Charlestown contain Westport. Photo: M. Donnelly
Tuesday, 10 August 2010 09:19
The banks may be running short of money but county champions Charlestown have, it would seem, kept a good bit in reserve and still hold the crown jewel.
The champions made it look easy as they sauntered to a quarterfinal place as group leaders following this impressive 11-point win over Westport on Sunday.
Of the three games I covered at the weekend this victory was the most compelling, and despite rumours of their demise, the evidence here would suggest it is highly exaggerated as on this performance no signs of mental or physical degradation was evident
Their half-back line of Aiden and Dermot Higgins and Colm Maye remains one of the best, midfield was solid despite losing Sean Morris through injury and the absence of the suspended Tom Parsons, while the attack was potent with all but one score coming from play.
I'd still back Westport to remain senior next year as they are a lot better than this performance would suggest and I would venture to say it was a case of the champions just being too good rather than the opposition being that bad. Time will tell.
Westport fought hard and might have got more scores on the board had they been more accurate in their freetaking and more direct in their approach, but this game was dominated by one team and on the evidence it will take a very good side to force them to abdicate from their throne.
It was a game Westport needed to win to sustain any hope of qualification but after 15 minutes it was Charlestown who had set the terms, six points without reply, the champions using all their experience and guile and Westport struggling in most departments.
Westport did have their chances, the best falling to the battling Stephen Broderick who might have taken his point but his goal effort was well saved by David Sloyan.
Damien Keane was also struggling to get into the game as Charlestown counter-attacked with pace and, above all, finishing power, points from Richard Haran, Dermot Higgins, Haran again, Ollie Conway, Paul Mulligan and Anthony Mulligan easing them into the comfort zone and all from play.
It took Westport all of 18 minutes to get on the board but they registered their first score in spectacular style, Damien Keane patiently waiting for the gap which was found by wing-back Eamon Walsh who fired home a superb goal.
If it was to light the fire, and it nearly did, it was doused inside a minute, substitute Joe McBrien with virtually his first effort causing problems for Tom Higgins in the Westport goal, his save not cleared and helped over the line by Paul Mulligan.
Dermot Higgins and Anthony Mulligan added points against two on the bounce from Damien Keane from a free and from play, giving Charlestown a commanding half time lead of 1-9 to 1-2.
Keane and Ryan Cafferkey offered a small glimmer of hope for Westport with two rapid points in the second half but Charlestown were playing at a different level, Martin Mulvaney and Paul Mulligan keeping things topped up and while Ryan Cafferkey came back with two points to keep Westport in touch with 10 minutes remaining (1-11 to 1-6), the quarterfinal spot was signed, sealed and delivered six minutes from time.
The postman was Ginger Tiernan, who came on for the injured Sean Morris, and it was the Ginger man's long delivery which found Anthony Mulligan, a super catch from the full forward who turned and fired to the net for game, set and match – 2-12 to 1-7.
Tiernan, who seems to have found a new lease of life at 35, added a point of his own to go with two super efforts from Joe McBrien, all suggesting Charlestown remain the team to beat in this year's championship.
Scorers for Charlestown: A. Mulligan 1-4, P. Mulligan 1-2, D. Higgins, R. Haran and J. McBrien 0-2 each, O. Conway, M. Mulvaney and D. Tiernan 0-1 each. Scorers for Westport: D. Keane 0-4, E. Walsh 1-0, R. Cafferkey 0-3.
Charlestown: D. Sloyan, K. Deignan, D. McMeel, D. Caffrey, D. Higgins, A. Higgins, C. Maye, S. Morris, B. Quinn, E. Casey, M. Mulvaney R. Haran, O. Conway, A. Mulligan, P. Mulligan.
Subs used: G. Tiernan for S. Morris (inj), J. Owens for S. Quinn, S. Moran for A. Mulligan, S. Leneghan for D.Higgins.
Westport: T. Higgins, J. McHale, K. Keane, D. Keane, E. Walsh, N. O'Malley, B. Higgins, L. Keegan, T. Gavin, P. Keegan, D. O'Connor, D. Horan, S. Broderick, R. Cafferkey, D. Keane.
Subs used: E. O'Toole for B. Higgins, R. Gibbons for P. Keegan.
Referee: M. Conneely (Hollymount).
Man of the match: Anthony Mulligan...a troublesome full-forward for any full-back and a quality goal to cap a fine performance.