Loughinisland GAC Holds Castlewellan To A Draw

Loughinisland and Castlewellan Draw in Close Early Season Encounter

Down GAA,

ACFL Division 1,

League Match, Friday 19th April 2024,

Final score: Loughinisland 2-06 1-09 Castlewellan.

For the first spell in this early season encounter it was Loughinisland who were getting the better of their opponents writes Jim Masson.

Loughinisland were two key players short as Rory Mason and Gary McKibben are playing for the Down team and have a match in hand.

And this was just the second match of the season for Castlewellan, a stiff test.

The match started off with some sharp pressing play from Loughinisland side and within 2 minutes Loughinisland clocked up their first point.

Then on a charge, Dean McLaughlin hit a lick at the Castlewellan posts but went wide, and the visitors replied with a kick at teh home goals by Rory Burns but that too went wide.

Loughinisland’s Conor Magoran in action with Castlewellan’s Lorcan Cairns.
(Photos by Jim Masson/Down News ©).

Loughinisland were trying to turn up the heat and Declan McClements bit the ball well but Luke McCabe managed to knock the ball off target.

For longish spells it was Loughinisland that looked initially the stronger of the two sides but Castlewellan did make occasional breaks and eventually Rossa McCartan took a point in play.

But the see-saw game started to take over and Loughinisland matched this with another point from a free when McClements was taken down by Caolan Corrigan.

As Loughinisland continued to press, McClements was levelled again and Patrick Morgan stepped up and took the point well for Loughinisland.

Castlewellan started to move up a gear and pushed into the Loughinisland half more and a good play by McCartan to Oran Flanaghan and back to himself almost created a good goal opportunity close in but the Loughinisland defence were onto it it quickly and cleared.


Flanaghan made a good run forward and was checked Aidan McLaughlin and a free was awarded on the 16-yard lIne and Flanaghan knocked the ball over the Loughinisland sticks to pull back a point.

Loughinisland’s Aidan McLaughlin on possession runs into a wall of Castlewellan defenders and came off injured.

Then in a Loughinisland attack Flanaghan took done James Savage in front of his goal mouth and the referee pointed to the spot. McClements took the penalty hitting low to the left hand post beating keeper Croskery.

But this seems to have galvanised Castlewellan as they started to fight back even harder and Cahal Crilly took a point to keep his side in touch with the score after a good show of passing by the Castlewellan forwards.

On 24 minutes Sean O’Neill hit a good ball at the Loughinisland goals but keeper Chris Turley got it well under control.

Castlewellan then took another point and were closing the gap approaching half-time as they upped the frequency of their attacks.


Then the match turned. The dominance of Loughinisland came to an abrupt end in the 27th minute when Eoin Lundy drove the ball into the Loughinisland net putting his side a point ahead going into the second half at 1-04 to 1-05.

The second half was punctuated by frees which made flowing football difficult. Both teams blocked players entering their halves.

Loughinisland sub PJ McClean almost sneaked in a goal when he fired at the back post across goal and forced keeper Croskery to dash to keep the ball out of his goal.

Goalmouth action in the clash between Loughinisland and Castlewellan.

Loughinisland pointed and this was followed by a Castlewellan point by McCartan. Both team were pushing as hard as they could and Flanaghan lashed the ball at the Loughinisland posts and it bounced back, unlucky not to get a point.

Then Loughinisland took their last points as Savage hit the ball from inside the 16 yard line and scored a goal putting the home side three points ahead.

However, Castewelllan were not finished. They ground on clawing back another three points to level the match.

With ten minutes to go McClements took a free and pointed, then Sean Cochrane held O’Neill and the free was converted by McCartan. And then Gary Stranney pointed to level the match at Loughinisland 2-06, 1-09 Castlewellan.

The second half was quite a physical affair with play stopping and starting on a heavy pitch also made play difficult.


Initially Loughinisland had the upper hand but Castlewellan pulled themselves back into the game point by point and must be happy enough with drawing away from home in this early season clash.

Loughinisland GAC: 1 Chris Turley 2 Edward Nixon 3 Patrick Magoran 4 Aidan McLaughlin 5 Shea O’Toole 6 Sean Cochrane 7 Gary Stranney 8 Aaron McClements 9 Dean McLaughlin 10 Odhran Barlow 11 Declan McClements 12 James Savage 13 Conor Magoran 14 Stefan Mason 15 Paddy McKenny 16 Darragh Valentine 17 Jack Ferris 18 Odhran O’Prey 19 Gavin McDonald 20 Aiden Nixon 22 Callum Valentine 23 Ruairi Barlow 24 PJ McKeown 25 Jamie Boyd 26 Oran Bolton 27 Damhan O’Toole 28 Ralph McMullan

Castlewellan GAC: 1 Morgan Croskery 2 Lorcan Cairns 3 Callum McKibbin 4 Ronan Houston 5 Caolan Corrigan 6 Conall Corrigan 7 Rossa McCartan 8 Rory Burns, 9 Ryan Lundy 10 Eoin Lundy 11 Oran Flanaghan 12 Ruairi Croskery 13 Sean O’Neill 14 Luke McCabe 15 Callum McCabe 16 Miceal McVeigh 17 Richie McInerney, 18 Stephen Connolly 19 Conal Crilly 20 Cahal Crilly 21 Caolum Brannigan 22 Cormac barr 23 Alex McAlinden 24 Tadhg Owens 25 Tiernan Dornan 26 Coran Cairns 27 Conor McVeigh 29 Dualta Pickering.