WHILE any county championship is special, Castlemartyr’s victory at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday night meant that the club brought the Paddy Walsh Cup home.
A club stalwart, he was mentioned by joint-captain Brian Lawton in his speech as having gone to an U13 game in Youghal in 2001 without returning home, “but he’ll be going down the main street tonight!”
Castlemartyr manager Séamus Lawton was delighted that the team were able to honour Walsh’s memory with the 10-point win over Sarsfields.
“The pitches in Castlemartyr are named after Paddy Walsh,” he said.
“He died actually at an U13 match and there was two of tonight’s team, Brian Lawton and Eddie Clifford, were playing in it. It was an extra incentive to play for the Paddy Walsh Cup.”
While the final scoreline made it look like a comfortable win for Castlemartyr, it wasn’t until the third quarter that they began to pull clear, having led by two points at half-time. Lawton certainly didn’t expect that they would win by so much.
“Looking back through it, the first half was really tough,” he said. “We were under pressure in a lot of areas and we were worried at half-time. Ciarán’s point lifted the whole crowd, that’s the player he is, and then the goal was class.
“We pulled away after that – but I didn’t think that that would happen!”
A key moment was Joe Stack’s goal to open up a six-point lead. That emanated from ambitious thinking and good vision from Mike Kelly, who eschewed an easy point to set up his team-mate.
From a management’s point of view, seeing that play out on the pitch was rewarding.
“Eoin Murphy deserves fierce credit,” Lawton said. “He’s the coach and he’s been brilliant. The selectors, Tony Barrett and Derry Guilfoyle, and all of the backroom staff, it’s been a team effort and it’s been outstanding.
“They’re a great bunch of lads, they’re fierce easy to manage and they love their hurling.”
And now they will show their wares at premier intermediate level, keen to building on two consecutive county titles.
“It’s one to look forward to now,” Lawton said, “have a cut off it and see what happens.
“It’s about taking a step back and looking at what has happened over the last three months.
“Three months ago, we were lower intermediate and we’re gone two steps now.”