Castlewellan Town Beaten In Junior Shield Final

Castlewellan Town were beaten by a stronger St Mary’s FC side in the Junior Shield Final

It was a bad day at the office for Castlewellan Town who suffered a 3-0 defeat against St Mary’s FC in the County Antrim FA Junior Shield Final played at the Blanchflower Stadium in Belfast writes Jim Masson ©.

St Mary’s got off to a sprightly start pressing Castlewellan and gave them little space to get flowing attacks set up throughout the game.

Castlewellan were missing three key players. Rhys Clarke and Karol Jarinski, were both injured and Ronan Croskery was cup-tied.

Between then this season they have scored 70 goals so this left a huge hole in the Castlewellan attacking capabilities.

The beaten Castlewellan Town side who took on St Mary’s in the Junior Shield at the Blanchflower stadium. (Photos by Jim Masson / Down News ©)

Although St Mary’s were pushing early, Castlewellan were containing them well and on 5 minutes Ruariri McArdle made a timely intervention to break up a useful attack.

Castlewellan pumped up a few long ball to try and get over the St Mary’s defence and it proved effective enough but teh goal opportunities were not coming for Castlewellan.

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Ryan McCullagh tried to run through the St Mary’s defence and he passed to Danny Mackay who was taken down and a free kick given. This seemed to be a pattern for much of the match.

Then Martin Murphy made a strong run into the Castlewellan pack and found space but keeper Rory Burns read it and came out and blocked his shot.

Tje Country Antrim FA Junior Shield.

St Mary’s were getting closer to scoring with their relentless runs up the pitch. They were certainly the more physical side blocking any attack.

Castlewellan had less breaks but certainly appeared quicker in getting upfield when they got the opportunity but failed to capitalised on this.

On 20 minutes Adam Watkiss made a strong volley but it sailed over the top post and a short time later Martin MUrphy also shot over the bar.

St Mary’s and Castlewellan Town went head-to-head in the Junior Shield clash at the Blanchflower Stadium.

But Castlewellan fought back and McCullagh won a corner. Cormac Barr tried a shot but hit wide. Then 10 minutes before half time Barr again made a good run forward but was eventually blocked.

However, on 37 minutes, St Mary’s struck the first deadly blow when Tomas McCaffrey received a long ball into the box and keeper Burns tried to close him down but McCaffrey took it well putting St Mary’s a goal ahead.

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This was followed by a good dipping volley from Ruairi Bannon suggesting St Mary’s were more up on their toes now.

Just before half-time Castlewellan had been pushing to equalise but made little headway.

As the second half unfolded, St Mary’s looked at though they had gone up a gear and were a lot more focussed.

Castlewellan had a few opportunities to score but the going was tough against St Mary’s.

McCullagh almost made it through to the St Mary’s goal on a run but was eventually stopped by defender Matthew Geighan.

Castlewelllan then enjoyed a spell of attacking dominance when they tried to claim an equaliser but St Mary’s dug deep and their three yellow cards indicated that they were taking no prisoners. Castlelwellan had a clean sheet.

In the 67th minute St Mary’s scored again with Conor Kearney finding the ball in the box and nailing it to the Castlewellan net.

However, Castlewellan did not lie down and kept battling for a goal to keep in the match, but when Martin Murphy scored for St Mary’s in the 67th minute, the heart must have dropped out the men in green as they knew the writing was on the wall.

There was too much of a gulf for Castlewellan to get over now that St Mary’s were playing uo on their toes.

The winning St Mary’s team who beat Castlewellan Town 3-0.

Castlewellan did have one good scoring chance when McArdle hit a low volley but it ricochetted off defenders’ legs.

Castlewellan did have a couple of more pops at the St Mary’s goal but the damage was done. A stronger St Mary’s side had scored three goals to claim the County Antrim FA Junior Shield.

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St Mary’s (Newtownabbey): 1 Ben Arthurs (GK) 2 Lewis McFadden 3 Eoghan O’Hare 4 Harry Griffin 5 Matthew Geighan 6 Adam Watkiss 7 Nial McDaid 8 Conor Kearney (C) 9 Ruairi Bannon 10 Martin Murphy 11 Tomas McCaffrey. Subs: 12 Michael Henry 14 Deaglan Stanton 15 Jack Campbell 17 Saul Boyle.

Castlewellan Town: 1 Rory Burns (GK) 2 Barry Travers 3 Ciarna Stratton 4 Adam Garland 5 Ruairi McArdle 6 Conall Corrigan 7 Danny McKay 8 Cormac Barr 9 Matthew Stratton 10 Ryan McCullagh 14 Eoin Travers. Subs: 11 Christoper Cope 12 Jason Croskery 13 Michael Watson 15 Gareth Kidd 16 Colm Flanaghan.