The score was 0-10 to 0-6 in favour of the Cork champions on 49 minutes but their Limerick opponents were holding grimly to their coat-tails when Haven sub Shane Nolan took a pass from Sean Dineen and cracked home a fine goal.
Before the kick-out could be taken Drom-Broadford’s Mike Boyce got entangled with Brian Hurley and, on the advice of his linesman, referee Padraig O’Sullivan sent him off. The Limerick side would manage just one more score while Castlehaven struck five points in a row to finish with a flourish.
It was harsh on Drom-Broadford to end the game 11 points adrift, because they had fought their way back into contention after a disastrous opening quarter.
Castlehaven started with the wind and scored a point within seconds thanks to midfielder Diarmuid Hurley storming up field from the throw-in.
They made light of Drom-Broadford’s extra man in defence — a role Patrick Donnelly and Jason Stokes took turns in filling — by using long, accurate deliveries to good effect.
Points from Stephen Hurley, Mark Collins (free), two fine scores from the impressive Brian Hurley and Seanie Cahalan underlined their superiority, and it looked like a long day at the office for the Limerick side.
On 10 minutes Castlehaven were 0-6 to 0-0 up and when Michael Reidy pointed a free for Drom-Broadford it looked a token gesture.
However, the Limerick men settled — Donnelly might have been far away from his programme position of centre-forward but he came into the game, while Derry McCarthy started to carry the ball forward more.
Veteran Jason Stokes also contributed more from the middle of the field, and Drom-Broadford outscored their opponents, four points to one, in the 20 minutes before the break with McCarthy, Reidy and Garrett Noonan all scoring.
All Castlehaven had in response was a Mark Collins free, which left it 0-7 to 0-4 at half time and Drom-Broadford were entitled to feel confident as they had the breeze in the second period.
Castlehaven put down the proverbial marker on the resumption, however. Damien Cahalane — by some distance the outstanding performer on view — surged through and found Stephen Hurley, who blasted over a point when there was a sniff of a goal on offer.
Cahalane held the centre well for Castlehaven as Drom-Broadford tried to build attacks from midfield, and the Cork hurler’s distribution was a key weapon in the Cork side’s armoury.
Still, a Michael Brosnan point for Drom-Broadford made it a three-point game, and Haven had to get keeper Paudie Hurley to give a passable imitation of Stephen Cluxton, the netminder trotting up to nail a free from 40 metres.
Mark Collins (free) and Jason Stokes then swapped points before the turning point, Nolan’s goal. The same man got the decisive goal last Sunday week in the Cork SFC final against Duhallow — surely he’ll get a start the next day?
With Drom-Broadford down to 14 following Boyce’s dismissal, it was a matter of playing out time, and Castlehaven manager James McCarthy will be happy with his side’s clinical approach to their late chances.
They maintained a miserly defensive record, holding their opponents to single figures, while in Damien Cahalane they have a player who can turn defence into attack with a few of those long strides. It will take a good team to stop Haven’s gallop.
Scorers for Castlehaven: M Collins 0-5 (0-4f); B Hurley 0-4; S Nolan 1-0, S Hurley 0-3; A Cahalane, D Hurley and P Hurley (1f) 0-1 each.
Scorers for Drom-Broadford: M Reidy 0-3 (3f); M Brosnan, D McCarthy, J Stokes and G Noonan 0-1 each.
Subs for Castlehaven: S Hurley for R Whelton (24); S Nolan for Burns (38); M Dinneen for A Cahalane (52); S Collins for M Cahalane (56); E Dennehy for S Hurley (59).
Subs for Drom-Broadford: S Buckley for R Lynch (52); K Noonan for M Brosnan (56); M O’Sullivan for B Noonan (59).
Referee: P O’Sullivan (Kerry).