Six points up with 42 minutes played; all square at the death. The result means that Walterstown now face in to a preliminary quarter final in the Intermediate Football Championship, while Oldcastle march on to the quarter finals proper after topping Group C on score difference.
Meade Farm Intermediate Football Championship Group C Round 3
Slow to start, Walterstown only found their rhythm in the second quarter and when they did, they were truly on song. Once again Brian O’Connell was the man of the moment, finishing with a tally of 1-7, while Alban Crosbie, just like he did against Meath Hill, put in a superb shift.
The Blacks welcomed back Sam McCabe to their attack, while Ruairi O’Dowd also returned from injury and came on a bagged himself two fine scores.
Both teams finished out the game with 14 men. First up Cian McPartland received a straight red for an off the ball strike on Brian O’Connell, while late in the second half Barry O’Connell also received a straight red.
Oldcastle, who beat Meath Hill and Syddan respectively in the opening rounds, started well and opened with a point from a Robbie Farrelly free after Jason Scully was impeded. It was cancelled out by a Brian O’Connell free down the other end but Oldcastle had plenty of chances to punish the Blacks thereafter but just didn’t take them.
Garrett Reilly tagged on a second for Oldcastle with seven minutes played, while Farrelly took full advantage after Walterstown coughed up possession at the back and struck over to give his side a 0-3 to 0-1 lead with eight minutes played.
When midfield man Conor Delaney was fouled by Alan Wall, CJ Healy struck over the resultant free and stretched Oldcastle’s lead to three in the 11th minute.
Then came a purple patch for the Blacks. Alban Crosbie grabbed their second point in the 15th minute, while Brian O’Connell followed it with another score. And what a score it was too. His younger brother Barry combined well with Mark McCormack before he offloaded possession to Brian O’Connell, who finished with his usual panache.
The leveller came on the 20 minute mark from Meath U20 man Conor Farrelly. He collected possession from Robbie Cunningham before letting fly with accuracy to leave the scoreboard ready 0-4 to 0-4.
Walterstown actually hit six points without response between the 15th and 24th minutes. It was Brian O’Connell who nudged the Blacks in front in the 21st minute. Adam Treanor provided the pass and O’Connell made no mistake in splitting the posts.
Sam McCabe doubled their advantage a minute later while Robbie Cunningham got his name on the score sheet when he split the posts after Conor Farrelly made a superb interception down the other end to launch the Blacks’ attack.
Oldcastle did manage to stem the tide before the break however. They hit three without reply to level proceedings (0-7 to 0-7) by the 28th minute but Crosbie converted a free out of his hands in the last minute of normal time to nudge the Blacks back in front.
In first half stoppage time Oldcastle were reduced to 14 men when McPartland was given his marching orders and before the whistle was sounded Sam McCabe raised a while flag to leave the score at 0-9 to 0-7 at the break.
The Blacks had a dream start to the second half when Brian O’Connell hit the back of the net just four minutes in. With Oldcastle ‘keeper Packie Kevin well out of his goal, O’Connell took full advantage, struck low and the ball rolled its way in to the net and it gave Walterstown a 1-9 to 0-8 lead. O’Connell followed it up with another point four minutes later before substitute Ruairi O’Dowd split the posts after a super interception by Alban Crosbie in the middle of the park.
By the end of the third quarter Walterstown had opened up a 1-14 to 0-10 lead but a minute later Oldcastle were right back in contention when they put the ball in the back of the Walterstown net. Conor Delaney and ‘keeper John Davis both went for the high ball and it was the Oldcastle man who got the all important touch, sent the ball to the net and left the score at 1-14 to 1-10.
The deficit was down to three soon after thanks to a Garrett Reilly point but an Alban Crosbie point from a free stemmed the tide with ten minutes remaining.
Then Walterstown were made to pay for an error from the short kick out and made to pay heavily. Oldcastle grabbed themselves a second goal in the 52nd minute. It came from Jason Scully and it left them just a point behind.
And it wasn’t long before they were back on level terms either. CJ Healy sent over a free but a Ruairi O’Dowd point down the other end edged the Blacks back in front with four minutes of normal time remaining.
However, if we learned anything about Oldcastle in this years championship, it’s that they don’t go away easily. Lest we mention their thrilling victory over Meath Hill in the first round! They played with 14 for all the second half and Walterstown also finished with 14 when Barry O’Connell was harshly shown a straight red in the 57th minute. From the resultant free Oldcastle grabbed themselves a leveller and that’s how it ended. Walterstown did have chances but failed to convert and, by virtue of score difference, Oldcastle march on to the quarter finals proper.
The Blacks must make do with a a preliminary quarter final against Clann na nGael, who finished in second spot in Group B.
SCORERS: Walterstown: Brian O’Connell 1-7 (3f), Alban Crosbie 0-3 (2f), Ruairi O’Dowd 0-2, Sam McCabe 0-2, Robbie Cunningham 0-1, Conor Farrelly 0-1.
Oldcastle: Conor Delaney 1-1, Robbie Farrelly 0-3 (1f), CJ Healy 0-3, Jason Scully 1-0, Garrett Reilly 0-2, Ronan Maguire 0-2, Colin Hawdon 0-1.
WALTERSTOWN: John Davis; Peter Reynolds, Brian McGrane, Aron McLoughlin; Alan Wall, Cathal Hennelly, Conor Farrelly; Barry O’Connell, Conor O’Sullivan; Robbie Cunningham, Alban Crosbie, Mark McCormack; Sam McCabe, Brian O’Connell, Adam Treanor. SUBS: Ruairi O’Dowd replaced S McCabe 39 mins, Davy Donnellan replaced M McCormack 43 mins, Adam Barrett replaced C O’Sullivan 46 mins, Paul Donnellan replaced A Treanor 60 mins.
OLDCASTLE: Packie Kevin; Stephen Lawless, Cian McPartland, Oran O’Reilly; James Cooke, Paddy Rahill, Darren Hawdon; Conor McHugh, Conor Delaney; Ronan Maguire, CJ Healy, Garrett Reilly; Colin Hawdon, Jason Scully, Robert Farrelly.
REFEREE: Padraic Coyle