2006-Caulry bounce back

Caulry bounce back

28 February 2007

Caulry made an instant return to the intermediate ranks by capturing their second junior football championship in four years last October. And just as in 2002, there was no shortage of drama along the way.

Just a year after they endured the heartbreak of relegation, Caulry bounced back in the best possible fashion by winning the junior football championship for a sixth time and, in doing so, securing their ticket back to the intermediate ranks.
When the Mount Temple/Baylin outfit last claimed the Hugh Daniels Cup in 2002, they came from nine points down with less than 10 minutes remaining to record a sensational semi-final victory over St. Paul’s. Last year’s final against Milltown was equally as dramatic with Caulry once again performing a late Houdini act to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Having led for the majority of the game, Caulry looked to be facing bitter disappointment when Milltown – who were also relegated in 2005 – took the lead for the first time in the third minute of injury-time. But with injury-time elapsed, former county minor star Gary Flanagan rose highest to punch Mark Fitzpatrick’s high centre to the net and give Caulry a stunning 1-9 to 1-7 victory.

A delighted Caulry manager Aidan Dunning insisted afterwards that he never thought the game was gone from his side.
“I have told the lads in team talks that I believe in them and if they had half of that belief they would win because they never gave up and would always keep going until the final whistle,” he said.
“It was a big blow last year to be relegated and when the club was down there were quite a few knockers around, but the lads picked themselves up and worked hard during the year. It wasn’t easy and we didn’t have a good start to the season, but it came good in the end and I am so delighted for the panel.

“They took a lot of criticism and if you look at the great Meath teams and their never-say-die attitude, didn’t we show it today? Other teams would have thrown in the towel but we kept going until we got the winner and I have no doubt that the future is bright for those lads.”
Back in 2002, Caulry were crowned junior champions on the back of 10 straight championship wins and averaged just short of 20 points a game. Their path to glory wasn’t nearly as smooth last season and many observers had written off their chances after they slumped to an eight-point defeat to St Paul’s in their third outing of the group series.

But they recovered impressively from that setback and after avenging their earlier defeat to St. Paul’s at the penultimate stage, they displayed admirable battling qualities in the final to claim the Hugh Daniels Cup and add to their previous junior title wins in 1935, ’44, ’57, ’90 and 2002. No doubt their goal for 2007 will be to fare much better in the intermediate championship than they did when they were last promoted and perhaps end a 22-year wait for honours in that grade. But that’s all for another day.

Under the management of club stalwart and former county player Dunning, and his co-selectors James Casey, TJ Dunning and Padraig Killane, Caulry had to be content with a 0-10 to 1-7 draw from their opening championship game against Ballycomoyle. They secured their first win on June 11 when they comfortably accounted for Loughnavalley by 2-12 to 1-3.

That was followed by a 0-8 to 1-13 defeat to St. Paul’s which appeared to have dealt a severe blow to their championship aspirations. But they put that disappointment behind them to record back-to-back victories over Delvin (3-12 to 3-3) and St. Fintan’s/Multyfarnham (2-12 to 0-11). A 0-9 to 1-6 draw with Milltown in their final group match – Milltown levelled with the last kick of the game - saw them finish third in the group with eight points and thus qualifying them for the knock-out stages.

St. Loman’s provided the quarter-final opposition at Ballymore and inspired by the free-scoring Alan Carroll, Caulry coasted to a 4-11 to 0-7 victory. Carroll produced the scoring performance of the championship by helping himself to a whopping 4-2, with all four of his goals coming in the second half.
In a scrappy opening period, Johnny Dolan, Peter Smith, Nicky Killane and Carroll were all on target as Caulry went into the break with a 0-5 to 0-3 lead. The major talking point of the half was the dismissal of Caulry half forward Mark Malone and St. Loman’s corner back Jonathan Acton following an altercation in the 22nd minute.

The Mount Temple men resumed with points from Peter Smyth and Alan Carroll before the latter grabbed the first of his four goals in the 39th minute. The floodgates opened after that with a fine Damien Dolan point being followed by Carroll’s second goal. Killane and Ernie Buckley then combined to set up the Caulry full forward for his hat-trick and he completed the rout with a fourth major before the end.

Aidan Dunning’s charges needed two attempts to overcome a dogged St. Paul’s side in the semi-final. Neither game caught the imagination with scores proving difficult to come by on both days.

Caulry made the brighter start to the drawn encounter at St. Loman’s with Mark Malone, Alan Carroll and Anselm Fitzgerald landing the first three points. Philip Gilsenan eventually opened St. Paul’s account in the 20th minute and they were back on level terms within six minutes thanks to further efforts from Johnny McGuinness and Dara Brady. But the south county outfit responded with a goal from Johnny Dolan, and Fitzgerald added a point to give them a 1-4 to 0-3 interval lead.

The Clonmellon side dominated the third quarter and had reduced the deficit to the minimum, 0-7 to 1-5, with five minutes remaining. St. Paul’s player/manager Pat Clancy then marked his arrival into the fray with the equalizing point, only for Mark Fitzpatrick to restore Caulry’s slender advantage. But Clancy again came to St. Paul’s rescue and the game ended level, 1-6 to 0-9.

The replay took place eight days later at Cusack Park as a curtain-raiser to the senior hurling final between Raharney and Castletown-Geoghegan. It wasn’t unlike the drawn game with Caulry fading badly after a bright first half showing. Anselm Fitzgerald kicked two early points for the red and whites before Johnny McGuinness responded with a double for St. Paul’s.
Darren Henry put the Clonmellon lads ahead in the 10th minute but the rest of the half belonged to Caulry who scored six unanswered points to lead by 0-8 to 0-3 at half-time. The impressive Mark Fitzpatrick brought them level before further scores from Fitzgerald, Peter Smyth, Johnny Dolan, Anthony Malone and Fitzgerald left them firmly in the driving seat.

St. Paul’s made a perfect start to the second half when substitute Stephen Reilly goaled at the second time of asking to bring them back into contention. The game was there for the taking but St. Paul’s went another 14 minutes without scoring, by which time Peter Smyth had ended a 26-minute scoring drought for Caulry to leave them three points clear.
A brace of Darren Henry points ensured a tense finish, but three minutes into injury-time, Cormac Fox slotted over to seal a far from impressive 0-10 to 1-5 victory for the Mount Temple side.

Thankfully, the final was a vastly superior contest which saw both teams really going for it. Caulry dictated the early exchanges with points from Johnny Dolan, Peter Smyth (two), Cormac Fox and Mark Malone easing them into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead. Milltown reacted by bringing full forward Fergal Reilly out to midfield and the switch had the desired effect as they fought back to draw level at half-time, 1-3 to 0-6. The goal was scored by Declan Rooney after referee Sean Sheridan had awarded a disputed sideline ball to the Milltown men.

Team captain Smyth restored Caulry’s lead within 30 seconds of the restart, but Milltown levelled again through Willie Keegan eight minutes later. Further points from Smith and Ernie Buckley put Caulry two clear but in the closing stages, Stephen Somers, Joe Kenny and Keegan all found the range to put Milltown in front for the first time.
But in one final desperate effort, Caulry attacked down the left wing. Alan Carroll found Mark Fitzpatrick and his probing high ball into the centre was punched to net by big Gary Flanagan to spark unbridled scenes of joy among the Mount Temple faithful.

The Caulry team which captured the JFC title was: Edward Egan; Damien Dolan, Johnny Buckley, Brian Mullarney; Ernie Buckley, Jody Malynn, Anthony Malone; Gary Flanagan, Peter Smyth; Mark Malone, Mark Fitzgerald, Anselm Fitzgerald; Cormac Fox, Nicky Killane, Johnny Dolan. Subs used: Alan Carroll, Willie Buckley and Colm Fox. 
Caulry secure junior treble

Caulry completed a clean sweep of junior football titles on their home pitch of Mount Temple on January 21 last when they added the junior league and cup to the junior championship they won in such dramatic circumstances in October.
In what was a repeat of the championship decider, the Mount Temple/Baylin side defeated Milltown by 2-7 to 2-3 in a game which was the junior league and cup finals rolled into one. Milltown were keen to avenge their heartbreaking championship loss, and settled into the game quicker than their opponents. However, poor delivery into their forwards allowed Caulry off the hook on a number of occasions in the opening 10 minutes.

Eventually, corner forward Michael Dillon opened the scoring in the 12th minute, but Anselm Fitzgerald had the home side on level terms from a close-in free within two minutes. Johnny Dolan then edged Caulry in front before Fitzgerald added his second point.
After Patrick Gavigan had reduced the deficit to the minimum, Caulry made a decisive breakthrough when Gary Flanagan flicked Mark Rigney’s lengthy free into the path of Fitzgerald who duly dispatched the ball to the net from 13 metres. Fitzgerald slotted over another free after that to leave Caulry ahead by 1-4 to 0-2 at the break.

Milltown had a goal disallowed early in the second half and Stephen Somers had a powerful shot tipped onto the crossbar by Caulry goalkeeper Eddie Egan. A Milltown goal at that stage would have really brought the game to life, but Aidan Dunning’s charges survived and they extended their lead through the unerring Fitzgerald.

Leading by 1-6 to 0-2, Caulry then sealed victory in the 53rd minute when substitute Pat Buckley and Johnny Dolan combined to set up Nicky Killane for their second goal. Anselm Fitzgerald’s sixth point and only one from play left Caulry 11 clear, but to their credit, Milltown never gave up and a brace of late goals from Damien Gunning and Willie Keegan helped to put a more respectable look on the final score.

The Caulry team which captured the junior league and cup was: Eddie Egan; Damien Dolan, Johnny Buckley, Brian Mullarney; Colm Fox, Jody Malynn, Anthony Malone; Nicky Killane, Gary Flanagan; Anselm Fitzgerald, Mark Fitzpatrick (captain), Mark Malone; Willie Buckley, Mark Rigney, Johnny Dolan. Subs used: Pat Buckley and Brian Muldoon. 

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