SFC: Goals fire Castlerahan back into decider

September 24, 2016

Good win for Castlerahan over Gowna in the Cavan SFC semi final at Breffni Park

Castlerahan 3-9
Gowna 1-10

Three first-half goals propelled Castlerahan back into the Cavan senior football championship final tonight after they accounted for Gowna at Kingspan Breffni Park.

Michael Reilly's team recovered from a shaky start to take control of this contest with quick goals from Enda Flanagan and Paul Brady in the space of three minutes and threatened to pull out of sight before half-time.

Those majors did away with all of Gowna's good work in the opening stages, with the 10/3 underdogs having goaled themselves after just two minutes through TJ Fitzpatrick, and when David Wright sent home the maroons' third major their path to another county decider was paved.

Gowna couldn't have asked for a better start to this semi-final, backing up a Robbie Fitzpatrick point after 22 seconds with a goal from his brother TJ to rock the men from Ballyjamesduff.

Fergal Reilly sailed over the winners' first score on six minutes but it was the Longford border outfit that were firmly in their rhythm in the early stages, with Conor Madden firing a quick brace of points which had them five to the good.

Stephen Cooney orchestrated a max profit response for Castlerahan, who could afford to tally 16 wides over the hour, cutting in from the left and slipping through Enda Flanagan and the former Cavan U21 star rifled to the net.

Three minutes later and the ball was in the Gowna net again - this time Cian Mackey's mis-measured free dropped short and big full-forward Paul Brady was quickest to send the loose ball beyond Ronan Bannon.

Conor Madden had restored Gowna's advantage by the 23rd minute with another pair of points (one from a 45) but their opponents finished out the half somewhere close to top gear, registering an unanswered 1-3 in the closing six minutes while also upping their wides' tally to nine.

Brady, Mackey (free) and Enda Flanagan struck the points after Wright had tucked away a superb individual goal, outmuscling his man and smashing to Bannon's near right hand corner.

It left Gowna with it all to do for the second-half and they nearly conceded a fourth goal on stroke of half-time after Paul Brady had done all the work and somehow rolled his shot in front of the posts wide, leaving it at 3-4 to 1-5 for the interval.

Liam Higgins' side were blessed not to concede that fourth major again in the early stages of the restart. Ryan McGahern saved their bacon by clearing off the goal-line amid a scramble for possession in which Gowna's full-backed appeared to foul possession on the ground.

The trailers lost Mark McKeever to injury as a result of that panicked goal-line clearance and they were six behind when Mackey popped over his second free on 39 minutes.

Gerald Pearson (free) and sub David Hyland kept them in the fight headed into the final quarter, but the next four scores were registered at the other end via sub Cian McEnroe (2 frees), Daniel Lynch and Mackey to close out Castlerahan's victory.

Madden and TJ Fitzpatrick (free) left Gowna with an outside chance in injury-time, but they could only manage a late point from sub Aaron Brady which left them five short and Castlerahan with another final berth to savour against Ramor United on October 9th.

Castlerahan: Jamie Leahy; Stephen Cooney, Brian Coleman, Enda O'Connell; Fergal Reilly (0-1), Ronan Flanagan, Caolan McBreen; David Wright (1-0), Cormac Daly; Daniel Lynch (0-1), Enda Flanagan (1-1), Shane McSweeney; Sean Brady, Paul Brady (1-1), Cian Mackey (0-3, 2f). Subs: Oisin O'Connell for P Brady (44mins), Cian McEnroe (0-2, 2f) for E Flanagan (46), Padraig McGahern for D Lynch (57), Jamie McGrath for D Wright (58), Fiachra Sweeney for S Cooney (60).

Gowna: Ronan Bannon; David Phillips, Ryan McGahern, James Madden; Mark McKeever, Willie Stephens, Andrew Dewart; Niall Madden, Raymond Keogh; David Hyland (0-1), Robbie Fitzpatrick (0-1), Cian Bannon; Conor Madden (0-5, 1 45), Gerald Pearson (0-1, 1f), TJ Fitzpatrick (1-1, 1f). Subs: Brendan Madden for M McKeever (37mins, inj), John Hyland for R Keogh (38), Shane Briody for C Bannon (44), Aaron Brady (0-1) for G Pearson (54), Shane Harton for D Hyland (59).

Ref: Chris McCaffrey (Templeport)

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