Disgraceful scenes marred the end of this senior hurling quarter final replay which Castlegar won on Sunday at Pearse Stadium. The violence erupted just on the final whistle when a Carnmore substitute came onto the field and hit an umpire. Within minutes the place was in uproar as the fighting spread and later continued in three or four different areas of the field.
Particularly noticeable was one berserk Carnmore forward who ran around indiscrimately hitting people with his hurley. And the more frustrated in his efforts the angrier became his wild attempts to do someone, anyone some serious injury. His principle target was the umpire who disallowed one Carnmore goal midway through the second half when Castlegar were leading by twelve points. Later it looked as if he would disallow another and it was this which clearly angered the Carnmore supporters on the sideline.
Immediately the whistle blew the real action began. A Carnmore substitute wearing a purple blazer ran on to the field. And without further ado struck the umpire in the stomach full force with his hurley. Other blows were aimed and at this stage the man was on the ground. From then on the picture became even more confused with supporters from the sideline coming onto the field to form a ring around the umpire.
But still the trouble continued and the savagery increased when a second Carnmore player launched his vicious attack on all and sundry. His antics were fully lunatic and such was his mood that even the Carnmore officials realized the futility of trying to calm him down.
Instead they with one noticeable exception who also went barmy concentrated on other players who at times also looked like going off the deep end. That they didn't was entirely due to their selectors despite this the fact still remains that it was entirely their own trio who caused all the trouble.
Carnmore's reply will be that they were denied victory by an umpire who made a questionable decision at a vital time in the game. That may be so but it hardly entitles two substitutes - one was brought on into the forward line in the second half - and an official to go "mad".
Carnmore themselves must take action on the matter and at their next club meeting they should be tasked before the selectors to explain their behavior. Also examining their conscience should be the West Board officials who were out in force for this game at their Salthill headquarters. And they must agree that they too must share some part of the blame for Sunday. They had nothing to do with the trouble but were lacking in some ways. In saying that it's easy to be wise after the event we must point out that too many people were allowed onto the field before the game.
Their contribution to the fiasco was that by their sheer numbers they made the trouble seem more confused and widespread than it actually was. Until the trouble started Sunday's offering was one of the least exciting quarter final games ever played in the county! Hurling was always poor and only for the brilliance of Ted Murphy for the winners the evening would have been one long bore. Mainly responsible for the poor fare were Carnmore who never looked like winning even when they were whittling away at Cashel's lead.
In Padraic Fahy they should have had a match winner but instead the inter county star proved in unbelievable liability with his tactics. That he scored an impressive goal from a twenty yards free in the opening half but unfortunately it blunted his usual astuteness. Spurred on by this success he continually had shots for goals from most frees instead of taking the points which would have given his team victory.
According to my calculation Carnmore could have won this game by five points had the right full forward converted only the "easy" frees. That he didn't must be greatly appreciated by the winners who have shown remarkable form in reaching the semi-final without shining star John Connolly. Since his departure for America they have played their best hurling in two years with Ted Murphy now supplying all the best play.
Against Carnmore he was in unbelievable form and at this time he seems a certainty to be selected as the county's hurler of the year. In the first half he played so commandingly cool that nobody was much surprised when he sent an eighty yard free straight between the posts. This came in the twenty fourth minute when the winners were leading by 3-4 to 1-2 thanks to some play from their midfield pairing. Here the Glynns, Tom and Gerry, succeeding in getting the upper hand and as a result the forwards got plenty of chances, some of which they wasted.
However, after six minutes left full forward Paddy Glynn was bang on target when he rounded of a twenty yard run with a rising shot to the net. Two minutes later Cashel were further ahead when this time Tommy Glynn scored a good point from fully fifty yards in front of goal. By the fifteenth, minute the winners were in full flight and now leading by 2-2 to 1-0 thanks to a Paddy Egan goal three minutes earlier.
In this opening quarter Carnmore who played in very subdued mood through just couldn't get into their usual game. After four minutes they had a chance of going ahead when Michael Greaney passed to Padraic Fahy who rather carelessly hit the ball wide. In the eleventh minute came the first of Fahy's specials which never came off. His scorching free was cleared easily enough. Then in the fourteenth minute the goal which should have put new life into the losers. But unfortunately there was no psychological boost from Padraic Fahy's goal.
Despite this though two points followed before half time, first a Sean Murphy "70" resulted in Jimmy Duggan getting a point and then Fahy pointed. But back came Castlegar in most convincing form with a goal in the very first minute of the second half which put them ahead by 4-5 to 1-2. Then it was Carnmore's turn again and in the next ten minutes they played the sort of hurling which could have won them the match. A free in front of goal for a foul on Jimmy Hughes was once again squandered by Padraic Fahy and this should have foreshadowed doom for the losers.
However, on they plodded and in the third minute came the controversial goal which the umpire disallowed after consultation with his fellow opposite. The bitterness was short lived though as Michael Greaney teamed up beautifully with his forwards for a goal by Fergus Madden. Next came a Jimmy Duggan point and then came the boob of the match and possibly the best booster for Castlegar as Padraic Fahy missed another free. From then on it was plain sailing with Cashel strengthening their lead and going ahead by further goals and points before the end.
Final point: The score line shows that the winners had only three points to spare at the end but this is highly flattering to Carnmore. For at no time did they play the way they can. For them too many players were out of form at a time when their help was needed most. In the Cashel team goalie Tony Gavin had a fine hour making some good saves before he too was attacked near the end of the game. In front of him corner backs, Stephen Francis and Alfie Cooney were unbeatable form as was the incomparable Ted Murphy at centre half back.
At midfield showed the Glynn brothers up far better than their opposite numbers and in the forwards Michael Connolly, Declan Furey, Paddy Glynn and Paddy Egan were best. Outstanding player to my mind, in the loser's side was the goalie Paddy Walsh who time after time saved his side further embarrassment and in the back line Sean Murphy, especially in the second half, was in great form as was midfielder Jimmy Duggan later on in the game. Of the forwards only Michael Greaney, Padraic Fahy and Jimmy Hughes could compare with Tommy Madden who turned in a really top class hour.