Castlemartyr hurlers will reset and go again after another incredible season

East Cork side came so close to another county title against Inniscarra in 2022
Castlemartyr hurlers will reset and go again after another incredible season

Barra O'Tuama and Jack McGann, Castlemartyr, winning this ball from Inniscarra players Owen McCarthy and Dan O'Connell at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Dan Linehan

IT’S that time of the year again when all clubs are reflecting on what the last 12 months had brought them and looking forward to what might happen in the New Year.

Castlemartyr hurlers know they were so near to an unprecedented third county title in little over 12 months but Colm Casey’s late, late injury-time goal saw Inniscarra snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in a thrilling Co-Op Superstores premier intermediate final in October.

Now the focus for Castlemartyr is getting back to where they were — reaching another final and hopefully going one step further in one of the toughest grades in championship hurling.

Despite the defeat there was a real air of positivity and justified pride at members gathered for the club’s recent annual general meeting.


There was an overwhelming acknowledgement of what has been the greatest era in the club’s history and the glorious days that this current group of players have brought to the club.

Team manager Seamus Lawton paid tribute to the panel who he described as outstanding ambassadors for Castlemartyr GAA and praised their fantastic efforts of the past few years.

He said that after a deserved break, the group would reassemble in early January and set their sights on the challenges of league and championship action in the coming season.

Picture: Dan Linehan
Picture: Dan Linehan

The Reds have a few more younger players moving up from minor grade to help boost the hurling squad. They will again field a second string in league and championship action in East Cork and will hope to line out if, as expected, U21 action returns to the division in 2023.

There will also be an alteration on the sidelines. Derry Guilfoyle, who has been a hugely dedicated intermediate selector for the last number of seasons, has stepped down and is being replaced by Donal Burke, another Castlemartyr native who has a long coaching CV having previously been involved with Cork inter-county, college and club teams. 

Burke will bring vast experience to the setup and will double up as selector and assistant coach to Eoin Murphy, who has done a splendid job in his three-year tenure at the helm. Another local stalwart and former player, Tony Barrett, will also remain as selector.

Interestingly, the backroom team will have familiar notes to look back on ahead of the championship campaign in late summer.

Ballinhassig and Kilworth, who were bracketed in the same group as Castlemartyr in 2002, will again provide round-robin opposition.

The only alteration is the addition of Watergrasshill in place of Ballincollig. Castlemartyr defeated both Ballincollig and Ballinhassig in the group stages last season, having lost to Kilworth second day out.

Significantly they took the scalp of seasoned campaigners Carrigaline and Castlelyons in the knockout stages, in what was the Reds’ first-ever campaign at Premier Intermediate level.

Having lost to Lisgoold in the Division 5 league semi-final following their championship final defeat, Castlemartyr will remain in the same section in 2023. Attractive matches against Aghada, Argideen Rangers, Ballygiblin, Cloughduv, Dungourney, Mayfield, Midleton, Russell Rovers, and Watergrasshill all lie in wait during spring and early summer.


In football, Castlemartyr’s ambitions will also be about going one step further, hoping to learn from the pain of defeat to Cobh in the JAFC decider, the club’s first appearance in this marquee fixture in 31 years. They also have the deferred division 2 league final to look forward to against Cloyne early in the new season.

Before all the action commences on the playing fields, Castlemartyr GAA will hold their Dinner Dance on Saturday, January 21.

The covid pandemic has meant that this is a well-overdue celebration of recent years' successes. Apart from the headline-making Intermediate A and Lower Intermediate county wins, the past few seasons have seen county and divisional U21 hurling titles being won, a junior C in Imokilly and a 15-year gap being bridged by winning the U21 East Cork football title.

So a lot to catch up on for players and supporters when they gather in large numbers early in the new year.

Finally, the next phase of the club’s development project, in advance of the centenary year in 2024, is set to begin in early spring next year, with work due to start on a new all-weather floodlit playing pitch.

On and off the field it’s proving to be a real era of progress for Castlemartyr GAA.

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