Austin Stacks 2-09
Milltown was the scene yesterday in Round 8 of the Credit Union County Senior Football League Division 2 as the hosts took on table toppers Austin Stacks. It seen the return of former boss Wayne Quillinan who managed the team a few years back and reached the Quarter-Finals of a County Senior Football Championship and is now back in charge of his home club Austin Stacks. Milltown/Castlemaine came into the clash on the back of an 11 point win away to Kenmare whilst Austin Stacks came into the game knowing they were already 1st on 13 points & would almost certainly guarantee one of the three promotion spots with a win in a venue that they traditionally have found tricky down the years. A fitting tribute was paid to club stalwart Michael Dennehy prior to throw-in with a minutes silence and also a lovely few words in the match programme to commemorate and honour Mike for his work down the years both in the GAA and the local community.
Great start for Milltown-Castlemaine
Milltown/Castlemaine got off to a rip-roaring start as Donal Dennehy caught the ball from throw-in and pointed fittingly from 30 yards to give the hosts an early advantage. Gavin Horan who was a menace all day to the away sides defence cut through Austin Stacks on the first occasion in the 5th minute and fed attacking half back David Roche who palmed to the net in a composed fashion. Gavin Horan had his first point from Centre-Forward in the 11th minute after once again cutting the Stacks defence to shreds with his lightning pace. Jack McCarthy from an acute angle extended the lead out to 1-3 to 0-0 by the 14th minute with a free from 21 yards before the away side finally got on the scoreboard in the 16th minute when their outstanding forward for the day Darragh O'Brien stood up and pointed to get the away side moving. Shane Carroll who subsequently had to go off at half-time from a pointed effort from play and a brilliant goal from midfielder Greg Horan after a surging run had Austin Stacks right back in the contest by the 20th minute at 1-3 to 1-2. Gavin Horan with another fisted effort which sailed over the posts was replied to in kind by a Darragh O'Brien free to keep matters tight. Donal Dennehy in the 25th minute through a free from 14 yards in the corner seen the hosts climb to 2 points ahead heading towards the interval however Austin Stacks had the final say of the half as Wing-Back Pa McCarthy chipped in with a brilliant score from play to leave Milltown/Castlemaine one point ahead at half-time at 1-5 to 1-4. The impressive Gavin McKenna and Damian Murphy in the full back line for the hosts also deserve creditable mention for numerous turnovers and interceptions all throughout the opening half.
Late frees make the difference
Despite having whatever wind advantage there may have been for the second half, it was the visitors Austin Stacks who emerged from the changing rooms the more energetic and determined of the two sides and tagged on the opening two points of the half to go into the lead for the first time all game by the 37th minute through a Darragh O'Brien '45' and a Ferdia O'Brien pointed effort from play. The home side got off the board for the second period in the 40th minute when Paul Carroll superbly pointed and this was followed in kind by a Shane Murphy left footed effort after Killian Kerins had made the opportunity. The scores were now M/C 1-7 Austin Stacks 1-6. It was effectively two Austin Stacks defenders that turned this game on its head as firstly Jack O'Shea the full-back in the 42nd minute and then the centre-back Ciaran O'Reilly palmed to the net to hit an impressive 1-1 without reply and this also propelled the away side into a 2-7 to 1-7 lead heading into the final period of the encounter. Milltown/Castlemaine to their eternal credit however only rose to this setback and by the 58th minute had matters level again as Jonathan O'Sullivan with 2 frees and a terrific score from Pa Wren seen the sides level at 2-7 to 1-10 heading into a prolonged injury-time period due to injuries. It was a tale of frees in injury time that turned out to be decisively important. Jamie O'Shea for the hosts had an effort which came very close from long range but unfortunately trickled wide, then Darragh O'Brien pointed two efforts for Austin Stacks in the 62nd and 65th minutes from frees to give Austin Stacks a lead of 2-09 to 1-10 and a 2 point advantage which they would ultimately hold on to. Milltown/Castlemaine lined out as follows: C Leane, G McKenna, D Murphy, S Roche, P Carroll (0-1), P Wren (Capt, 0-1), K Carroll, B Delaney, D Dennehy (0-2), D Roche (1-0), G Horan (0-2), K Kerins, J McCarthy (0-1), S Murphy (0-1), J O'Sullivan (0-2) Report courtesy of Dara O'Connor