Castletown 0-11 Park-Ratheniska 1-7
Laois Shopping Centre JFC
The Castletown footballers will play in a county final for the third year running as they held off Park-Ratheniska to cause a shock in the semi-final of the Laois JFC today in Stradbally.
Castletown, who have won Junior ‘C’ and Junior ‘B’ titles with this team in the last two years and haven’t lost a game since July 2016, got off to a great start and were 0-3 to no score up after ten minutes, two of their points coming from the lively Brendan Reddin and another from his older brother Ger from a free.
Park eventually got off the mark with a point from wing-back Jimmy Langton and a Kieran Delaney free and nice point on the run from Cathal Og Greene had them level midway through the half.
A free from Laois hurler Ryan Mullaney would edge Castletown back into the lead but the free won by Ger Reddin would be his last action of the game as he departed with injury.
That was a blow to Castletown as Reddin had started well but his replacement Conor Walsh was very involved and he swung over a nice point from play to put them two up.
And the gap was three at half time as Ryan Mullaney landed a quality point from play from distance.
Castletown had a great chance of a goal early in the second half but Gearoid Gaughan’s palmed effort went wide.
Park did show good improvement after the break and Kieran Delaney, Cathal Og Greene and DJ O’Connell had them back within one, Castletown keeping their noses in front thanks to Ryan Mullaney again.
A DJ O’Connell free drew the sides level in the 45th minute but Castletown hit the next three, all from Mullaney – two from play and one from a free – with Martin Phelan and Conor Walsh heavily involved.
Brendan Reddin put Castletown four up as the clock ticked towards 60 minutes.
Park threw themselves a lifeline with a late Padraig Dunne goal but it wasn’t enough as Castletown held on.
For Castletown it continues an incredible winning streak that now stretches to over three years and 13 straight championship wins.
And they have the added bonus of representing Laois in Leinster as they are the only first team left in this competition and will play away to the Louth champions in November.
For Park it brings the curtain down on another disappointing junior season and a third successive semi-final defeat in the grade added to a final loss in 2016 and a semi-final defeat in 2015 in their first year in the grade having been relegated in 2014.
The Heath and O’Dempsey’s meet in the other semi-final on Monday night with the final fixed for O’Moore Park on Saturday week, September 28.
SCORERS – Castletown: Ryan Mullaney 0-6 (two frees), Brendan Reddin 0-3 (one free), Ger Reddin 0-1 (free), Conor Walsh 0-1. Park-Ratheniska: Padraig Dunne 1-0, DJ O’Connell (one free), Cathal Og Greene and Kieran Delaney 0-2 each, Jimmy Langton 0-1
PARK-RATHENISKA: Jamie Downey; Benny Greene, Mark Delaney, Benny Dowling; Jimmy Langton, Richie Hitchcock, Keelan Barry; Brian Fingleton, Cathal Óg Greene; Sean Tierney, Podge Dunne, Mark Delany; Kieran Delaney, Sean Tynan, DJ O’Connell. Subs: Bryan Flanagan for Tierney, Brian Dunne for K Delaney, Paddy Kelly for O’Connell, Stephen Hitchcock for Barry.
CASTLETOWN: Shane Cuddy; John Paul Bennett, Conor Phelan, Martin Reddin; John Gaughan, Evan Cuddy, Dylan Conroy; Shane Phelan, Ryan Mullaney; Martin Phelan, Brendan Reddin, Gearoid Gaughan; Joe Phelan, Ger Reddin, Aaron Gaughan. Subs: Conor Walsh for G Reddin (injured – 16), Eoin Peters for G Gaughan (injured)
REFEREE: Joe Brennan (Crettyard)