1982 Senior Hurling Title
Superb first half by Castletowngeoghegan proves too much for gallant Brownstown. Westmeath Examiner Sept 18th, 1982.
Castletown Geoghegan won their eight senior hurling championship title when they defeated reigning champions Brownstown in an encounter that came to full blooded life in a rousing second half when the seemingly down and out “Blues” staged a dramatic rally which threatened to overtake the previously rampant CastletownGeoghegan hurlers. Brownstown just failed to equate affairs but their gallant fightback ensured that the fair sized attendance went home from Cusack Park, Mullingar well pleased with the entertainment value of this Senior Hurling Final.
A strong breeze blew straight down the field towards the Sports Complex end and it was the general consensus before the start that this would be a decided advantage to the team it favoured. In fact, the game did not run that way. Brownstown with the elements behind them in the opoening moiety could only muster three points while Cstletown totted up seven minors.
In the senond half the black and amber brigade, wind assisted, only matched their first half total of seven points while the regining champions improved their opening half tally by three points in scoring 1-3. Strange surely but team placings and tactics contributed to the failure of both teams to fully harness the wind element. More about that anon.
CastletownGeoghegan deserve congratulations on their splendid success. They were hungrey for victory and they took the game to Brownstown right from the start. The fact that their sister club St. Malachys’ was involved in key championship matches on the three Sunday’s previous to this final makes their triumph all the more remarkable. Yet these dual players displayed zest, courage and skill with the camain and while their preparations was far from ideal for the decider the black and ambers somehow managed to overcome those obstacles to emerge worthy champions.
Brownstown went down like champions. They never struck form in the opening thirty minutes. In this period they were struggling badly at midfield and they would have been in dire straits were it not for the ourstanding defensive work of Jim Davis, Noel Fitsimons and Tommy Daly. Many a lesser team would have ceded the laurels at the end of the first half when although they elected to play with the wind they trailed by 0-3 to 0-7.
All seemed lost for them in the 42nd minute when the champions elect led by 0-11 to 0-4. To the credit of the Blues they rallied in spirited style and Castletown were showing considerable distress when their lead was cut to two points, 0-11 to 1-06 with twelve minutes remaining. Then Willie Shanley raised the seige when he struck a phenomenal point from inside his own 45 metre line to effectively swing the pendulum back in CastletownGeoghegan’s favour.
Cusack Park was in grand condition for this final and the dry surface was conductive to good hurling. The sun made a brave effort to keep the autumn chills away and the pre-match parade led by the Mullingar Town Band roused the hitherto quiet crowd to shout words of encouragement to their teams.
The blue and white and the black and amber colours sported by spectators gave clear indications as to where their respective loyalties lay. Reiteoir Ben Murtagh tossed the coin. Brownstown called correctly and Martin Carr decided to take the wind advantage.
Mullingar Town Band played Amhran na bhFiann and the scene was set to decide where the Westmeath Examiner Cup was going to rest in 1982.
As the players moved to their respective places it was noted that Willie Shanley was operating at centre back and Ger Jackson at midfiled – the reverse of their positions on the official programme. Christy Shaw led the Brownstown attack and the named centre forward Michael Geraghty was playing at left half forward.
The game opened at a furious pace and in the first minute John Leonard sent a 66 metre free wide after Pat Dalton had fouled Christy Shaw. Play swung to the other end and Eamonn Clarke secured possession some twenty metres out. He was fouled going through and Eamonn pointed the 20 metre free himself to give his team a lead they were never subsequently to lose.
Tommy Carr illegally halted Willie Lowry and Pat Dalton sent the 75 metre free wide. Eugene Dolan was wide of the posts in the 4th minute and two minutes later play was held up for sometime when Eamonn Clarke received a very heavy tackle which resulted in his having to retire from play. This was a bad blow for Castletown.
Pat Dalton scored a good point from the free which was some 20 metres out and ten metres in from the left hand side line. Joe Clarke replaced his injured brother, Eamonn and John Davis was spoken to by the referee.
Noel Geraghty was wide for Castletown and Dessie Costelloe’s foul on Jim Davis earned him a stern warning from referee, Ber Murtagh. Exchanges were quite tough at this stage but thankfully they were generally sporting. In the
tenth minute Willie Lowry picked up an attempted clearance, soloed through and on the run picked off a delightfully struck left handed point to give Castletown a 0-3 to 0-0 lead.
Pat Dalton and Ger Jackson were dominating midfield and only the brilliance of Jim Davis, Noel Fitzsimons and John Davis kept Castletown scores to reasonable proportions. Tommy Daly set up an attack and the ball broke to Eugene Dolan, who soloed, made his angle and scored a nice point from 30 metres out in the eleventh minute. This was Brownstown’s first score of the game.
This point steadied the Blues and Tommy Daly flighted a free from outside half way into the right corner of Castletown’s defence. John Leonard secured possession and scored a neat point from the right wing in the thirteenth minute. Jimmy Fitzsimons lost a chance to level the game when he pucked a 64 metre free wide as the game moved into the second quarter. Pat Dalton was very much to the fore and with able assistance from Ger Jackson, was reigning supreme at midfield.
In the twentieth minute Finbarr Clarke was upended going through and Pat Dalton increased Castletown’s lead with a point from the close range free. Gerry Whelan and Eugene Dolan collided and the speedy Brownstown half forward was forced to retire. He was a loss to the Brownstown attack. He was replaced by Anthony Kelly and it was great to see Anthony back in action again fully recovered from his serious leg injury. John Garry was also injured and he was replaced by Jimmy Henry.
John Leonard sent in a low drive which seemed to be goal bound but Castletown cul baire Michael Jackson done very well to turn it round the post for a fruitless effort. Noel Fitzsimons struck a 65. With eight minutes remaining in the half Finbarr Clarke foraged over to the left corner and despite being closely tackled by two defenders he managed to fire over a point from a well nigh impossible angle to increase Castetown’s lead to 0-5 to 0-2.
Tommy Lowry was an inspirational figure in Castletown’s defence and a cleance of Tommy’s was latched onto by Ger Jackson – the midfielder soloed 30 yards and created space for Stephen Hanratty who availed of Jackson’s pass and steered the sliothar between the posts. John Leonard was off the mark for a free but when Stephen Hanratty was fouled 30 meters out Pat Dalton made no mistake from the free out on the right wing.
Tommy Daly was making great efforts for Brownstown and he eluded his marker to score a truly magnificent point from the middle of the field two minutes before half time. In the remaining time Michael Daly the Brownstown goalie saved well from a strong Castletown attach and shortly afterwards the half time whistle was sounded with Castletown leading 0-7 to 0-3 after playing against the strong breeze.
Brownstown re-emerged with a much changed side, Jimmy Henry who had replaced John Garry because of an injured collar bone was at full forward, John Leonard switched over to top of the left and Jimmy Fitzsimons had now gone to top of the right. Michael Lowry immediately moved over to take on Jimmy Fitzsimons and Pat O’Brien continued to marshall John Leonard. Michael Geraghty and Tommy Daly now formed a new midfield partnership with Martin Carr droping back to wing back and Tommy Carr moving into wing forward.
Tommy Daly made an early second half impression and was narrowly wide twice. Pat Dalton was fouled 70 metres from his own goal and Willie Shanley struct the free superbly to increase Castletowns lead in the 34th minute. Tommy Carr was pulled up for an off the ball tackel but this time Willie Shanley was wide with the free.
Gerry Kelly stormed up field and was fouled 30 metres out in the 37th minute. John Leonard pointed the free and Castletown now led 0-8 to 0-4.
Joe Clarke scooped a nice pass to Stephen Hanratty and his shot at goal was turned around the post by keeper Michael Daly. Willie Shanley pointed the resultant 65 in the 40th minute . Joe Clark’s hurley was held by Noel Fitzsimons and Pat Dalton pointed the 50 metre free in the 41st minute.
Castletown were flying now and within a minute Willie Lowry fielded the sliothar in regal style and fired over a grand point and Borwnstown seemed to be in real trouble as they trailed by 0-11 to 0-4.
The out going champions were not going down without a fight and after Michael Jackson did well to prevent a goal the sliothar broke loose to Anthony Kelly who first timed an unstoppable shot to the Castletown net in the 45th minute.
Inspired by this score Brownstown maintained the offensive and John Leonard pointed a free from 40 meters out to leave Castletown leading by 0-11 to 1-05.
Excitment was reaching fever pitch and when Dessie Costelloe was whistled up for a shove, Richie Shaw guided the sliothar with unerring accuracy from the midfield spot and this splendid score left Brownstown within two points of their rivals. Stephen Hanratty sent wide when well poisitioned and Eamonn Clarke with his knee heavily bandaged returned to active service. He replaced his brother Finbarr.
Vital point from Willie Shanley
In the 53rd minute Willie Shanley scored a vital point and what an amazing score it was. Castletown were awarded a free from inside their own 45 metre line and Willie sent a monstrous 100 yards plus drive over the bar. Shades of Paddy Kirwan’s match winning shot for Offaly in the Leinster Final last year!
Michael Reilly then replaced Tommy Carr. Willie Shanley tacked on the insurance point from a midfield free and just on the stroke of full time the sliotar broke from a melee to Dessie Costelloe some 30 meteres out. Dessie promptly lashed it over the bar and seconds later Castletown were the new champions of Westmeath hurling.
Castletown hurled with admirable tenacity in this encounter. Their courage and bravery knew no bounds and it was epitomised by Ger Jackson and Michael Lowry, hurley-less, continuing to kick on the ball in the face of flashing hurleys. This courage, too, manifested itself in the return to action of badly injured Eamonn Clarke.
The black and amber brigade were well disciplined and one recalls Willie Lowry holding back from pulling when there was a real chance he would hit Tommy Daly who was lying on the ball.
Pat Dalton – Castletown’s star
For me, the star of the Castletown show was Pat Dalton. He was brilliant in the first half and as well as winning an amount of possession he was quite accurate from frees. Tommy Daly curbed him somewhat in the third quarter but still the ice cool Pat came into his own again in the final quarter.
Ger Jackson, captain of the team, was a great midfield partner for Pat Dalton. This sweet stricking, left or right, player was always in the thick of affairs and he benefitted too from the switch to centre back in the final ten minutes.
Both defences were very good. Castletown cul baire Michael Jackson brought off some great saves. In front of him fiercely determined Michael Lowry, wily veteran Tommy, who had one of his best ever games for Castletown and youthful Pat O’Brien managed to curtail the very dangerous Brownstown forwards.
Peter Kirby, stylish and sure, Gerry Whelan hard tackling and hard working, were good flank defenders and in between, Willie Shanley, by sending over four smashing points from such long range frees carved out a new niche for himself in hurling folklore – and Willie effected many clearances as well.
Midfield was Castletowns best sector and Pat Dalton and Ger Jackson held an iron grip in this vital area especially in the first half. The Castletown forwards were well held by the Brownstown backs. The full forward line of Finbarr Clarke, Noel Geraghty, the unfortunate Eamonnn Clarke and his replacement, Joe Clarke rarely managed to shake off their opponents but their spirited contesting of the sliotar often prevented the defenders from getting in lengthy clearances.
Willie Lowry scored two beautiful point and his duel with that great sportsman and defender Richie Shaw broke about even. Wing forwards Stephen Hanratty, he missed some good scoring chances but managed to curtail Tommy Daly in the first half, and Dessie Costelloe both, while having fairly quiet games, contributed to Castletown’s scoring list.
Scorers for Castletown:-
Willie Shanley and Pat Dalton 0-4 each, Willie Lowry 0-2, Stephen Hanratty, Eamonn Clarke, Finbarr Clarke and Dessie Costelloe 0-1 each,
Michael Jackson, Michael Lowry, Tommy Lowry, Pat O’Brien, Peter Kirby, Willie Shanley, Gerry Whelan, Pat Dalton, Ger Jackson (capt) Willie Lowry, Dessie Costelloe, Finbarr Clarke, Noel Geraghty and Eamonn Clarke. Subs used Joe Clarke for Eamonn Clarke (injured) and Eamonn Clarke for Finbarr Clarke.