Oldcastle too crafty for Nobber

April 12, 2003
Oldcastle..........................1-13Nobber...............................0-8 The team that went down defeated the side that went up in this Meath IFC first round match at Kells on Friday evening 11th April. Oldcastle, relegated from the senior ranks last autumn, possessed too much craft and accuracy for 2002 junior champions Nobber as they got the start they so desperately wanted to their first campaign back in the intermediate ranks. But it was a performance Oldcastle will have mixed feelings about. It was a case of mission accomplished thanks to the win and for much of the opening half they looked highly impressive, but they faded subsequently and looked in danger of being caught by a rejuvenated Nobber in the second half. Oldcastle, playing with flair and confidence, made a superb start as Nobber looked nervous and hesitant. Thomas Farrelly, who proved a big threat at full-forward, pointed them in front after only 15 seconds and they were four clear after five minutes thanks to further points from Niall Mangan (free), Enda Galligan and another free by Pat Kevin. By the 19th minute the advantage stood at 0-9 to 0-2 after Kevin and Mangan (two frees each) and Enda Smith had added to the Oldcastle tally, with Brian Farrell getter Nobber 's only replies from two well-struck frees. That set a trend for Nobber who failed to score from play. They had a mountain to climb, but they didn 't lie down and, with Oldcastle fading after that great start, the reigning junior champions set about getting themselves back into contention. Farrell pointed another free to leave them trailing by 0-3 to 0-9 at the interval, though disaster had almost struck seven minutes before the break when Thomas Farrelly shot wide with a simple goal chance after a superb ball forward by the highly impressive Ronan Farrelly. Nobber needed a good start to the second half and they got it as Farrell pointed three more frees to reduce the deficit to 0-6 to 0-9. But they might well have been level as a powerful shot by the always dangerous Farrell was brilliantly saved by Oldcastle goalkeeper Camillus Smith at the expense of a 45 ' four minutes after the change of ends. Oldcastle looked totally flat, but they got the break they needed 11 minutes into the half. The ball looked to have gone wide, Nobber clearly thought so as they appeared to stop playing and it ended up in the net courtesy of Eugene Smith to leave Oldcastle clear at 1-9 to 0-6. Farrell reduced the deficit with another free, but the highly influential Vincent Reynolds restored Oldcastle 's six-point advantage early in the third quarter with a well-struck free and when Kevin added another they were seven points ahead and safe. The advantage almost stretched to 10 when Eugene Smith had a goal-bound shot blocked by a defender six minutes from time. As a carnival got into full swing behind the town goal, providing a noisy but colourful atmosphere, the exchanges became increasingly fiery and by the end of the match Carnaross referee Seamus O 'Connor had booked seven players, four from Nobber. But Oldcastle had done the required hard work in the early stages and also finished best. Gavin Farrelly pointed yet another free for Nobber, but Mangan (free) and the impressive Jim Smith replied for Oldcastle at the other end. If Oldcastle can repeat their showing of the opening stages on a more consistent basis they look certain to be serious contenders for a quick return to the intermediate ranks. The jury is still out on Nobber 's prospects. Oldcastle - C. Smith; J. Smith (0-1), R. Pakenham, F. Tully; T. Farrelly, R. Farrelly, S. Rahill; V. Reynolds (0-1), B. Halpin; N. Mangan (0-4), E. Galligan (0-1), M. Caffrey; E. Smith (1-1), T. Farrelly (0-1), P. Kevin (0-4). Nobber - D. McMahon; P. Olwill, M. Owens, A. O 'Brien; P. McEntee, P. Clarke, J. McCormack; S. Carolan, G. Farrelly (0-1); T. Tierney, G. Weldon, B. Heffernan; J. Maguire, B. Farrell (0-7), A. Hayes. Sub - P. Fox for Heffernan. Referee - S. O 'Connor (Carnaross).

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