Oldcastle’s Minors celebrated the Equinox in style!

Oldcastle 3-19 Kilmainhamwood 4-15 (AET)

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The Oldcastle and Kilmainhamwood played out an unforgettable LM/FM Minor Div. 5 League Final at Dunganny last night. (21/09/2021)

These teams have history: Oldcastle have never forgiven “The Wood” for beating them in the U12 final, revenge was served by beating them in the U15 final two years ago, and last night was another rematch for the teams. So evenly matched that they drew in their league match earlier in the summer, this promised to be a cracker, and by Jesus it was.

The first half got underway with Oldcastle making all the play but not scoring, and it was Kilmainhamwood who got on the board first with a goal against the run of things. Oldcastle responded with a well taken Paul Hennessy free, followed by a lovely point from Kane Cullen. Both teams went hell for leather with the game played at a blistering pace, score for score. A goal for Kilmainhamwood just before the break gave them the advantage at half time, on a score of Oldcastle 0-07, Kilmainhamwood 2-04.

The second-half started with a finely taken Ryan Kevin intercept and point: however he hurt himself in the process and would carry that for the duration. Kilmainhamwood added on a point before being awarded a penalty which they scored to extend their lead to six. The Oldcastle defence were caught napping for a period: letting the Kilmainhamwood lads fly through and take their chances, before waking up and clamping down hard again. Nathan Gibney sent over some lovely points, with Ryan Kevin nabbing a goal just before the water break to reduce the deficit to just a point. With a huge support there from both sides, the atmosphere was electric, the lads surely buoyed up to see the Senior team there also cheering them on. With the match resumed, Eoin Muldoon sent a long kickout to Paul Hennessy, onwards via Eoin Smith and into the waiting Ryan Kevin to sailed it over to level the match once again.

The Oldcastle defence were now working overtime, with Fionn McCabe, Brian Hetherton and Alan GIlsenan not giving their men a moment’s peace. Kilmainhamwood attacked again, a blasted shot on goal saved by Eoin Muldoon but going over for the point. Rory Crawley won the next ball and was promptly fouled, the resultant free finding it’s way upfield to Ryan Kevin for a point. Kilmainhamwood attacked again but James Gibney was in control and cleared it to cousin Tom Lynch, it travelled onwards via Rory Crawley, to Nathan Gibney, back to Tom Lynch, to Eoin Smith, back to Tom Lynch and finally to Ryan Kevin who sailed her over for another Oldcastle point, and the lead once again: 1-14 to 3-07. KMW attacked again, once more the brilliant James Gibney kept the pressure on and denied a score. They came again, but Cormac O’Connell wasn’t letting it by him. Kilmainhamwood denied, but Cormac was injured in the process, with Rian Mulvanny now making his entrance. Ten minutes of injury time was now taking it’s toll: injuries and cramps all over the pitch. Kilmainhamwood finally added on another point to level the match again and with that, referee Eamon Barry blew the whistle on a full-time scoreline of Oldcastle 1-14, Kilmainhamwood 3-08, all level at the end of a marathon battle.

With sore and exhausted bodies on both sides, the option was given: go to a replay another day, or go for extra time. Unanimously the players decided to battle on: no-one wanted to leave this one behind, it was do or die! It was 9.30pm at this stage, the match on the next pitch which had started after ours was ending, but no-one here was going anywhere.

And so extra-time began, with Kilmainhamwood taking the first point, adding a free and another point soon after to go three ahead again. Oldcastle steadied, Eoin Muldoon’s kickout finding Jamie Pakenham, upfield via Nathan and Paul Hennessy, with some great work from Lloyd Colleran getting it safely to Eoin Smith who sailed her over for an important boost to the lads. The steady Fionn McCabe nabbed the next ball on the far wing and sent her over for the next score, while a Brian Hetherton clearance and free was converted by Ryan Kevin to level her again. 20 points apiece now. Ciaran Connell denied his man a score while Nathan Gibney took the next for Oldcastle to go ahead again: Kilmainhamwood then awarded a free, but good Oldcastle pressure ensured it sailed wide. That was it for the first ten minutes, another ten to go.

Coaches Rory McHugh, Packie Kevin and Mattie Cadden pepped the lads up for the final minutes, and it worked, the second half of extra time got underway with a superb point from Brian Hetherton, giving the lads a two point advantage. The Kilmainhamwood kickout was brought down superbly by Tom Lynch, who passed on to Paul Hennessy, and on to Nathan Gibney who slammed it to the back of the net for an Oldcastle goal! Five ahead and the minutes ticking by….surely this was nearly over? Not by a long way! A Rory Crawley ball found Paul Hennessy near the goalmouth, he was denied but the rebound found the waiting Rian Mulvanny who cooled hit it past the keeper for another Oldcastle goal! The lads were now eight points clear with minutes left – but the next kick of the ball saw Kilmainhamwood charge in on Eoin Muldoon to register a goal of their own. Gap now down to five, and a Kilmainhamwood free goes over. Gap now four…Kilmainhamwood weren’t giving up, and a couple more points and a free saw them bring it back to a point!

Oldcastle were clinging on for their lives. The spectators were “politely” trying to draw the ref’s attention to the fact that we were WAY over time, but he seemed intent on playing all night! Kilmainhamwood were in possession again and going for another attack when JP Purcell cleared the ball, he was fouled, the ball went dead as this drama played out on the sideline. With time moving ever on, as everyone got back on their feet the final, final, final whistle blew, on a scoreline of Oldcastle 3-19, Kilmainhamwood 4-15.

To say the lads gave their all would be understatement of the year. Battered and bruised at the end, there will be plenty of calls to physios today. But the elation of the win will remain in the memories for a long time. An epic match.

Oldcastle: Eoin Muldoon, Fionn McCabe (0-01), Brian Hetherton (0-01), Alan Gilsenan, Tom Lynch, James Gibney, Lloyd Colleran, Ryan Kevin (Captain) (1-08), Rory Crawley, Nathan Gibney (1-03), Eoin Smith (0-01), Cormac O’Connell, Paul Hennessy (0-04), Kane Cullen (0-01), JP Purcell. Subs: Ciaran Connell, Jamie Pakenham, Rian Mulvanny (1-00).

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