This was the last chance for both clubs to remain in the championship, and now, as a consequence of losing, Watergrasshill face the perilous route of having to overcome the losers of tonight’s tie between Newcestown and Aghabullogue to retain their premier status.
So, it is Castlelyons (with Justin McCarthy in their backroom team) who are in the fourth round draw, and when they reflect on where the game turned, they will look to a hugely productive second quarter when they outscored Watergrasshill 1-6 to 0-1.
This came after a nervous start, epitomised by the fact that they didn’t register their first point from play until 20 minutes in.
Nonetheless, they went on to lead by three points at the interval and despite lots of pressure from the ‘Hill, they remained in front to the end.
A big crowd turned up for this derby game, and it was Watergrasshill that got an early grip.
This came courtesy of a long range Paddy O’Regan free that was diverted to the net by a Castlelyons defender and with James McCarthy and Eoin Barry adding points, they were ahead 1-4 to 0-2 midway through the half.
However, the Castlelyons revival was impressive with the Spillane brothers Anthony and Colm accurate from play and frees, before Colm Spillane fired an excellent goal on 25 minutes.
The centre forward ran on to a superb clearance from Leo Sexton before firing low past Aidan Foley. A couple of points from Timmy McCarthy and Anthony Spillane ensured a 1-8 to 1-5 advantage at the break — Watergrasshill hitting just one point from an O’Regan free.
Watergrasshill switched Sean O’Callaghan and Noel O’Riordan for the second-half, but it was Castlelyons who made the more impressive start with Barry Fitzgerald finding the net following a Darren Tobin sideline cut. This was crucial as it increased the gap to six points. Yet, the ‘Hill fought back with points from the hard-working O’Regan (two) and Anthony Cronin.
By the three-quarter mark they trailed by four points, However, and mainly through free-taker O’Regan, they cut the gap to two points, 2-10 to 1-11 with five minutes left to play. They continued to threaten the Castlelyons goal, but sound play from defenders Ciarán McGann and Barry O’Connell kept them out.
A couple of chances got away from the ‘Hill as Darragh Lawlor held his nerve to push Castlelyons three points clear. Paudie Cahill and Anthony Spillane traded points at the death but time ran out for Watergrasshill as they desperately went looking for the goal they so badly needed.
Scorers for Castlelyons: A Spillane 0-6 (0-4 frees), C Spillane 1-2, B Fitzgerald 1-0, P Mahon, T McCarthy, D Lawlor and D Tobin 0-1 each.
Scorers for Watergrasshill: P O’Regan 1-6 (1-4 frees, 0-1 65m), E Barry 0-2, A Cronin, E O’Reilly, J McCarthy and P Cahill 0-1 each.
CASTLELYONS: E Barry; C Barry, B O’Connell, B Carroll; A O’Sullivan, C McGann, P Murphy; L Sexton, D Tobin; D Lawlor, C Spillane, T McCarthy; A Spillane, P Mahon, B Fitzgerald.
Subs: C O’Leary for C Barry (40), T Carroll for P Murphy (45), A Fenton for B Fitzgerald (55).
WATERGRASSHILL: A Foley; W O’Leary, K Coakley, P Cronin; W Connolly, N O’Riordan, D McCarthy; P O’Regan, A Cronin; S O’Callaghan, E Barry, E O’Reilly; J McCarthy, P Cahill, J Foley.
Subs: K O’Neill for J Foley (37), S O’Regan for E Barry (52).
Referee: D Copps (Ballyhea).