghegan: David Pidgeon, Michael Heeney, Leonard Gavin, Conor Lynch, Niall O`Connor, Liam Varley, Frankie Deegan, Eoin Quinn, Alan Clarke, David Keegan, Niall O`Brien, Daniel Collins, Shane Clavin, Kieran Glennon, Kyle Dever. Subs Cormac Deegan for Dever, Sean Mullarkey for Gavin. 

Rest of panel: Shane Warde, Kyle Dever, Michael Dennehy, Jamie Bolger, Dan Glennon, Alan Kincaid, Liam Cassidy, Brendan Heeney & Andrew Corbett.

Clonkill: Peadar Scally, Patrick Duncan, Ciaran Crentsil, Jake Cahill, Cian Quinn, Thomas Egan, Dylan Keena, Jack McGrath, Luke McGrath, Luke Loughlin, Finbar Thompson, Ciaran Morrison, Danny Lennon, Daniel Sheridan, Niall Mitchell. Subs Dean Moran for Lennon.

Referee: Frank Brennan, Crookedwood.

Kind thanks to Westmeath Examiner for above report.

Westmeath U14 Feile na nGael Final 2008 in Cusack Park, Mullingar

Final Score: Castletown-Geo 3-7 Clonkill 3-6.

Following an exciting and very close match on Tuesday evening last we emerged victorious in the final of this year’s Feile na nGael competition by the slenderest of margins. This was a tough, uncompromising but very exciting game and both teams showed a great deal of skill throughout.

We started the game slowly but playing with the aid of a stiff breeze we gradually got into the game and led by 2-4 to 1-5 at the break. We started the 2nd half a lot better and a few positional switches seemed to work well and we led by 3 points with 7nmins to go. However disaster seemed to strike as we conceded 2 goals in the space of a minute to go 3 points in arrears and things were not looking good. However this team showed great character and we scored a point to reduce the deficit to 2 and followed this with a brilliant goal by our team captain Niall O'Brien with 1 minute left on the clock to leave us leading by the slenderest of margins. We defended heroically against some fierce pressure from Clonkill in the last few minutes and held on to successfully defend our title.

Westmeath U14 Feile na nGael Semi Final 24-06-2008

Final Score: Castletown-Geo 7-8 Raharney 6-6.

Semi final Our U14 team reached the Final of the 2008 Feile Competition after a high scoring match against Raharney in CTG on Saturday last. This was a very exciting game with some great scores by both sides and following some stout defending by our back-line in the last 10 minutes we held on to win by 5 points. We now look forward to defending our title against Clonkill in the final.