Donie Mullen (Raharney) on the ball, with Castletown Geoghegan’s Ryan Boyne moving in for a tackle. Photo: Thomas Gibbons

Evergreen Shaw shoots down valiant Castletown

Slevin’s Coaches Intermediate Hurling Championship Semi Final: Raharney 3-17, Castletown Geoghegan 3-14

Jason Keelan reports

John Shaw fired 1-8 to help his Raharney side overcome Castletown Geoghegan in a thrilling IHC semi-final contest in Robinstown last Saturday, as the two highest-scoring sides in the competition came face-to-face eyeing up a spot in the final.

It was very much a trade-off of scores for the opening quarter. Goalkeeper Eoin Glennon got Castletown off the mark with a long-range free before the lively Dean Slevin doubled the advantage. Raharney responded through Shaw (free) and Darragh Core.

Fergal O’Brien was working hard for Castletown in defence but some wasteful wides further up the field were punished by Shaw and then Dean Core, following a perfect flick from Eoin Weir.

On 17 minutes, the first of the game’s six goals was registered as a fine move eventually saw Cormac Jackson finish to the Raharney net. Castletown rattled off the next three – Slevin (2) and Jackson, once again, on target.

Struggling to cope, Raharney reassigned Michael Doherty to a sweeper role, and suddenly the game’s direction changed.

Jack Larkin’s runs began to yield results as he was involved in the next four scores, all for his side. Shaw (three frees) and Dean Core brought the game level – Larkin’s storming challenge at midfield creating Core’s point.

The half ended with three scores in the final minutes – two from Donie Mullen (including one long range free) either side of Cian Gavigan’s response for the Black and Ambers. Despite trailing early on, Declan Weir’s side went in 0-11 to 1-7 ahead.

A feast of scoring awaited the crowd in the sunshine after the break. Slevin’s burst along the sideline resulted in a foul which Ciaran O’Brien duly swung over from the resulting placed-ball. The Deelsiders replied with three quick scores (Shaw, Mullen, and Jamie Carr) before referee Barry Nea issued a straight red card to Castletown’s Ryan Boyne for an off-the-ball strike.

Despite being three behind and a man light, Castletown Geoghegan responded in some style. A clever score from Slevin was followed by not one but two goals in as many minutes from Conal Fagan and Jackson (his second).

Within 60 seconds, Raharney found their own magic touch via the hurl of Shaw who nipped in ahead of Glennon to divert Eoin Weir’s sideline cut to the net. At 3-9 to 1-14, Castletown remained ahead however with 15 to go.

A goalmouth scramble eventually led to Mullen pointing for Raharney who then, miraculously, found two quickfire green flags of their own through substitute Brian McGrath and a fortuitous effort from Larkin whose strike from distance cruelly deceived Glennon to trickle into the net.

Raharney held on in the final minutes and once Conor Slater broke up the last Castletown attack, victory was theirs and a place in the final.

Scorers – Castletown Geoghegan: C Jackson 2-1, D Slevin 0-5, C O’Brien 0-5 (5f), C Fagan 1-1, C Gavigan and E Glennon (free) 0-1 each. Raharney: J Shaw 1-8 (5f), B McGrath 1-1, D Mullen 0-4 (1f), J Larkin 1-0, Dean Core 0-2, J Carr and Darragh Core 0-1 each

Castletown Geoghegan: Eoin Glennon; James Fox, Paddy Doran, Éamonn Óg Clarke; Fergal O’Brien, Ryan Boyne, David Maloney; Eoin Kiernan, Darren Ruane; Conal Fagan, Cian Gavigan, Ciaran O’Brien; Cormac Jackson, Dean Slevin, Andrew Conway. Subs used: Conor Keegan for Gavigan (41), Alan Conlon for Fagan (48), Liam Maxwell for Kiernan (59).

Raharney: Daniel Greville; Cian O’Connor, David Weir, Gary Conroy; Colm Murray, Conor Slater, Eoin Weir; Jack Larkin, Dean Core; Michael Doherty, Jamie Carr, Robbie Coyne; Donie Mullen, John Shaw, Darragh Core. Subs used: Brian McGrath for Darragh Core (28), Mark Conroy for G Conroy (44), Aaron Reidy for Carr (48), Paddy Kelly for Reidy (inj., 60), Conor Donohue for Dean Core (inj., 60).

Ref: Barry Nea (Clonkill).