Castlegar v Portumna, Athenry 20th May 2012. While Cashel registered the first point in this Group B encounter, it was Portumna who had the better start. They made full use of the breeze and led by 0:06 to 0:03 midway through the first half. Castlegar worked very hard, especially in defence where they managed to restrict Portumna's goal chances, although they rode their luck at times, most notably when a Joe Canning penalty came back off the crossbar. Joe also chipped in with a trademark point from a sideline cut.  At the other end Castlegar managed to keep the score board ticking over. But for all their hard work the gap widened with the score 0:11 to 0:04 by half time. The team should be proud of their second half performance, they really stuck to their task and worked even harder than they had in the first. Portumna were clearly feeling the pressure, with Joe Canning uncharacteristically missing frees, and some yellow cards being dished out after heated exchanges in the Castlegar large square. Castlegar out scored their opponents in the second half, but Portumna managed to keep them at arms length and ran out deserving winners with a full time score of 0:19 to 0:14.

It was far from a flawless performance from Castlegar, for example they could have shown more awareness for Portumna puck outs, after all it's no secret the short puckout is a favoured tactic of theirs. Overall though Castlegar can take many positives from this performance. Portumna played with impressive touch and cohesion and many teams would have folded under the constant pressure they exerted. But Cashel showed no respect for their reputation, took the game on it's merits and finished strongly. In fairness to their mentors the team were well prepared and motivated and fitness was not an issue. They clearly took confidence from the Kiltormer victory and built on that performance, if they can continue improve as they have done so far they have every chance against Kinvara and Craughwell and will fancy their chances of joining Portumna in the knockout stages. They were certainly well worth the price of admission and the strong following will increase if they continue to play like this.

Below are a few photos from the game. Keep an eye on our fixtures page, details of the next game will be posted there as soon as it is confirmed.

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