Castlehaven secure first Munster final appearance in 11 years

Brian Hurley stars with 1-6 as the Cork champions see off Rathgormack of Waterford

Munster Football Championship: Castlehaven (Cork) 1-16 Rathgormack (Waterford) 1-7

A first Munster final appearance in eleven years will shorten the winter in Castlehaven according to manager James McCarthy. “As I said to the group, it’s a one-off chance. It’s a dream to play in a Munster final and have a crack off Dingle.”

The Haven fans were out in force at Fraher Field on Sunday to toot their airhorns during a nine point victory over Rathgormack. “I looked back there with five minutes to go, when we were comfortable, and I could see a lot of blue and white,” said McCarthy. “Before the game, I saw people coming in that I hadn’t seen with years! Hopefully, we’re giving people a bit of enjoyment. We have another day out and Christmas is getting nearer!”

The Hurley brothers scored 1-11 between them. Brian got a big cheer when he was replaced after shooting 1-6. Michael was unmarkable all afternoon. The number fifteen flashed over five points from play - four by half time. “Michael was on fire today,” said McCarthy. “It’s a different one of them every week! Michael had a quiet day the last day, they left him loose today.”

Rathgormack were without Waterford duo Conor Murray and Michael Curry. Despite these absentees, a brilliant Billy Power goal helped the underdogs into a four point lead. Castlehaven responded with eight white flags in a row either side of half-time.


Rathgormack missed four point chances in the third quarter. They closed the gap to two with eleven minutes left but the Cork side kicked on again and Hurley’s late shot dipped into the net.

”[I’m] proud of their effort,” said Rathgormack boss Kenny Hassett. “As a management team, we couldn’t have asked any more in terms of effort, attitude and application.”

Seven first half points from the Hurleys saw Castlehaven recover from that sluggish start. In the ninth minute, Stephen Curry beat three defenders and supplied Billy Power who billowed the bottom corner of the net. A Jason Gleeson free gave the outsiders a four point advantage (1-2 to 0-1).

Castlehaven responded by moving the ball quicker into the Hurleys and took the lead by the 27th minute. Cathal Maguire also got among the points after leaving five defenders behind them. A Tom Walsh block denied Brian Hurley a goal. Injury-time efforts from the siblings left them 0-8 to 1-2 to the good at the break.

Rathgormack squandered three point chances on the restart - two wide and one short. Castlehaven couldn’t put the game to bed just yet as Conor Cahalane rattled the crossbar. A peach of a point from Jason Curry, off the outside of his right, left just two between them with eleven minutes left (0-10 to 1-5).

A Brian Hurley free and a Mark Collins point from play settled Castlehaven. On 58 minutes, a shot from Hurley deceived Padraig Hunt and found the Rathgormack net.

Castlehaven: Darragh Cahalane; J O’Regan, R Maguire, R Walsh; T O’Mahony, Damien Cahalane, M Collins (0-1); C Cahalane, A Whelton; J O’Neill, B Hurley (1-6 four frees, one 45), S Browne (0-1); C Maguire (0-1), J Cahalane (0-1), M Hurley (0-5). Subs: C O’Driscoll (0-1) for Whelton (half-time), J O’Driscoll for Browne (55 mins), C O’Sullivan for C Maguire (58), R Minihane for C Cahlane (59), M Maguire for B Hurley (61).

Rathgormack: P Hunt; C Walsh, M Power, L Connolly; S Hahessy, T Walsh, W Hahessy; B Power (1-0), G Power; J Power, J Curry (0-4 two frees, one 45), D Hassett; J Gleeson (0-2, two frees), S Curry, A Murray (0-1). Subs: S Kirwan for Hassett (51 mins), P Walsh for Murray (55).

Referee: S Lonergan (Tipperary)