Castlepollard's Charlie McCormack in action against Fr Dalton's in the senior 'A' hurling championship.

Pollard relegate Daltons in deluge

Slevins Coaches Senior Hurling 'A' Championship

Castlepollard 3-7, Fr. Dalton’s 0-10

The final game of this year’s senior hurling ‘A’ championship took place in a torrential downpour in Kinnegad on Monday evening, with this year’s league champions Castlepollard consigning last year’s senior ‘B’ champions a swift return to that grade after a very entertaining game, especially in the prevailing conditions.

The rain fell from start to finish and made the ball almost a bar of soap for the hour, but in fairness to both sides they made light of the conditions as best they could and the large attendance was treated to some fine scores and some even better defending. Castlepollard, who led by five points at the interval, were the better side and took their chances, while Fr Dalton’s will rue some missed opportunities, especially at the end of the first half and early in the second half. Three goals decided the game in essence and Dalton’s will know that two of them were very preventable, but they will have to ponder that over the winter as they prepare for senior ‘B’ in 2024. For Pollard, it was a winning finish to what has been a mixed year for the Cionn Torc men, but definitely they are showing shoots of getting back to challenging at the top table.

With wind advantage, Pollard dominated the first quarter with a brilliant goal from Andy Dermody, after a cross-field exocet from Alan Devine, and points from the latter (two frees and a beauty from play), together with a John McCarthy free from his own half. Fr Dalton’s replied through Sean Keena, Owen McCabe, Ronan McLoughlin and two Brian Finerty frees to narrow the gap to just two points, but all that work was undone when McCarthy pointed from another parish and Andy Dermody returned the favour to Alan Devine, who netted a brilliant second goal after a side-line battle went in Pollard’s favour. Indeed, Dalton’s were losing many of the 50/50 battles and decisions and were becoming more frustrating, but Finerty did pull one back before the break and it was 2-5 to 0-6 to Castlepollard at the short whistle.

Dalton’s upped the intensity on the restart and Finerty (from a ‘65’) and Jack Kearney, with a monster free, had the gap down to three. Owen McCabe was also unlucky to see his goal effort go just wide of the post and they then hit the post shortly afterwards, but it was just a litany of missed chances for the Ballymore-based side.

Crucially, Pollard hit back on the break. McCarthy, with the score of the match from distance, and Derek Murray, after some slack defending, saw the

gap extend again. Finerty pulled one back from a free, but it was the wides that were mounting up and they also lost the influential Owen McCabe to injury and that seemed to tear the heart out of them.

A prolonged Pollard attack looked to have been dealt with, but a lapse in concentration saw Derek Murray nip in and flick home a third goal and in truth that sealed the deal with two minutes left on the clock.

Colm O’Rourke did have a late score for Dalton’s, but it was goals they needed at that stage and the final ignominy saw Ivan Smyth red-carded late on to complete a miserable night for the Saints. In corntrast, for Pollard it was a win and a reflection on what might have been in a season where their league form suggested they could be potential challengers for the Examiner Cup.

Scorers - Castlepollard: Alan Devine 1-3 (2 frees), Derek Murray 1-1, John McCarthy 0-3 (1 free), Andrew Dermody 1-0.

Fr. Dalton’s: Brian Finery 0-5 (4 frees, 1 65’), Jack Kearney (free), Sean Keena, Colm O’Rourke, Ronan McLoughlin and Owen McCabe 0-1 each.

Castlepollard: Martin Egan, Sean Lancaster, Darragh O’Reilly, Ben Murphy, Dylan O’Leary, Charlie McCormack, Paul Dermody, Colm Dermody, Conor Gaffney, Eoin English, Derek Murray, Luke Roddy, Alan Devine, John McCarthy, Andrew Dermody. Subs: Paddy Fagan for English (41 mins), Conor Sheridan for Roddy (61 mins).

Fr. Dalton’s: Eoin Moran, Jack Kearney, Brian McCabe, Eoin Ryan, Sean Keena, Ciaran Clear, Padraig Nestor, Kieran Martin, Ivan Smyth, Colm O’Rourke, John Gilligan, Jack Duncan, Brian Finerty, Ronan McLoughlin, Owen McCabe. Subs: Ronan Hanley for Owen McCabe (53 mins).

Referee: James McGrath (Turin).

Examiner’s Eye on the game

Man Of The Match

Colm Dermody (Castlepollard): Colm Dermody was outstanding throughout for the winners and gets the nod here. Darragh O’Reilly, McCormack, McCarthy and Alan Devine also stood out for Pollard. Meanwhile, Jack Kearney, the McCabes and Finerty were best for Dalton’s.