PIHC: Castlemartyr into semi-finals with win over Carrigaline

Dream of third straight title remains alive for East Cork men
PIHC: Castlemartyr into semi-finals with win over Carrigaline

James Lawton of Castlemartyr getting away from Carrigaline's David Drake in the Co-Op SuperStores Premier IHC semi-final at Cobh. Picture: Dan Linehan

Castlemartyr 1-16 Carrigaline 0-17

CASTLEMARTYR’S adventure continues as they booked a place in the Co-op SuperStores Cork Premier IHC semi-finals with victory over Carrigaline in Cobh on Saturday afternoon.

A fortuitous goal midway through the second half was ultimately crucial, as Jack McGann’s intended delivery for Joe Stack – a nuisance for the Carrigaline defence throughout – went unclaimed and nestled in the back of the net. After a brief consultation between referee Pat Lyons and his umpires, the goal was awarded, putting Castlemartyr into a 1-12 to 0-13 lead – the first time they had been in front since the 11th minute and they held the advantage until the end.

Winners of the 2020 Lower IHC just over 13 months ago and then victorious in the IAHC, they now stand just one game away from a third straight final appearance. Stack was influential throughout – he was unlucky that two of his five points went just over the crossbar – while Brian Lawton was his usual impeccable self. Though Ciarán Joyce, an injury doubt beforehand, didn’t fully dominate as Jack McCarthy sought to limit his impact, the Cork star did make some key aerial contributions, especially late on as they held on.

While Carrigaline had the win in the first half, poor shooting was costly early on and Barry Lawton’s point after 15 seconds for Castlemartyr was the only score of the opening ten minutes. The dead-ball accuracy of Brian Kelleher helped the south-east side to gain a foothold, though, and they moved 0-7 to 0-4 in front after 22 minutes only for Castlemartyr to respond strongly, with Stack and Michael Kelly to the fore as they went in level at 0-8 each.

 Darragh Moran, Castlemartyr, has his helmet knocked off in this clash with Finn O'Connell, Carrigaline. Picture: Dan Linehan
Darragh Moran, Castlemartyr, has his helmet knocked off in this clash with Finn O'Connell, Carrigaline. Picture: Dan Linehan

Kelleher and the excellent Éanna Desmond put Carrigaline in front on the restart and they held the upper hand for the third quarter, with Kelleher’s eighth point of the day making it 0-13 to 0-11 with 18 minutes left.

However, after Barry Lawton won the puckout, he fed Stack for his fifth point to cut the lead to the minimum and the goal turned the game, with a pair of Kelly frees opening up a four-point cushion.

Carrigaline didn’t take defeat lying down, though, and Kelleher, Desmond (two) and a fine David Drake effort ensured that it was 1-15 to 0-17 with 62 minutes on the clock, play having been held up for an injury just prior to that.

Unfortunately for the men in blue and gold, an equaliser wouldn’t come – a superb James Lawton block on a Kelleher shot was key for Castlemartyr – and Kelly landed a long-range free to give the winners breathing space at the death.

They will now look ahead to the last four and a meeting with Castlelyons, but not before next weekend’s Imokilly JAFC final against Cobh.

Scorers for Castlemartyr: M Kelly 0-9 (0-5 f, 0-2 65), J Stack 0-5, J McGann 1-0, Brian Lawton, Barry Lawton 0-1 each.

Carrigaline: B Kelleher 0-9 (0-6 f), É Desmond 0-3 (0-1 sideline), D Drake, R McCarthy 0-2, R O’Shea 0-1.

CASTLEMARTYR: D Joyce; C Martin, D Moran, B Ó Tuama; J Lawton, C Joyce, M Cosgrave; J Stack, Brian Lawton; J McGann, M Kelly, Barry Lawton; A Kelly, J Stack, E Martin.

Subs: B McGann for Martin (44), C Sice for A Kelly (53), P Fleming for J McGann (60, injured).

CARRIGALINE: R Foster; D King, S Williamson, Kieran Kavanagh; R McCarthy, N Coleman, Kevin Kavanagh; R Kelleher, N O’Keeffe; F O’Connell, D Drake, É Desmond; J McCarthy, R O’Shea, B Kelleher.

Subs: P Mellett for O’Connell, C Barry for R Kelleher (both 55), D McCarthy for J McCarthy (58).

Referee: P Lyons (Bishopstown).

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