Sunday last marked the beginning of Milltown/Castlemaine's 2018 Intermediate Football Championship journey with a trip to Castleisland to take on North Kerry side Brosna in the opening game of the group, which will also see Milltown/Castlemaine take on Kilcummin (Next weekend) and Glenbeigh/Glencar in two weeks time to determine who will top the group and qualify for the Semi-Final. Today's encounter was played in both wet and windy conditions which made it difficult for both teams to play open attacking football. M/C lined out without some players as Shane Murphy, Alan Hickey, Jeremiah Hayes, David Roche, Jonathan O'Sullivan and Donal Kelleher were all unavailable. Milltown/Castlemaine played with a very strong breeze to their backs in the first half and dominated the early proceedings taking the lead inside three minutes with Killian Kerins opening the scoring with a well taken point from play. Brosna sharpshooter Tom McGoldrick, who would go on to score 0-05 of Brosna's 1-07 (4 from Frees) squared things up in the fifth minute. This was to be as good as it got for the North Kerry men as they went a period of 20 minutes before they would register a point on the scoreboard again. During this spell, Milltown/Castlemaine hit a purple patch and scored 1-03 without reply through 3 Jack McCarthy points (2 Frees, 1 from play) and an opportunistic goal by Donal Dennehy after the Brosna keeper failed to deal with a long ball into the square from a Jack McCarthy effort. Milltown/Castlemaine led 1-04 to 0-01 heading towards the interval, however they would go through a dry spell also as they would fail to score again for 37 minutes which was crucial come the end. Brosna knocked in 1-03 without reply between the 24th and 30th minutes with scores from Tom McGoldrick (0-2), Don McAuliffe (0-1) and a Kieran O'Donnell goal which was deflected beyond Cormac Leane after a high ball into the square wasn't dealt with. Four wides from Milltown/Castlemaine in the first half would prove costly when the game was in the melting pot towards the end. Brosna went into the break the happier of the two sides knowing wind advantage would be with them for the second half. HT: Brosna 1-04 Milltown/Castlemaine 1-04
Tight Second Half
The second half turned out to be fascinating and no less exciting as both sides threw everything at one another in the hope of claiming an important victory. There would only be five scores in this half so each one would prove highly significant. Two Brosna wides in the opening minutes were followed by a dangerous Tom McGoldrick free from distance which dropped short and nearly ended up in the net as Don McAuliffe swung on a loose ball. Danger eventually was averted. Brosna took the lead for the first time of the match in the 40th minute through a splendid McGoldrick free with the outside of his boot from 45 yards and it proved to be a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Two further scores in the 45th and 50th mins through McGoldrick and a long distance super strike from wing back Timmy Finnegan pushed the lead out to three at 1-07 to 1-04 approaching the final quarter. M/C were reduced to 14 men before McGoldrick's pointed free as Jack McCarthy received a Red Card (Black and Yellow = Red) for hauling down Kieran O'Donnell when through on goal.
One point separates the teams
M/C turned to the bench and sprung Mike Burke, Damian Murphy & Derek Twiss in place of Jamie O'Shea, Killian Kerins and Jerome Flynn respectively. Pointed frees from Cathal Moriarty and Derek Twiss in the 53rd and 57th mins from 14 yards cut the deficit back to the minimum at 1-07 to 1-06 for M/C but try as they might they couldn't manufacture the equaliser despite having two frees in injury time. One dropped short and one flew marginally wide. Brosna tried to seal the win on the counter with an insurance score but McGoldrick seen a late free drift wide. FT: Brosna 1-07 Milltown/Castlemaine 1-06 Milltown/Castlemaine may look back with regret at a few wides, the fact they didn't make more use of a strong wind advantage in the 1st half, the fact that they failed to score for a large spell between both halves or the reality that they only registered 0-02 against the wind during the 2nd half (Brosna tagged on 1-04 against the breeze) but they can also look and say they might have got a late draw or maybe even a win on another day.