Castlewellan are in top gear again

Castlewellan are in top gear again

3 August 2016

CASTLEWELLAN showed too much guile and craft as they thwarted the challenge of East Down neighbours Loughinisland in the opening round of this year’s SFC at Downpatrick on Saturday.

As early as the second minute John Treanor’s men had carved out a goal opportunity, but county goalkeeper Kieran Gordon pulled off a fine save and from the resulting 45 Kevin Duffin put the town side in front. 

They quickly double their lead through Liam McKibben, but suffered a major blow with just eight minutes gone when midfielder Luke Toner had to leave the pitch with a head injury which would see him take no part in the remainder of the game.

Loughinisland  got off the mark when Paddy McKenny converted a close range free, but Castlewellan added two more points through Daniel Morgan and the impressive David Gilmore to lead by three after ten minutes. 

Gilmore played a pivotal role for the winners and his fast movement out of defence with the ball caused problems for the Blues throughout the game.

With a quarter of the game gone Dan Gordon linked with Stefan Mason, who picked out Paddy Megoran and the roving full-back levelled the scores, firing the ball to the net with a low shot to Gerard Keown’s right hand side.

The stalemate lasted only a few seconds as Kevin Duffin slotted over two points before Gilmore forced another saved from Gordon who tipped his effort over the bar.

Castlewellan’s first half goal of the game was the result of a quick passing move out of defence with three accurate passes causing panic in the Loughinisland defence. 

First, Kevin Duffin looked set to find the net, but his effort was blocked down. Liam McKibben was quickest to react and after picking up the loose ball wasted no time in sending it past Gordon.

Loughinisland were under pressure at this stage, but answered positively with three points in the final two minutes of the half through Dan Gordon, Stefan Mason and Rory Deegan.

The Blues got themselves well and truly into the game with early second half points from Ryan Stranney and Stefan Mason before Fintan McGreevy gave Castlewellan a two point cushion with a point after working the ball in from the right wing.

Loughinisland carried on the good work they had produced towards the end of the first half and points from Paddy McKenny and Mickey Brannigan had the sides level with just over 20 minutes to play. 

However, Castlewellan rocked the Blues back on their heels with another decisive move upfield which saw Aidan Brogan and Kevin Duffin combine to help McKibben grab his second goal of the game. 

A minute later the lead was increased to four with a point from Colm Flanagan as the Town looked to stamp their authority over their Division 2 opponents.

With 15 minutes left points from Daniel Morgan and Rory Burns left six points between the sides. When Cahal Crilly flicked a high ball past Kieran Gordon the game was out of reach for Loughinisland, but they refused to lie down.

A scramble in the Castlewellan goalmouth resulted in a goal from the boot of Gareth Johnson and seconds later Castlewellan ‘keeper Keown denied them a third goal.

As the game petered out the victors had further scores from Donal McKibben, Duffin and Morgan with Aaron McClements firing over a late free for Loughinisland.

Castlewellan will now face neighbours Bryansford in a mouth-watering tie while Loughinisland will need to defeat Annaclone if they are to keep their championship interests alive.

Castlewellan: G Keown, A Brogan, C Corrigan, B Travers, D Morgan (0-4), C Flanagan (0-1), F McGreevy (0-1), L Toner, R Burns (0-1), S Hardy, D Gilmore (0-2), K Duffin (0-4), D McKibben, L McKibben (2-1), C Crilly (1-0). Subs: C Corrigan for L Toner, D Steele for S Hardy, D McGrady for D McKibben.

Loughinisland: K Gordon, R Nixon, P Megoran (1-0), S Cochrane, D McLaughlin, P Digney, C Killen, D Gordon (0-1), R Stranney (0-1), M Brannigan (0-1), A McClements (0-1), S Mason (0-2), P McKenny (0-2), R Deegan (0-1), C O’Toole. Subs: D McClements for M Brannigan, G Johnson (1-0) for R Deegan, A Nixon for S Mason. 

Castlewellan 3-14

Loughinisland 2-9