CASTLEWELLAN 1-08 – 3-11 ROSTREVOR
RAMPAGING REDS STORM THE CASTLE
Match report by Peter McGrath Jnr
A rampant Rostrevor breached Castlewellan’s defensive ranks with consumate ease in a second half that saw this game transform from a battle to a slaughter. A bitter wind swept down from the slopes of Slieve Donard, whistling across ‘The Meadow’ and making conditions feel very Wintery, the inclement weather reflected by the sparse attendance.
Castlewellan entered this, their 2nd game, trying to bounce back from an opening defeat in Ballyholland while Rostrevor were looking to build on their victory achieved in their third league outing against An Riocht. This was a game that proved the traditional qualities of a gaelic footballer are still relevant and important in the modern game – strength, physicality, high fielding, accurate kick passing and the ability to kick long distance scores. At the end of the 60 minutes, Rostrevor had come out on top in all of these facets.
The Reds were favoured by the wind in the first half which swept towards the corner of the field nearest Castlewellan’s social club and Jordan Fegan was the first to capitalise, pointing after a patient build up with less than 2 minutes on the clock. Gareth McKibben responded for the home side ahead of a spell of wasteful Rostrevor shooting which saw them kick 5 wides in 9 minutes, and in the same period Conor Magee had a shot well saved by Rory Burns in the Castlewellan goal. Caolan Mooney put an end to the shooting rut with a fine point from distance – the first of three he would convert in a first half when others seemed unable to adapt to the challenging wind. Throughout the game direct, pacy runs from Jordan Fegan and Mooney caused all sorts of problems for the Castlewellan defence and it was one such burst from Mooney that enabled him to fire Rostrevor into a 0-03 – 0-01 lead.
A hooked point from Sean Dornan, Castlewellan’s best player on the night, reduced the arrears to the minimum and centre half forward Daniel Morgan levelled matters a minute after Damien Magee had kicked Rostrevor’s 10th wide.
Mooney scored his third and Piaras Kane drove over a good free prior to Castlewellan grabbing a score which had the potential to change the game. Cathal Crilly’s shot dropped short and was caught by Gareth McKibben who jinked out, then back in, shooting low with the outside of his left boot to the bottom of Johnny Parr’s net. After all they had missed, and knowing they were facing the wind in the second half, Rostrevor could have retreated into their shell but this maturing team didn’t let that happen and responded with an equaliser before half time from the somewhat unlikely source of Darren McElhinney, the full back having been brought out the field to follow Aidan Burns. Paul Faloon blew for half time with the game all square; Castlewellan 1-03 – 0-06 Rostrevor
Despite Nicky Murray scoring the second half’s first point, Castlewellan owned the first 5 minutes of the 2nd period but failed to register a single score, amassing 4 wides in this spell. They were punished for their attacking ineptitude when Conor Magee caught a Castlewellan kickout, fed the ball through to Piaras Kane who gave a quick fist pass to the onrushing Caolan Mooney. Rory Burns came out to narrow Mooney’s shooting angle but he popped the ball across the square to Brian Keenan who palmed to the net to score a goal reminiscent of the major he score in last year’s Intermediate Championship final.
Castlewellan responded well to conceding the goal and immediately could have replied with a goal of their own only for Conall Mullen to see his shot tipped over the bar by Johnny Parr. Caolan Mooney’s fisted point opened a gap of four and then came the score that killed the game as a contest. Piaras Kane lifted the ball from what seemed perilously close to the ground, slipped the leather to Jordan Fegan and the cornerman finished expertly to effectively put the game beyond Castlwellan’s reach. As Fegan celebrated his goal a large jet roared overhead and one wondered how many of the Town squad wished they were on it to escape this game.
Damien Magee added a point before Mooney added gloss with a third goal. Conor Magee and Piaras Kane raised further white flags for Rostrevor while a flurry of late Castlewellan points from substitute Kevin Duffin, Daniel Morgan, Sean Dornan and Colm Flanagan did little to ease the home fans discontent.
It was in this game that Rostrevor truly announced their coming as a Division 1 team once more and they can now target the remaining fixtured in the league safe in the knowledge they are capable of competing with whatever obstacle may be put infront of them.
Castlewellan: Rory Burns, Ryan Lundy, Barry Travers, Fergal McLoughlin, Rossa McCartan, Colm Flanagan, Liam McKibben, Conal Mullen, Sean Dornan, Donal McKibben, Daniel Morgan, Sean Hardy, Gareth McKibben, Aidan Burns, Cathal Crilly. Subs used: Adam Magorrian, Kevin Duffin, Aidan Dornan, Finbarr Toner.
Rostrevor: Johnny Parr, Johnny Connolly, Darren McElhinney, Jarlath Farrell, James Donaghy, Shaun Parr, Nicky Murray, James Rice, Caolan Mooney, Brian Keenan, Conor Magee, Damien Magee, Jordan Fegan, Piaras Kane, Conall Gordon.
Subs used: Niall Farrell, Conor Doyle, Aidan Clarke, Christopher McConville, Ryan Caulfield