Sat nav systems pointed skywards and mobile phones bounced from mast to mast, as the men from the Continent travelled in a convoy in search of a pitch, nestled into the Slieve Bloom mountains. In the end, modern technology was ditched for the auld reliable - as windows were rolled down to allow reassuring locals point the way. It’s safe to say that our boys are not likely to travel to the Glens of Antrim any time soon – for fear that some of them are never seen again!
Billy Leydon started 2014 in much the same way he had ended the previous year – by being first to the ball, ahead of his man and turning neatly to strike a sweet score - within thirty seconds of the start. Mark Bergin saw Billy’s point and raised it with a beauty of his own. Paddy Cantwell then set the tempo for a dominant opening OLG quarter. His surging run culminated in a bone crunching shoulder that left his opponent flattened. Paddy then duly sent the sliotar straight and true between the uprights. What a score!
It wasn’t long before O’Loughlins had raced into a five point lead. Credit must go to Slieve Bloom though – they then established a foothold in the game and hit the St John’s Parish boys for six without reply to take command. Leaders were needed now and Mark Bergin made a forty yard dash into the heart of his own defence to block down and thwart another Castletown attack. The rallying call had been sounded and Mark had laid down the marker. The OLG tackle rate intensified – Davy Burke and Jack Nolan were to the fore when it came to blocking and hooking and it was our boys who would finish the half stronger. Six points were dispatched – the pick of them being a Conor Bergin special, aided and abetted by some great work from that man – Jason Quan. Martin Gibbons was introduced to bolster the defence and OLG saw out the half with a deserved four point advantage.
H/T Castletown Slieve Bloom 0-07, O’Loughlin Gales 0-11
The second half saw more substitutions. Alan Geoghegan, Danny Lenehan and John Doyle all made their presence felt. Castletown had managed to narrow the gap to two points up to midway through the second thirty. However, O’Loughlins finished the half strongly and standout points from Mark Bergin, Brian Dowling, Danny Lenehan, John Doyle and Jack Nolan were to prove decisive in the end. The Continent ran out what proved to be - comfortable six point winners. OLG’s next game was due to be a home tie with Ballyboden St Enda’s from Dublin on Sat 8th March next. However, Ballyboden have regrettably withdrawn from the tournament. The Continent’s next match will now be away to Buffers Alley in Wexford on Saturday 22nd March. Throw-in will be 4:00 p.m.
F/T Castletown Slieve Bloom 0-15, O’Loughlin Gaels 0-21
Stephen Murphy, Brian Murphy, Eoghan Grant, Paddy Cantwell 0-1, Jack Nolan 0-1, Eddie Kearns, Jason Quan, Paddy Butler 0-1, Davy Burke, Mark Bergin 0-10 (7 f’s), Niall Bergin, Conor Bergin 0-3, Billy Leydon 0-1, Brian Dowling 0-1, Sam Johnston 0-1 Subs used: Martin Gibbons, Alan Geoghegan, Danny Lenehan 0-1, John Doyle 0-1