It is generally taken for granted that when you talk to the 6th class of Castletown school they can relate and tell you the joys and excitement of the latest senior hurling victory, but not the class of 2003/4 as they were not even born when the Examiner Cup settled in the little village. Fourteen years without reaching the summit is regarded as a famine in this area so at the latest AGM it was decided to hand the task of guiding the present bunch of players to Sean Keegan whose record at under age level comes second to none. No time was wasted and as soon as the first sign of spring appeared training commenced with a large panel of players. Challenge matches plus league games gave some indication as to the layout of the team. As Spring rolled into Summer the Championship finally began. It was a league system with eight teams competing for the Examiner Cup. The first game was in at the deep end against the men from Collinstown and it must be said that our boys laid their intensions down for all to see with a great recovery to get a draw late in the game, with a sore line of 1-10 to 0-13 the supporters of the Black and Amber felt that maybe this was their year. As the summer of 04 rolled on there was victories over Castlepollard, Brownstown, Ringtown and Raharney, but an unthinkable defeat to Delvin gave some cause for concern. The last game in this series was against Clonkill and even though we came out the wrong side of 2-10 to 1-12 there were real signs of better times ahead. The serious hurling starts in August and with a quarter final against Delvin in the pipeline, lightning never strikes twice, the boys eased their way into the semi-final and were pitted against Clonkill. Having endured a ding-dong battle against the men from Cloughan earlier in the summer we were very hopeful of success as the game unfolded it became evident that both teams were more afraid of losing this semi-final rather than having the bottle to go and win it. So at the end of sixty minutes the sides finished all square 1-11 each. In the other semi-final the Gaels overcame their neighbours Castlepollard 4-11 to 2-11. A week later we returned to Cusack Park to complete the unfinished business. The day itself was very wet and windy and it was always going to be a game of two halves. Castletown built their foundation of victory in the first thirty minutes but they had to dig deep and withstand a huge effort from the Clonkill boys. The score line of 3-10 to 1-13 in Castletown’s favour gives you an indication of how close the encounter really was. We were in the final at last and all roads led to Cusack Park on Oct 19 th for the final showdown. When one looked at the statistics in reaching the final there was some cause for concern. The defence had somehow let 17 goals get by and, with their top scorer Ronan Whelan out of bounds for the final maybe this after all was not going to be their year, but as some old wise head once said a Final is a once off and it is a 50-50 game for the team that really wants
victory. This bunch of players had tasted a bitter defeat against the same opposition in 2002 in the closing moments of one of the best finals played in years. Revenge is always sweeter in victory so here goes to the Black and Amber for 2004.
Castletown Geoghegan 0-13 L.L.Gales 1-9
A superbly motivated Castletown side stormed to their 11th senior hurling title when they out hurled and outfought favourites L.L.Gales in an exciting final. There defence was rock solid with Emmet Dalton leading by example with his no nonsense first time hurling. The youthful Michael Garvin and Barry Whelan rose to the occasion in their debut final. The experienced defenders like John and Kevin Jackson, Ian Corrigan and Derek Gallagher were never going to give some space or freedom to the Gaels forwards. The most dominant area of the field for the Black and Ambers was midfield where John Brennan and the tireless Keith Gorry ran the show. It was fitting that Gorry should be the unlikely hero when he sent over the winning point late in the game. Upfront the forwards Corcoran, Connaughton, Joe & Patrick Clarke worked hard and set up numerous chances for theircolleagues, but the real heartbreaker for Collinstown was Alan Mangan and the youthful Blane LeHarte. Between them they scored 11 points (5 from play). Mangan drew on his big day experience with the Co. footballers to deliver a man of the match performance. He stepped into the free taking role left vacant by the suspended Ronan Whelan and he simply put them over from every angle. The youthful Blane LeHarte who was only starting his 2nd championship match defied his young years with a majestic display of skilful hurling in the full forward line.
Castletown led by 8 point to 4 by half points and they never relinquished their lead even though the Gales drew level when their best player K. Cosgrave scored the games only goal from a 21 yards free. The Gaels reliance on the youthful Cosgrave was evident as he scored 1-8 from their total. The only Castletown sub used was the experienced Garry Jackson and he also played his part when introduced. There were great scenes of joy and excitement as team captain Ian Corrigan lifted the Examiner cup after a lapse of 14 years. At last the famine was over. For the record the team was.
SUB USED:- Garry Jackson.
TEAM TRAINERS:- Sean Keegan.
SELECTORS:- Noel Geraghty and Dr. Liam Harris.