Portumna lay down a marker for 2014 championship

A host of teams were hoping Portumna might be a little tired or a bit sated by their recent All-Ireland success and not too keen on the upcoming county championship. Perhaps, they would not be too pushed about retaining the Tom Callanan Cup for the coming year?

However they looked nothing like a team that believes it has won enough, when they hit 1-29 over the 60 minutes against Castlegar last Sunday evening at Kenny Park.

Castlegar also hit a big tally and shot 1-19, but still found themselves 10 points in arrears at the final whistle.

To hit 30 scores (1-29 ) in 60 minutes is stunningly efficient and there are very few teams in the country with the firepower to average a score for every two minutes of championship action.

In fact, the Portumna men really kept the umpires busy in the first half, and led by 1-18 to 1-8 at the small whistle.

Unsurprisingly Joe Canning was a key part of that total of 1-29 and the county captain hit 0-12 (0-9 frees ) from midfield.

His accomplices in chief were Ronan O' Meara at full-forward with 1-4, Damien Hayes with five points, and Kevin Hayes who also notched three scores.

Castlegar who are again under the guidance of John McIntyre this season did put up a good fight to the All-Ireland champions, however the loss of the influential Dean Higgins seven minutes before half-time to a red card from Alan Kelly for a wild pull did their chances of a shock result a lot of damage.

To be fair to the city team, they hurled with great determination and commitment in the third quarter and outscored their more illustrious opponents by 0-11 to 0-4 to narrow the gap to only four points.

Team captain Ger Farragher was to the fore at that stage and he hit 0-11 from placed balls over the hour.

However, the Shannonsiders do not do panic and they reasserted their control with points from Oisín Royston, Damien Hayes, Joe Canning and O' Meara to run out comfortable winners.

The win did come at a cost though and county midfielder Andy Smith had to be replaced injured in the first ten minutes.

Despite this defeat Castlegar can build on good displays for the second round from Kevin Brady, Donal McGreal, Tomas Mannion, Mairtín Cullinane, Ger Farragher and goal scorer Enda Concannon.

They will not be facing a team of Portumna's quality every day and 1-19 would be enough to win a lot of games.


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