Castletown dethroned as Southern Gaels miss out on final place
Castletown Geoghegan's hopes of retaining the Westmeath senior hurling title for the first time since the 1950s were ended by a surprise semi-final defeat to Lough Lene Gaels yesterday (Sunday).
The last time Castletown retained the Westmeath hurling crown was when they completed a three-in-a-row from 1956 to 1958, and the black and amber men had high hopes of altering that situation this year.
Not for the first time in his long career, however, a goal from Derek McNicholas proved crucial to the outcome of a big game as Lough Lene Gaels advanced to their first senior final since 2009 with a 1-16 to 1-15 victory.
The Collinstown men were also indebted to the freetaking prowess of David Williams, who finished with 0-11 (4 frees, 3 ‘65’s) to his credit.
Niall O'Brien was Castletown's top scorer with 1-9, while David O'Reilly, also well known as a Rosemount footballer, chipped in with three points.
Due to a controversial suspension, Alan Mangan was unable to carry out his normal duties as Castletown team manager, with Derek Gallagher deputising in his place.
Lough Lene Gaels are now preparing to face Raharney in the final on Sunday, October 8 as they bid for their first senior title 2002 (when they defeated Castletown in a replay). If Raharney win, they will move joint second on the Westmeath senior hurling roll of honour alongside Brownstown.
Meanwhile, Southern Gaels' hopes of ending their long wait for an appearance in the Westmeath intermediate hurling final were ended by Clonkill's second team last Saturday. Niall Folan and substitute Philip Dowdall scored the goals as Clonkill prevailed on a scoreline of 2-12 to 0-14.
The Athlone side led by five points at half-time (0-11 to 0-6) but their challenge faltered in the second period, despite freetaker Chulainn Dowd finishing with a tally of eight points.
Clonkill will face the second string of Castletown Geoghegan in the final after the latter defeated St Brigid's in the other semi-final. It will be an opportunity for both sides to in some way make up for disappointment in the senior 'A' championship.
Before that intermediate hurling final comes over the horizon, Castletown Geoghegan's sister club, St Malachy's, will face Milltownpass in next Saturday's intermediate football final.
The Westmeath senior 'B' hurling final will be between St Oliver Plunkett’s and Ringtown, winners over Crookedwood (who finished with 12 men) in last Sunday's semi-final.