Wexford SFC Final: Starlights outshine Castletown
Wexford Senior Football Championship Final
STARLIGHTS 1-11 CASTLETOWN 1-9
By Ronan Fagan at Wexford Park
Starlights produced an inspired injury time push to oust holders Castletown and bridge a gap to the Enniscorthy town side’s last outright Wexford SFC success in 2017 with Sunday’s county final triumph amid atrocious conditions at Chadwicks Wexford Park.
While Castletown led by 1-4 to 0-3 at half-time following an injury time penalty from Ben Brosnan, Starlights returned with renewed purpose as they overcame the holders edging ahead by 1-9 to 1-8 late on to fashion the decisive late blows through Alan Tobin (2) and Ricky Fox.
The wintry conditions and a rather defensive outlook contributed to scores being at a premium during a rather tepid opening period.
Castletown charged into a 0-3 to 0-0 tenth minute late as Wexford colleagues Jonathan Bealin and Ben Brosnan (free and a ‘45) made their mark.
But Starlights responded strongly to shave the difference to 0-4 to 0-3 nearing the interval through Ricky Fox (free), Darragh Pepper and Dillon Redmond.
Castletown applied a late blow to grab a 1-4 to 0-3 interval advantage after Robbie Brooks forced a penalty which Brosnan launched low and straight to the net three minutes into added time.
Starlights resumed displaying greater purpose, and Darragh Pepper (2), Alan Tobin (2 frees) and Jack Kelly - a classy finish from 45 yards out - tied matters for the first time after 44 minutes (0-8 to 1-5).
Castletown were under mounting pressure, but they lifted the siege for Ben Brosnan to quickly edge them back in front at the last hydration break.
Starlights were full of menace and they transformed matters in tremendous style when Kevin Foley broke the ball down before Dylan McVeigh coolly chipped it off the ground and to the net for a 1-8 to 1-6 lead after 52 minutes.
The nerve of the challengers continued to be tested though as Castletown got back level after 55 minutes with Brosnan (free) and Bealin balancing matters at 1-8 apiece.
And three wides appeared to come just at the wrong time for Starlights as Brosnan launched the defending champions back in front on 60 minutes (1-9 to 1-8).
But Starlights found renewed energy in four minutes of injury-time to stage a dramatic smash and grab raid as Alan Tobin (2) and a classy Ricky Fox score – after he sold Castletown a couple of dummies – floored the holders as saw Starlights soared to join St. John’s-Volunteers at the head of the roll of honour with their eleventh title.
Captain Rory O’Connor enjoyed the distinction of being the first recipient of the brand new Seamus Keevans Memorial Cup dedicated to the man known as ‘Mr. Wexford Football’.
Scorers for Starlights: Alan Tobin (0-4, 3 frees), Dylan McVeigh (1-0), Darragh Pepper (0-3), Ricky Fox (0-2, 1 free), Dillon Redmond and Jack Kelly (0-1 each).
Scorers for Castletown: Ben Brosnan (1-6, 0-2 frees, 0-2 ‘45s, 1-0 penalty), Jonathan Bealin (0-2), Robbie Brooks (0-1 mark).
STARLIGHTS: Pa Doyle; James Peare; Rory O’Connor (capt.), Ben Edwards; Dillon Redmond, Jack Kelly, Nathan O’Connor; Liam Ryan, Nick Doyle; Alan Tobin, Kevin Foley, Dylan McVeigh; Darragh Pepper, Ricky Fox, Ryan Mahon. Subs: James Carty for Mahon, inj. (36), Dayle Donohoe for McVeigh (60+3).
CASTLETOWN: Anthony Masterson; Ross Cody, Danny Gardiner, Frank Roche; Killian Pierce, Colm Morris, Conor Carty; Rory Heffernan, Liam Coleman; James Holmes, Jonathan Bealin Jody O’Shaughnessy; Brendan Halpin, Ben Brosnan, Robbie Brooks. Subs: Donnacha Holmes for J. Holmes (37), Joe Ahern for O’Shaughnessy (47).
REFEREE: Fintan O’Reilly (Kilmore).