Castlepollard's Oisin Gaffney and Raharney's Devin Hill battle for possession.

Two goals for Devine as ‘Pollard shock Raharney

GAA Slevin’s Coaches Westmeath Senior Hurling ‘A’ Championship

Castlepollard 2-15 Raharney 1-15

Gerry Buckley

Castlepollard, fresh from their eye-catching win in the All-County Division 1 League final, completed an evening of shock results last Saturday in TEG Cusack Park in the race for the Westmeath Examiner Cup, with a deserved victory against age-old rivals Raharney.

On the evidence of Saturday’s two round robin games at Lake County GAA headquarters, it seems that 2023 may be the most open race for the blue riband silverware in the small ball game in Westmeath for many a year, a very welcome development for neutral fans.

Raharney, wearing all-white with a blue trim, almost got in for a goal straight from the throw-in. Their wind-assisted opponents opened the scoring with a point on 90 seconds from John McCarthy. Allan Devine doubled their lead from a free, but Devin Hill responded quickly with the Deelsiders’ first score in the fifth minute.

An unanswered hat-trick from the sticks of Andrew Dermody, David Devine, and McCarthy put Noel Boyce’s charges ahead by 0-5 to 0-1 with eight minutes elapsed. A superb sideline cut from Eamon Cunneen reduced the deficit. Three point exchanges ensued between Ciaran Doyle (a free) and Joe Rabbitte, Doyle (open play) and Paul Dermody (a great strike), and Hill (a low-trajectory effort) and McCarthy (his third), leaving the winners ahead by 0-8 to 0-5 after 19 minutes.

Ger Flanagan’s troops were on level terms by 23rd minute, via well-taken points from Hill, Eoin Keyes, and Cunneen (a quality score). However, Castlepollard responded impressively by scoring three points without reply, courtesy of Allan Devine (two – open play and a free), sandwiched between which confusion arose about a possible point at the other end from Cunneen which was not awarded, and Andrew Dermody (despite stumbling), moments after Joey Boyle had been denied a goal by Martin Egan. ‘Pollard led at the interval by 0-11 to 0-8.

Cormac Boyle pointed for the understrength losers within 30 seconds of the resumption of play. Colm Dermody responded in style for the men in blue and gold jerseys. Keyes doubled his tally before Doyle and McCarthy traded points from frees.

In the 44th minute, Allan Devine was on hand to instinctively whip the sliotar to the net after David Devine’s initial strike for a point had come back off the upright. Doyle might have goaled for Raharney, but he was dispossessed as he got set to pull the trigger. Rabbitte’s second point of the contest put Castlepollard ahead by 1-14 to 0-11 at the end of the third quarter.

The introduction of Killian Doyle in the 49th minute was a huge boost to Raharney fans, and last year’s All Star nominee wasn’t long in making the scoresheet from a free. The same player then showed very little sign of ring-rustiness after his lengthy injury lay-off by doubling his tally with aplomb from play.

A 55th-minute foul on sub Matthew O’Reilly resulted in what appeared to be a somewhat soft penalty award to Castlepollard, and Allan Devine made no mistake from the resultant puck. A converted free by Killian Doyle preceded a lobbed free goalward by his brother Ciaran which resulted in Keyes batting the ball to the net, to leave Raharney trailing by a goal (2-14 to 1-14) with two minutes of normal time remaining.

A successful free from Allan Devine (moved closer to the target for dissent) put the winners four points clear. Killian Doyle’s goal attempt was saved by Egan, and the ‘keeper did even better in the third minute of added-time to save a penalty from the losers’ marquee player, after Keyes had been fouled. The Doyle twins combined from the ensuing ‘65’, but Killian’s low-trajectory shot whizzed over – rather than under – the crossbar, thereby wrapping up the scoring at the end of an enjoyable match.

Scorers –

Castlepollard: A Devine 2-4 (1-0pen, 0-3f), J McCarthy 0-4 (1f), J Rabbitte, A Dermody 0-2 each, P Dermody, C Dermody, D Devine 0-1 each.

Raharney: E Keyes 1-2, K Doyle 0-4 (2f), D Hill, C Doyle (2f) 0-3 each, E Cunneen 0-2 (1s/l), C Boyle 0-1.

Castlepollard: Martin Egan; Sean Lancaster, Darragh O’Reilly, Oisín Gaffney; Paul Dermody, Colm Dermody, Conor Gaffney; Joe Rabbitte, Andrew Dermody; John McCarthy, Charlie McCormack, David Devine; Allan Devine, Brian Gilchrist, Conor Sheridan. Subs used: Patrick Fagan for Gilchrist (41), Matthew O’Reilly for Sheridan (41).

Raharney: Aaron McHugh; Neil Carty, Conor McKeogh, Darren Finn; Rory Keyes, Brian McHugh, Gary Greville; Michael Doherty, Cormac Boyle; Eoin Keyes, Ciaran Doyle, Joey Boyle; Brian McGrath, Devin Hill, Eamon Cunneen. Sub used: Killian Doyle for Hill (49).

Ref: Caymon Flynn (St Brigid’s).


Man of the match: Allan Devine (Castlepollard). A fine haul of 2-4 from the former Westmeath player, whose opportunist goal in the 44th minute was crucial to the outcome.

Key moment: Martin Egan’s injury-time save from a Killian Doyle penalty was joyously celebrated.