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Castlewellan GAC Notes
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* It is with great sadness that we open this week’s notes with the sad news of the passing of Pat Rodgers former Player, Manager, Chairman, Trustee, President of our Club and brother of our current Club President Kevin Rodgers.

Pat was Castlewellan through and through and had a life-long association with our Club. He was the first man who lived in “The Town” to bring home an All-Ireland medal to the Club when he was part of the Panel when the Down team beat Warwickshire in the Junior Championship Final at Croke Park in 1946. He shared his memories of that time when he recalled how he and his team mates had to billet in the old St Colman’s Hall in Newry for a week before that final where they bedded down on the floor for the night.

He spoke of the primitive showering facilities of the time and how they trained before that game. Pat won a Senior Championship Medal with ‘The Ford’ in 1941. The Town had folded in 1938. When we reformed in 1942 Pat was straight back up the road again to join up with his home town again. He had hung up his boots by the time his brothers Jim and Kevin came on the senior scene. His Club loyalty never faltered after his playing days when he joined the club committee and immersing himself in the administration duties and managing club teams.

In 1969 he became Club Chairman where along with others set the seeds for the modernisation of our club. He remained in the post until 1973. During that time a lot of the major decisions were taken about the redeveloping of St Malachy’s Park and the opening of the new social club. He held the position of Trustee until the early nineties. He was honoured as our Hall of Fame recipient in 1982. This reflected the measure of the great man and the esteem that the generation of before during and after 1982 held him in.

In deed he was given the honour of Club President in 2003. He held this post until 2005. On St Patrick’s Day that year he had the honour of unveiling our Centenary Plaque. Above all that he did for our club he was a family man, a loving husband and father. To his wife Sheila, Son Paul and daughter in-law Caroline we offer you our deepest sympathy and condolences on your loss.  We also offer our sympathies to his brothers Club President Kevin and John on their loss.

Ar dheis de go raibh a anam dilis.

* The Under-21 Footballers recorded a very good win against a fancied Clonduff side last Monday night under lights at the Dublin Road. Differing Club events determined the timing of this game on what was a very cold night. However it has to be said that the tempo and intensity both teams played at was a credit to both clubs and it kept all who was there well entertained writes Michael McClean.

The game was nip and tuck. Whilst there was poor handling at times this was not helped by the slippery wet conditions. The lead changed several times in the first half. The Town lost Matthew Stratton to injury. He did have a worthy replacement in Niall McKibben. The Town led 0-3 to 0-1 when Clonduff found the net in the ninth minute and tagged on points in quick succession. The Town responded well with points from David Gimore & Caolam Brogan and a goal from Sean Dornan. This left the Town a point up at the break. The Clonduff keeper did his job well in the first half with three other gaoling efforts thwarted by his agility.

Clonduff started the second half in whirlwind style tagging on four points without reply between 34th and 40th Minute. During this time Michael Cunningham kept the Town in the game with a great save of his own. The game was threatening to pull away from The Town. They dug in and added to the scoreboard between 44th minute and 57th minute with points from Niall McKibben (0-2) David Gilmore (0-2) and Collie Devlin (0-1) to lead by a single point.

A well worked last minute goal was the crowning of the performance when Mickey Gilmore finished great passing move to the net. There were great performances all round but credit must go to Paddy Boyle at midfield who put in a sterling hour’s work. They then travelled to Tullylish on Sunday past in their final game of the season. There was a little directional trouble for Captain Collie Devlin. His sat-nav took him to Lurgan! He finally arrived on time to make up the fifteen band of brothers and cousins who took to the field. There were the Corrigan’s, the Gilmore’s, the Hardy’s and the Dornan’s. The Town started well with the Gilmores combining with Mickey finishing to the net. The lads were playing great football with Paddy Boyle and Caolan Brogan strong at midfield. Tullylish scored a great goal mid way through the half to keep in touch with the Town going in a point up at half time. The wet down side scored from the penalty spot after half time to give them a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

The Town rallied well but a heavy pitch and a lack of subs and meant tired limbs with our hosts finishing strong to win 2-13 to 1-12. There were great performances from Michael Cunningham, Aidan Dornan, Rory Burns and Pairic hardy in defence. Up front Niall McKibben and David Gilmore were always dangerous scoring 5 points a-piece. They were well supported by Tiarnan Hardy and Gerard Keown. All the older players played their hearts out also with Collie Devlin controlling the centre of defence. A real family affair with four sets of brothers and three sets of cousins. Well done to all the lads who put in an effort for the management team. It is a difficult time of year to be playing football and it is even harder for the coaches who put a lot of effort in. Thank you to everyone who done their bit for the team.

* The Winter Fun Coaching commenced on Monday Night of last week with a fantastic turnout of over 120 children from Primary 1 to Primary 7. Thank you to Paddy Hardy, Maurice O’Neill and the Bunscoile for their help in advertising the programme. Our thanks also to Paddy Hardy and Aidan Rodgers who put together the Programme and to all the coaches who are helping out on a Monday evening. We encourage and welcome as many parents as possible help with the coaching. The programme will continue on Monday Night and even if you have missed the first two sessions please feel free to still come along and join in. The times are as follows; P1 to P4 6.00pm to 7.00pm and P5 to P7 7.00pm to 8.00pm.

* It is always good to play in a game where it is end to end, heart on your sleeve stuff. It is a different matter watching it. Of course you see the game from your own team’s point of view. On Saturday afternoon past Castlewellan and Liatriom Fontenoys served up a real treat to us all in the Under 13 B Championship Final in Ballykinlar. The young lads from both teams gave it their all. In the early part of the game both side exchanged scores and understandably they both played nervously. The game was at 0-4 to 0-3 to The Fontenoys when they despatched two goals in quick succession from their full forward.

This put daylight between the two teams. The Town young lads were rocked at this stage while their opponents played attractive football and adding further scores leaving a 10 point gap in it at half time. It would have been easy to tell the lads to just go out and do their best in the second half with no expectation of recovering a large deficit. Well the young town lads had one thing in them which brought them back into this game, one large dollop of pride. They didn’t lie down.

Four unanswered points at the beginning of the second half brought them within 6 points. The Fontenoys stopped the rot with a score of their own but back came our lads again. Two more points then cancelled out by two from The Fontenoys kept our lads at bay. Then the frenetic last 7 minutes. Two points brought the Town lads within 4 points. Then the all important goal for the Town. Game on! The Town attacked ferociously, The Fontenoys defended heroically. The Town had further chances but it wasn’t to be. Our neighbours held on for the win. It was a great game and very sporting. Yes the lads were extremely disappointed and that disappointment will serve them well. They tried hard but on this occasion it was the Fontenoys day. Congratulations to them. No names of players have been mentioned here.

It would be unfair to leave anyone out. This was a team performance and although a losing one it was one which they all played their part with pride. Thank you to Mickey McVeigh, Conor Fitzpatrick, Mark Stratton and Harry Toner for all their work with the boys. Ballykinlar and East Down really made this an occasion for the boys from both teams and they are to be congratulated for doing so.

* Congratulations to St Patrick’s Grammar School in Downpatrick who won The Ulster Colleges Casement Cup Hurling Final on Thursday night past with a great win at Pairc Esler against Rathmore Grammar. Our two club men cousins’ Paraic Hardy and Sean Hardy played their part in what was a famous victory for the school. A lot of work has been done at St Patrick’s in Hurling and this is the fruits of their labour. It is also a vindication of the coaches in Castlewellan and it is rewarding to see that their assistance has helped in our lads’ development. Well done to Pairic & Sean.

* A reminder that the Annual General Meeting of St Malachys GAC Castlewellan will take place on Thursday 29 November 2012 at 8pm in The Social Club. .

* The Castlewellan Come Dancing is just under a fortnight away and there are tickets still available for the first night which is 24 November. Tickets on sale every Sunday Night from 9pm.

* Castlewellan AC athletes are running on a Tuesday and Thursday night. They leave from the club at 7 pm. It will not be long before the 2013 Spring Lake comes round so it is time to get in shape for it.

* The second of our three monthly draws took place last Saturday. You can find the full list of winners on our club website at www.castlewellangac.com. The last draw will take place on Saturday 22 December 2012. Can all ticket sellers please ensure that all monies are collected in advance of the final draw.

* The numbers in this week’s lotto were 6, 7, 10, 19. There were no jackpot winners and two £20 winners. They were; Teddy Rice and Niall McCabe. Jackpot next week is £2550