All must have had their doubts at some point over the last number of months, but the 2020 championship kicked off last weekend and Aghada got off to a flyer with a solid 1st round win over Castletownbere. Kieran was very much on everyone’s mind, and no one wanted to let him down. The number 4 jersey was stood down for the game and hung proudly by the Aghada dugout. It was apt then that the Aghada backs had an outstanding hour. While Aghada always had a 3/4 point lead, with 10 mins gone in the 2nd half Castletownbere playing with the wind were still in the game. In Gary Murphy they had a real danger man at top of the right. Fittingly when Kyle O’Shea (wearing 17 instead of 4) was put into the number 4 position he snuffed out the threat of the opposition’s best forward and from here on there was only going to be one winner. Beside him the returning Ed Leahy was a real man of the match contender at full back. Jack Mc Donnell hurt the Beara men with some excellent runs from defence in that second half. Wing backs Aaron Stafford and Timmy Hartnett both scored points aswell as defending well, while young Diarmuid Phelan was very solid at centre back. All this meant that after Castletown opened the 2nd half scoring in under a minute, and with the gale, they wouldn’t score again until the 29th minute. By which time the game was up. By then Aghada had 12 points on the board and only for an unusual number of attempts hitting the woodwork, they would have been well out of site. With Jamie O’Hanlon adding the 13th and final point on 34 minutes, it was more than enough to take the points in this opening round robin game.
Aghada got the better start with Hartnett linking up with Aaron Berry for the wingback to fist the opener. Charlie Terry had another a minute later, which looked at one point that it might lob the ‘keeper and drop under instead of over the bar. A Cian Fleming ’45 had us 3 to the good in just 5 minutes. The Beara men opened their account on 9 minutes just after they had drawn a good save from Ray Savage in goals. With Mike Russell and young Pearse O’Neill seeing plenty of ball around the middle, Aghada got the next two scores. A beauty from Kevin O’Hanlon and Aaron Berry with the other. One in reply from Castletownbere made it 5 v 2 at the 1st half water break. The second quarter was won 4 v 2 by Aghada, with points from Danny Creedon, Pearse, Staff and Kevin’s second. John Looney, Pearse, Timmy and Kyle all played parts in these scores. Two frees came in reply and at the short whistle Aghada led by 5 points on a 9 v 4 scoreline.
Aghada spurned 2 goal chances at the start of the 2nd half, before an excellent point from Fleming got them going again on 8 minutes. The same player was fouled after a good run on 13 minutes and Danny converted the free. By now Kyle was doing a Kieran on his opponent and Aghada never looked in any danger to the final whistle. Only two more scores came our way however, a free from Danny and the last free from Jamie after his big brother was fouled. All in all a long overdue championship win for us and a great way to start a hectic period of big games. The Castletownbere chairman spoke very well to the Aghada group afterwards and Kiptu also thanked the lads for their effort at the end of a very difficult 7 days for the club. Kiptu being Kiptu, he also let them know in no uncertain terms what will be expected of them going forward! So onwards for hurling v Youghal next, and hopefully championship momentum might build behind us for a change.
Aghada Team and Scorers – Ray Savage, Kyle O’Shea, Ed Leahy, Jack McDonnell, Aaron Stafford (0-1), Diarmuid Phelan, Tim Hartnett (0-1), Charlie Terry (0-1), Mike Russell, Aaron Berry (Capt)(0-1), Pearse O’Neill(0-1), Cian Fleming (0-2, 1x’45), Kevin O’Hanlon (0-2), Daniel Creedon(0-3, 2 f’s), John Looney. Subs used – Shane Bennett, Aiden O’Connell, Jake O’Donoghue, Jamie O’Hanlon (0-1)