Patience and panache warms the Castlehaven family

At Fraher Field on Sunday, and as has been the case for so much of their campaign, family drove football.
Patience and panache warms the Castlehaven family

Brian Hurley of Castlehaven in action against Tom Walsh of Rathgormack during the AIB Munster GAA Football Senior Club Championship semi-final match between Rathgormack, Waterford, and Castlehaven, Cork, at Fraher Field in Dungarvan, Waterford. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Munster Club SFC semi-final: Castlehaven 1-16 Rathgormack 1-7 

The Castlehaven celebrations follow a familiar pattern. Once football is taken care of, family takes over.

Players make their way to the edge of the main stand to embrace family members and friends who’ve travelled from further than deep West Cork.

The three Cahalane brothers, along with their three Maguire cousins, make their way up into the stand for a photo with a proud granny.

Even though the Castlehaven roadshow is continuing on to a first Munster final since 2012, no opportunity is passed up to capture and frame the different markers passed along the way.

“You see the support we had down here today, a massive following from a small area,” said manager James McCarthy.

“I see people that are not living in the parish and they are coming to the matches to meet people they haven’t seen in a long time. It is a day out for them. For all our supporters, the Munster final is going to be a fantastic occasion.” 

At Fraher Field yesterday, and as has been the case for so much of their campaign, family drove football.

It has become customary in the opening verses of a Castlehaven win to state the contribution of the Hurley brothers. Here, they bested their 0-10 county final and 0-12 county semi-final totals.

Brian posted 1-6 (1-1 from play), Michael kicked five white flags. Dingle are already plotting and planning for the pair. To date, no team has succeeded in tying down both brothers on the same afternoon.

The Cork champions were already out the gap when Brian landed a speculative goal on 57 minutes. His green flag extended their lead out to seven, 1-13 to 1-6.

It was a second half where the Haven were taken for only one score from play. They conceded just three in total. Once they found their rhythm, Rathgormack were shut out.

By half-time, Castlehaven had their finger in the dyke.

The opening quarter of this Munster club semi-final had shock and surprise scribbled all over it. Whatever frame of mind Castlehaven arrived down to Dungarvan in, it wasn’t the right one. They were more ambling than alert.

Rathgormack, by contrast, were in the frame of mind for a shock and surprise. After 17 minutes, they led 1-2 to 0-1.

The goal was finished by Billy Power on eight minutes, the runner from deep collecting off Stephen Curry. Jason Gleeson’s free nine minutes later - the game’s first score since the green flag - pushed the Waterford champions four in front.

It was hardly any more than they deserved.

Their crowded and hurrying approach was successful in frustrating the Haven score-makers and flag-wavers.

What settled Castlehaven thereafter and ensured the deficit they were chasing did not grow more legs was equal pinches of patience and Hurley panache.

Michael Hurley’s left boot began the resurgence. It marked the first of seven successive Haven points in the 15 minutes before half-time. From 1-2 to 0-1 down, they headed for the far corner of the field 0-8 to 1-2 in front.

The Hurley siblings accounted for all but one of that seven. Brian even won the free he converted himself. The outlier was Cathal Maguire’s white flag.

Mark Collins, Jack Cahalane, Sean Browne, and sub Conor O'Driscoll added some variety to the scoresheet during a second period where the gap was never closer than two.

In the end, the Rathgormack revolt did not vacate the opening quarter. They'll wonder how stronger and longer their resistance would have endured had Conor Murray not been travelling, Michael Curry not been suspended, and Cathal Crowch not been injured.

Castlehaven vacated Fraher Field knowing their Munster campaign has been far more functional than fluent. The level of opposition rises steeply in a fortnight. They must rise with it, or the post-match embraces will not carry the warmth of recent weeks.

Scorers for Castlehaven: B Hurley (1-6, 0-4 frees, 0-1 45); M Hurley (0-5); M Collins, S Browne, C Maguire, J Cahalane, C O’Driscoll (0-1 each).

Scorers for Rathgormack: J Curry (0-4, 0-2 frees, 0-1 ‘45); B Power (1-0); J Gleeson (0-2, 0-2 frees); A Murray (0-1).

CASTLEHAVEN: Darragh Cahalane; J O’Regan, R Walsh, Damien Cahalane; T O’Mahony, R Maguire, M Collins; A Whelton, J O’Neill; S Browne, B Hurley, C Maguire; J Cahalane, C Cahalane, M Hurley.

Subs: C O’Driscoll for Whelton (HT); J O’Driscoll for Browne (54); C O’Sullivan for C Maguire (58); R Minihane for C Cahalane (59); M Maguire for B Hurley (60).

RATHGORMACK: P Hunt; M Power, L Connolly, C Walsh; W Hahessy, B Power, S Hahessy; T Walsh, G Power; J Power, J Curry, D Hassett; J Gleeson, S Curry, A Murray.

Subs: S Kirwan for Hassett (50); P Walsh for A Murray (55).

Referee: S Lonergan (Tipperary).


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