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2008 U-16 Hurling Title

Dominant Castletown Geoghegan Land Under 16 Crown With Ease

Castletown 2 - 12            St. Oliver Plunkett’s 0 - 02

A FORMIDABLE Castletown Geoghegan side landed the John Joe Lynch Memorial Cup with a controlled performance on Wednesday evening last, as they brushed aside the challenge of an industrious St. Oliver Plunkett's side at a floodlit Lakepoint Park, the home of St. Loman's GAA Club.

This impressive Castle-town Geoghegan under 16 team, a lot of whom were part of the All-Ireland Feile winning side last year, clearly has a great future, and the club has placed a strong emphasis on ensuring the team is kept together. Many clubs have seen promising underage teams fizzle out by the time minor hurling beckons, but Castletown Geoghegan are clearly determined to nurture this talented bunch of hurlers and the manner with which they achieved victory here bodes well.

At half time, the Black and Ambers led by 2-4 to 0-1 and at that stage, St. Oliver Plunkett's were facing an insurmountable task. To be fair, they never shirked the challenge and defended heroically at times, but they simply did not have the strength to match Castletown Geoghegan, who celebrated another noteworthy triumph.

After the match, a delighted Ciaran McDonald accepted the John Joe Lynch Memorial Cup from Minor Board Chairman, Sean Sheridan, and he and his team mates were free to celebrate another great victory. The fact that next year's under 16 championship will be contested by the actual team, which won national honours in '07, is a frightening prospect for other clubs, who face a daunting challenge, but must rise to the standard Castletown have set, if they are to compete.

EARLY GOALS
St. Oliver Plunkett's were determined to make their opponents work for every score and, in fairness, the tactic of getting extra men behind the ball generally worked well for them. However, they conceded two cheap goals in the first five minutes, which left their task much more difficult. It was Castletown corner forward, Paul Fennell, who pounced on defensive errors to score both goals, and the same player also hit over a point to give his side the perfect start.

An excellent point from a long range free by midfielder, John Heslin, increased the victors'lead at this stage and Heslin followed up with a quality point from play - again from around 65 metres. St. Oliver Plunkett's had already an extra man deployed in defence and they were coping reasonable well, but for them, getting scores seemed to be the problem. Meanwhile, a superb point by Niall O'Brien, from a long range free near the sideline, gave Castletown a 2-4 to nil lead by the 15th minute.

A similar trend continued as St. Oliver Plunkett's competed hard for every ball and they should have opened their account when Darragh Geraghty's delivery found Sean Ward, whose pass set up Niall Chevallier. However, the corner forward was unable to exploit the space and the chance went abegging as the shot landed short. But when David Gavin's delivery from free was well fielded by Sean Ward, the number 14 turned and sent over an excellent point for Plunkett's.

There were plenty of tough tackles and the odd bit of banter on the sideline, and Castletown midfielder, Darren Ruane, was cautioned by referee, Jimmy Cribben who always seemed in control. At half time, nine points separated the sides.

DANGER AREA
Castletown made changes at the break as goalkeeper, Niall Kelly, moved to full, with Paul Fennell switching back to defence and Dean McDermott going between the posts. However, it was Niall O'Brien who emerged as the chief tormentor for Plunkett's as the Castle-town corner forward hit three points (the first from a free) in the opening 11 minutes of the second half. O'Brien then collected a pass from David Lynch and shot over, making it 2-8 to 01 with 17 minutes left to play. St. Oliver Plunkett's tried valiantly to
recover but had to settle for just a point in the second half, from Aaron Craig in the 20th minute, after Gavin's pass from a free. Midfielder, Heslin, hit over a good point to keep Castletown focused and Neal Kirby scored two excellent points as they continued to apply relentless pressure. Heslin sealed it with another point in injury time, but in truth, there was never any doubt here.

Plunkett's could have poached a goal when David Gavin's free landed in the danger area, but they couldn't guide the loose ball to the net. Their guard of honour for the victors, as they left the pitch at the end, was a lovely gesture in a sport all too often dogged by controversy.

Castletown Geoghegan must be the envy of the county at this level, though, with such quality players at their disposal, and capable mentors to keep them in check. Aonghus Clarke missed the final with a broken collarbone, but his team mates showed they had the strength to counter such a loss, which says it all.

SCORERS
Castletown Geoghegan: Paul Fennell 2-1, Niall O'Brien 0-5 (2 frees), John Heslin 0-4 (1 free), Neal Kirby 0-2.
St. Oliver Plunkett's: S Ward and A Craig 0-1 each.

CASTLETOWNG-EOGHEGAN: Niall Kelly, Ciaran McDonald, Jordan Cassidy, Brian Killian, Dean McDermott, Diarmuid Garvin, David Fennell, John Heslin, Darren Ruane, Neal Kirby, Luke Cassidy, David Lynch, Niall O'Brien, Luke Kelly, Paul Fennell. Subs: Michael Dever, Cathal Tynan, Niall Gunning and Eoin Quinn.

ST. OLIVER PLUNKETT'S: Conor Lynch, Ciaran Glennon, Aaron Craig, Conor Duggan. Darragh Murray, Paddy Layde, William Dalton, Colm O'Leary, Sean Ward, Dylan Rice, Alex Collins, Niall Harrison, Darragh Geraghty, David Gavin, Niall Chevallier. Subs: Larry Rachinshas for D Murray, Stephen Gilmore for N Chevallier, Padraig Morton for D Geraghty, Mark Johnson for C. Glennon.

Referee - Jimmy Cribben (Clonkill)

Thanks to Topic Newspaper 23 October, 2008 for the above report.
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