Report of PIFC .v. Castletownbere (Examiner)

Gary Murphy inspires four-goal Castletownbere to victory over Na Piarsaigh

A win against unbeaten Newmarket is a must for Castletown in their final group game.

Inspired by classy full-forward Gary Murphy, Castletownbere resurrected their hopes of qualification following this hard-fought win over gallant Na Piarsaigh at Inchigeelagh yesterday.

When Keith Buckley levelled the game for the sixth time in second-half injury-time and Na Piarsaigh seemingly growing in confidence having come from six points in arrears, Castletown somehow found a way to mine 1-1 in the remaining four minutes to secure a dramatic victory.  Murphy’s class was evident throughout but he gave the vital last pass to James Harrington for the latter’s splendidly-executed goal before adding a coolly-struck free to hand the Beara men victory.

Castletown selector Seamus Harrington expressed relief with the win and praised Murphy for his contribution. “This win is a huge relief for us. You could see it in our play where the lads were nervous at times. We made hard work of it. We gave away a lot of cheap scores but got there in the end. “Gary was a real danger all day for Piarsaigh. When he gets the ball, he does the right thing, got some great scores. He’s a super footballer.” A win against unbeaten Newmarket is a must for Castletown in their final group game, but their hopes of qualification may come down to points difference as Aghada, too, are still very much in contention in the final group games.While Murphy was very much the star of this occasion, he was ably assisted by the hard-working Andrew O’Sullivan. The former Cork senior was a key cog in many of his side’s attacks, slotted a brilliant penalty, and floated an inch-perfect long-range kick-pass from midfield.  Castletown started brightly with James Harrington, Jason Walsh, and Murphy responding to a first-minute Shane Forde point. Na Piarsaigh levelled matters through Buckley and Alan Keating by the end of the first quarter.

As an even contest progressed, the West Cork side seemed to be gaining the upper hand when Murphy curled over two majestic scores off his cultured left foot but Na Piarsaigh then hit a golden spell when Kelvin Forde goaled following an inch-perfect pass from Keating. Alan Hogan followed up with a point and Na Piarsaigh might have been further ahead only for Chris O’Donoghue pulling off a brave save from a close-range Aaron Higgins shot.  Castletown, however, goaled from an O’Sullivan penalty in first-half injury-time after Luke Murphy was black-carded for hauling down Gary Murphy. Hogan tied matters up at 1-5 apiece as the sides retired at half-time.

They stayed score-for-score early in the second half before Castletown struck for their second goal. Declan Dunne and Gary Murphy were central in the build-up creating space for Walsh to score a fine 43rd-minute goal. Piarsaigh did stay in touch with Shane Forde hitting the crossbar before Gary Murphy got on the end of a long O’Sullivan kick pass to finish soccer-style to the net. That made it 3-8 to 1-8 in the 55th minute before Piarsaigh fought back superbly, reeling in their opponents with a fine individual goal from Kelvin Forde and three successive points from Buckley (2) and Keating.

It made for a dramatic finish but Castletown showed the greater composure in injury time.  Scorers for Castletownbere: G Murphy (1-5, 0-1 free), J Walsh, James Harrington (1-1 each), A O’Sullivan (1-0 pen), D Dunne and R Murphy (free) (0-1 each).

Scorers for Na Piarsaigh: K Forde (2-0), K Buckley (0-5, 1 free, 1 ‘45’), A Hogan (0-3 frees), A Keating (0-2), S Forde (0-1).CASTLETOWNBERE:

C O’Donoghue; C Murphy, L Harrington, O Byrne; S McCarthy, D Dunne, D Hanley; A O’Sullivan, D Fenton; J Harrington, D Hegarty, J Harrington-Morales; O Murphy, G Murphy (capt.), R Murphy. Subs: J Walsh for Hegarty (3, inj.); J O’Neill for C Murphy (35, inj.); A O’Shea for Hanley, James Murphy for Fenton (both 59).

NA PIARSAIGH: A O’Sullivan; E Moynihan, E Hanifin, L Murphy; A Higgins, K Power, D Maguire; S Forde, D Lehane; G Joyce, K Forde, K Buckley (capt.); C O’Mahony, A Hogan, A Keating. Subs: C Bowen for Lehane (29); P Guest for O’Mahony (44); T Lawton for Joyce (53); D Gunning for Hanifin (60 +3).  Referee: C Vaughan (Cill na Martra)