1 September 2005 Edition

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Enthralling football at Castlerea

"An Enthralling and impressive display of football" is how one participant described it and while one would be forgiven for thinking they were referring to the Tyrone Versus Dublin match in Croker, they were actually referring to the annual Castlerea Gaelic football blitz.

The second annual Castlerea seven-a-side Gaelic football blitz took place on Saturday 27 August. Teams from West Tyrone Ógra Shinn Féin, Strabane ÓSF, Derry, Limerick and the IRA prisoners in Castlerea all took part. The football match was organised by the prisoners in Castlerea and Ógra Shinn Féin.

Shortly before the throw-in the first match the draw was made -- the IRA prisoners would face Limerick, while Strabane ÓSF would take on Derry. West Tyrone ÓSF got a bye into the next round.

A hard fought first game between Derry and Strabane ÓSF seen Strabane crumble to an impressive Derry side. The next game to take place was the IRA prisoners against a determined Limerick side and once more the match was a tough fought battle. From the display of football put on by the Castlerea camp the advance preparation was obvious.

With Castlerea through to the final they had to wait to find out their opposition. West Tyrone ÓSF played Derry in the semi-final. It was a good game as Derry outpaced their Tyrone counterparts and unlike events in Dublin, the Tyrone team was forced to exit the competition at the semi-final stage. It was a case of déju-vu with a repeat of last year's final between the IRA prisoners and Derry.

Both teams had the determination and desire to lift the Castlerea Cup for 2005. A well-spirited display was a joy to watch with Derry emerging victorious for the second year in a row. Their win came as Tyrone were awarded a place in the All-Ireland Semi-Final after a well-fought game in Croker, however the question was raised as to whether the real football was happening in the east of west of the country.

An Phoblacht
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Dublin 1