Westmeath SHC Final: Clonkill win three-in-a-row
Westmeath Senior Hurling Championship Final
CLONKILL 3-16 CASTLETOWN-GEOGHEGAN 2-16 (AET)
By Conor McKenna at TEG Cusack Park
Clonkill snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, to claim their third successive Westmeath Senior Hurling Championship, after a thrilling encounter in TEG Cusack Park.
This was a fabulous game of hurling and Castletown-Geoghegan looked set to claim the trophy, but a goal from Clonkill substitute Niall Mitchell in the fourth minute of additional time, forced extra-time and Clonkill pushed on in the extra period.
The conditions were monsoon like, but they did not take from the standard of hurling, which was absolutely magnificent.
Clonkill started the game well and had built up a 0-4 to 0-2 lead with nine minutes played, but Castletown responded superbly and five successive points left them ahead by three after 19 minutes.
It was tit for tat up until the interval, though the outstanding Aonghus Clarke reacted quickest to a breaking ball on the stroke of half-time and the Westmeath star made no mistake with the finish to give his team at 1-9 to 0-7 lead at the break.
Brendan Murtagh and Joe Clarke traded scores after the break, though Niall O’Brien’s 38th minute score left six between the sides.
A free from Murtagh was followed with a goal from Jordan Smyth, as the gap was reduced to two, with 42 minutes played.
Niall O’Brien responded with a free to settle Castletown, though two further Clonkill scores left the minimum between the teams heading into the last five minutes.
Points from Aonghus Clarke and Niall O’Brien were followed with a score from Murtagh, though a magnificent late score from Clarke looked to have given Castletown the win.
Clonkill had other ideas however and Niall Mitchell showed great composure to put the ball in the net and force extra time, with the full time scoreboard reading Clonkill 2-12 – Castletown-Geoghegan 1-15.
Joe Clarke found the net in the 63rd minute, after a side-line cut from Niall O’Brien, though Clonkill responded magnificently with a goal from Niall Mitchell at the other end and the sides were once again level.
The teams were deadlocked at half-time in extra time, though Clonkill then scored three points courtesy of Peadar Scally and Murtagh (2), as they held on for a three-point win.
Scorers for Clonkill: Brendan Murtagh 0-12 (8f, 1 “65”), Niall Mitchell 2-0, Jordan Smyth 1-1, Eoin Price 0-1, Peadar Scally 0-1, Luke Loughlin 0-1.
Scorers for Castletown-Geoghegan: Aonghus Clarke 1-6 (3f), Niall O’Brien 0-8 (6f), Joe Clarke 1-1, Plunkett Maxwell 0-1.
CLONKILL: Andrew Mitchell; Mikey McGrath, Alan McGrath, Kelvin Reilly; Oisin Dowdall, Darragh Egerton, Paddy Dowdall; Shane Power, Peadar Scally; Alan Dowdall, Luke Loughlin, Ciaran Nolan; Jordan Smyth, Brendan Murtagh, Eoin Price.*Subs: *Christopher Austin for Peadar Scally (37), Niall Mitchell for Ciaran Nolan (39), Jack O’Brien for Oisin Dowdall (42), Anthony Price for Shane Power (48), Niall Dowdall for Jordan Smyth (62), Peadar Scally for Eoin Price (64), Ciaran Nolan for Christopher Austin (70 + 1), Mark Keegan for Paddy Dowdall (70, ht-et)
CASTLETOWN-GEOGHEGAN: Ciaran Glennon; Aaron Glennon, Dean McDermott, Conor Kane; Eoin Quinn, Johnny Birmingham, Liam Varley; David Lynch, Plunkett Maxwell; Aonghus Clarke, Naoise McKenna, Brandon Carey; Joe Clarke, Niall O’Brien, Ciaran O’Brien. *Subs: *Andrew Corbett for Brandon Carey (33), Conor Murphy for Naoise McKenna (49), Morgan Gavigan for Ciaran O’Brien (57), Ciaran O’Brien for Andrew Corbett (70, ht-et)
Referee: Caymon Flynn (St. Brigid’s)