2008-League consolation for relegated Caulry

League consolation for relegated Caulry

30 April 2009

Caulry suffered the heartbreak of relegation to the junior ranks for the second time in four years in 2008. However, it wasn't all doom and gloom for the Mount Temple outfit who won the All-County League Division 3 title and also contested county finals at minor and under 14 level.

Caulry's 80th anniversary celebrations turned into something of a nightmare when they were relegated back to the junior ranks following a play-off defeat to Rosemount last October.
It certainly wasn't how the Mount Temple/Ballylin outfit had hoped to mark such a milestone, but after managing just one win in the group stage, they ended up in a relegation battle with their south county rivals who pounced for two fortuitous goals in the opening quarter to run out 2-10 to 1-9 winners.

Having avoided a similar fate by the skin of their teeth in 2007, it's clear that Caulry had been finding the going tough since winning the junior championship in 2006, but few would bet against them bouncing back in the coming season given their wealth of underage talent and the fact that they are the only junior club operating in Division 2 of the All-County League.
"We've yo-yoed between the junior and intermediate championships for much of this decade, and hopefully that trend will continue this year," says Caulry's new chairman Donie Malone.
"We were very disappointed to be relegated last year, it wasn't as if the players weren't putting the effort in. We had 25-30 lads down training every night. We were competitive in all of our games expect for the one against Kilbeggan. With a bit of luck, we could have won two or three games and maybe qualified for the knockout stages. There's a very fine line there.
"The one consolation was that we won Division 3 of the league after an unbeaten campaign. We will be the only junior team plying our trade in Division 2 this year and hopefully that will give us an edge when it comes to the championship."

Donie, whose brother Enda is club secretary, is confident that Caulry can bounce back from last year's relegation heartbreak.
"We did it in 2006 and there is no reason why we can't do it again. All championships are hard won, but I don't think it will be difficult to motivate the lads who believe they are better than junior. Our two goals for the coming year are to get out of junior and develop the squad that's there. We have plenty of talented young lads coming through," he adds.
The tone for the season was set when Caulry lost their opening intermediate championship game to Maryland 1-9 to 1-12 at Moate's Hogan Park. Fresh from their victory in the Celebrity Bainisteoir competition, Maryland produced a solid second half performance to take the spoils after the sides had been on level terms at the interval.

Joe Mulvihill's charges drew first blood when Johnny Dolan set up Alan Carroll for the opening score after two minutes. Maryland battled back to take the lead before points from Carroll and Alan Fitzpatrick had the Mount Temple side back in front. Kieran Martin then goaled for Maryland, but Caulry refused to wilt and regained parity on the stroke of half-time thanks to an Alan Carroll major.
Despite playing into the wind, Caulry resumed with points from Carroll and Nicky Kinnane (two). Trailing by three points, Maryland looked in serious trouble but some astute substitutions had the desired effect as they roared back with six unanswered points to claim victory.

Caulry suffered another narrow defeat to Castletown-Finea/Coole/Whitehall in their second round clash at Shandonagh. The red and whites led 1-2 to 0-3 at the break after Alan Carroll slotted home a penalty late in the half. But within 10 minutes of the restart, the North Westmeath side had levelled through points from Derek Caffrey and Darren McCormack. Ryan Plunkett then put them ahead, only for Alan Carroll to equalise from a free. However, the momentum was with Castletown-Finea and they went on to win 0-9 to 1-4 thanks to late scores from Ronan Doolin and Plunkett.

Caulry secured their only win of the campaign when they withstood a late rally from Ballymore to win 1-11 to 1-10 at Cusack Park. Ballymore made a bright start and led by four points at the end of the first quarter, but an opportunist goal by rising star Robert Kenny brought the Mount Temple men back into it and they had edged into a 1-5 to 0-7 lead by half-time.
The third quarter was closely contested, at the end of which the sides were deadlocked. Crucially, though, Caulry produced a dominant spell in the final 10 minutes, scoring four points in succession to open up a 1-11 to 0-10 lead. But they were left hanging on for victory after Paddy Martin pulled back a goal for Ballymore in injury-time.
The win over Ballymore revived Caulry's hopes of reaching the knockout stages, but a crushing 0-10 to 4-14 defeat to Kilbeggan Shamrocks at Moate left them in a relegation dogfight instead. They led by two points after 10 minutes, but their challenge petered out after Emmett Dalton scored the first of his three goals in the 12th minute.

Kilbeggan went on to establish a commanding half-time lead and the game was long over as a contest when Kenny McMahon fired a fourth goal past Eddie Egan in the closing stages.
An agonising 0-6 to 0-7 defeat to neighbours Moate All-Whites at Tubberclair, combined with Ballymore's surprise victory over Kilbeggan elsewhere, saw Caulry finish bottom of the table on scoring difference and thus face a relegation play-off against Rosemount.
A keenly contested local derby clash saw Caulry take a 0-3 to 0-2 lead into the interval. Moate gradually took control in the second half, however, and led 0-7 to 0-4 when a serious injury to Caulry corner back Mark Malone near the end of normal time resulted in a lengthy stoppage. When play resumed, Joe Mulvihill's charges clawed back two points and almost snatched a sensational victory when Alan Carroll was denied a late goal by Moate 'keeper David Mackey.

Caulry's relegation was confirmed when they lost to Rosemount 1-9 to 2-10 on a bitterly cold October's night at St. Loman's Lakepoint Park. The Mount Temple men contributed to their own downfall by gifting goals to David Malynn and Shane Tone inside the opening quarter.
Trailing by 0-4 to 2-4 at half-time, Caulry had it all to do but they made a dream start to the second half when Peter Smyth's quickly-taken free was bundled into the net by Robert Kenny. However, Rosemount refused to allow their opponents to build up any kind of momentum in the third quarter and calmly played their way back into control with points from Danny Fielding and Declan Mullen.
Rosemount led 2-7 to 1-5 at the start of the final quarter and although Caulry cut the gap to just two points with scores from Alan Carroll, Gary Flanagan and Kenny, the black and ambers outscored them 0-3 to 0-1 in the dying minutes to consign them to junior football in 2009.

In recent years, Caulry have earned a reputation as one of the strongest underage clubs in the county and this was reflected at under 14 and minor level last season. Both teams contested Division 1 finals, only to lose to Mullingar Shamrocks and Maryland/Tang respectively. Caulry could also take encouragement from the fact that they had no fewer than five players - Robert Kenny, Alan Fitzpatrick, Joe McMahon, Declan Donohue and Ciaran Allen - on the Athlone Community College team that captured the Leinster Colleges SFC 'A' title for the first time.

Under the tutelage of Tommy Woods, John O'Connor and Ger Carroll, the under 14s put up a brave showing against Mullingar Shamrocks before succumbing to a 2-7 to 4-11 defeat. The town side led 3-4 to 0-4 at half-time, but Caulry never gave up and second half goals from David Brooks and man of the match Michael McMahon gave Shamrocks plenty to think about.
The Caulry minors, who were managed by Pat Canty, Kevin Connaughton and Richard Higgins, suffered a heartbreaking 1-9 to 0-13 extra-time loss to Maryland/Tang in their Division 1 championship final at Moate. With Robert Ryan in fine scoring form, Caulry led 0-9 to 0-6 with just eight minutes remaining, but two frees from new Westmeath panellist Kieran Martin and a last-gasp Christy Grimes equaliser sent the final to extra-time.

Maryland/Tang surged into a 0-12 to 0-9 lead in the additional period before James Egan finished low to the net to bring the red and whites back onto level terms. But the amalgamation side had the final say when Aidan Burke fired over the match-winning point.
Despite their under 14 and minor final defeats, Malone has nothing but praise for the Caulry's underage structures.
"Our underage teams are as strong as any in the county. They are competing at the highest level and not too many clubs of our size can say that. It was a great achievement for the under 14s and minors to reach county finals, while the under 12s won out their section of the league. I was involved in the management of the under 16 team along with Gary Flanagan and they also had a good year by getting to the championship semi-final."

Donie concludes by saying: "Ger Kelly-Lynch and Joe Roarke give outstanding leadership to our underage committee and it's great to see all their hard work paying off."

The Caulry team which lost the IFC relegation play-off to Rosemount was: Eddie Egan; Damien Dolan, Johnny Buckley, Pat Buckley; Anthony Malone, Alan Rigney, Ben Moran; Gary Flanagan, Conor Allen; Peter Smyth, Cormac Fox, Alan Fitzpatrick; Robert Kenny, Mark Rigney, Johnny Dolan. Subs used: Joe McMahon, Ernie Buckley, Alan Carroll and Barry Malone.

The Caulry team that contested the minor football championship Division 1 final was: Joe McMahon; Ciaran Allen, Kevin Maguire, Andrew Killane; Eoghan Grennan, Declan Donohue, Aidan Murphy; Ben Moran, James Daly; Michael Donohue, James Egan, Alan Fitzpatrick; Anthony Allen, Robert Kenny, Robert Ryan. Subs used: Jason Conlon and Danny Seery.

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