When these teams clashed last year, a tight and cagey match developed with the city side leaving Castlehaven gripping nervously to a four-point advantage. Yesterday was very different.
Castlehaven moved 1-5 to 0-2 by the 12th minute. By the interval their lead had swelled to 12 points and the level of their first-half dominance essentially killed off this game as a contest.
Castlehaven’s relentless attacking play was the chief reason for their control. The St Nicholas defence, bereft of the injured Niall Horgan, struggled to cope despite the best efforts of Andrew Evans and David Cunningham.
The positioning of Bernie Collins at right corner-forward was a shrewd move as his strength and height made him a brilliant target man. Seanie Cahalane buzzed with intent and his haul of 0-5 illustrated the scoring threat he posed.
Only 27 seconds had elapsed when Bernie Collins calmly rolled a shot to the net after Brian Hurley and Mark Collins prised open the St Nicholas rearguard. After that Castlehaven displayed poise in front of goal to pick off some excellent points and when Seanie Cahalane raised a white flag in the 17th minute, they were 1-7 to 0-2 to the good.
St Nicholas battled gamely but found the Castlehaven rearguard, in which Jamie Davis and Chris Hayes enjoyed impressive outings, to be in a miserly mood. A pair of beautiful points by David Brosnan and Graham Callanan did offer Saints some respite.
But their aspirations received a grave setback in first-half injury-time when Mark Collins point effort dropped short and looped into the net.
Their 2-10 to 0-4 interval advantage was reflective of the manner in which Castlehaven had controlled proceedings in the opening half.
The second-half proved to be a lacklustre affair with Castlehaven’s berth in round four already assured and St Nicholas destined to be travelling the backdoor route.
Midfielder Robert Brosnan’s precise freetaking trimmed the gap to 2-11 to 0-7 at the close of the third quarter.
But the lack of a cutting edge in opening play hampered St Nicholas prospects of eating further into Castlehaven’s advantage on the scoreboard. They did come close to goal after Graham Callanan rampaged forward yet his well-struck drive was smartly beaten away by Castlehaven netminder Paudie Hurley.
At the other end Seanie Cahalane was extremely accurate with his kicking while Alan Cahalane ensured all the Castlehaven attackers had got on the scoresheet when he swept over a point in the 48th minute. A productive afternoon’s work for Castlehaven was rounded off in the 58th minute when Dineen burst forward from midfield and smashed to the net.
Scorers for Castlehaven: M Collins 1-6 (4f), S Cahalane 0-5, B Collins 1-2, S Dineen 1-0, D Hegarty, A Cahalane, B Hurley 0-1 each.
Scorers for St Nicholas: R Brosnan 0-4f, David Brosnan 0-2, G Callanan 0-1.
CASTLEHAVEN: P Hurley; J Davis, L Collins, T O’Leary; M Cahalane, D Cahalane, C Hayes; D Hurley, S Dineen; A Cahalane, M Collins, D Hegarty; B Collins, S Cahalane, B Hurley.
ST NICHOLAS: D Byrne; K Spain, D Óg O’Donovan, T Spain; A Evans, Dean Brosnan, D Cunningham; T Brosnan, P O’Brien; G Callanan, E McCarthy, D O’Callaghan; G Moylan, David Brosnan, S Kennefick.
Subs: E O’Sullivan for Moylan (49).
Referee: Ger Harrington (Carrigaline)