Castletown 3-14, Horeswood 2-11
A 56th-minute Jody O’Shaughnessy goal ultimately nudged Castletown through to their fifth county SFC semi-final within the space of the last six years at the expense of gallant Horeswood at bright Innovate Wexford Park on Sunday.
Reigning intermediate champions Horeswood generated realistic ambitions of making the Dominic Smith Electrical senior championship last-four for the first-time since 2011.
And extra-time certainly appeared to be looming after three PJ Banville points hauled Horeswood back level for the sixth-time in the 55th-minute.
But Castletown never looked back once Brendan Halpin pointed them back in front before Ben Brosnan teed-up Jody O’Shaughnessy for the decisive 58th-minute goal.
A groin injury had robbed Castletown of score merchant Jonathan Bealin, who accumulated 1-20 (0-13 placed-balls) across the five group-games.
A free flowing opening-half saw the lead change hands on no fewer than six occasions, with the scores tied three times.
And the topsy-turvy trend was established from an early stage, as Ben Brosnan pointed Castletown in front in the third-minute, before PJ Banville raced in from the left wing to power Horeswood ahead by 1-0 to 0-1 four minutes in.
But Castletown struck back with a fifth-minute goal from Donnacha Holmes following a neat one-two with Brosnan, and Brosnan tagged on a pointed-free to help transform matters by 1-2 to 1-0.
The twists kept coming though, as PJ Banville latched onto a defensive error to race through for his second goal to inspire the Campile-men to claim a 2-2 to 1-2 advantage despite losing Jamie Myler to an early black-card.
Excitement was simply unrelenting as an inch-perfect Colm Morris pass found Ben Brosnan to finish a 15th-minute goal which aided Castletown to transform things by 2-3 to 2-2.
Horeswood regain the initiative by 2-6 to 2-3 after 23 minutes with peaches from Collie Nolan, Declan Murphy, PJ Banville (free) and Seán Nolan.
Then came a purple-patch for Castletown, as Rory Heffernan, Ben Brosnan and James Holmes restored parity for a third-time after 29 minutes (2-6 apiece), and the books remained balanced on 2-7 each at the break following a late exchange.
Castletown sought to exert a grip on matters when driving clear by 2-11 to 2-8 after 43 minutes courtesy of Ben Brosnan (2), and the Holmes brothers, James and Donnacha.
But Horeswood determinedly got back level on 2-11 apiece with five minutes left after a trio of PJ Banville frees.
That was the sixth-time the sides were level – but it would also prove to be the last occasion.
Indeed, Castletown responded on 56 minutes with a Brendan Halpin point, before adding the clinching-goal when James Holmes sent Ben Brosnan haring in from the right wing and unselfishly locating Jody O’Shaughnessy unmarked at the far post, where O’Shaughnessy roofed the net for a solid 3-12 to 2-11 lead.
Eager Horeswood ensured Castletown had to keep minding their house as the Leigh O’Brien-managed outfit battled to the last.
But the New Ross district men lost Darren Shannon to a dismissal before Castletown copper-fastened victory with a couple of late Ben Brosnan points as Timmy Walsh’s men pulled through for a semi-final showdown against St. Martin’s.
Castletown – Anthony Masterson; Joe Gardiner, Danny Gardiner, Killian Pierce; Colm Morris, Conor Carty, Frank Roche; Rory Heffernan (0-2), Liam Coleman; Donnacha Holmes (1-2), Robbie Brooks, Jody O’Shaughnessy (1-0); Brendan Halpin (0-1), Ben Brosnan (1-7, 0-2 frees), James Holmes (0-2).
Subs: Andy Merrigan for Robbie Brooks (44); Joey Aherne for Danny Gardiner (50); Colin Kennedy for Rory Heffernan (60+3); Richard Farrell for Donnacha Holmes (60+3).
Horeswood – Conor Swaine; Seán Stafford, Barry Hearn, Ryan Harris; Dale Flynn, Johnny Keating, Jack Kehoe; David Larkin, Shane O’Hanlon; Eamonn O’Sullivan, PJ Banville (capt., 2-7, 0-5 frees), Collie Nolan (0-1); Declan Murphy (0-1), Jamie Myler, Seán Nolan (0-2).
Subs: Kevin Parker for Jamie Myler (black-card, 6); Darren Shannon for Eamonn O’Sullivan (49); Gavin Murphy for Barry Hearn (50); Eoin Murphy for Collie Nolan (55).
Referee – James Owens (Kilrush).