MURRAY IS KNOCK ACE
Dublin 15 side battle to glory
DUBLIN U15FC ‘A’ FINAL
BALLINTEER ST JOHN’S………………………1-12
CASTLEKNOCK completed an U15 ‘A’ double at Parnell Park on Sunday afternoon, when late points from Conor Murray and Thomas Norton helped them to defeat Ballinteer St John’s in a tense Dublin Football Championship decider.
The Somerton Park outfit claimed the ‘A’ Hurling crown with a win over Ballyboden St Enda’s on October 22, and 17 of that panel were also involved in this encounter.
Their quest for a second title at this grade began in a bright fashion, and after Murray had registered an early point for his side, he coolly kicked beyond the reach of Ballinteer netminder David Reinhardt in the fifth-minute.
This was an early shock to the system for John’s, but thanks to unanswered points by Liam Fenton (two), half-back Jack Lundy and Adam O’Brian, they wiped out the Castleknock lead on 19 minutes.
Ballinteer were playing with the aid of a strong breeze in the opening period, and with Fenton and full-forward Luke Cullen in excellent form, they moved into the ascendancy for the first time.
Fenton, Cullen (0-2) and midfielder Paddy Quinn Glennon ensured that their side hit eight points without reply, and although Castleknock eventually responded through marauding wing-back Norton, Cullen’s third of the half provided John’s with a 0-9 to 1-2 interval cushion.
They were fully aware that Castleknock weren’t out of contention just yet, though, and points from inside forwards PJ Campbell and Mark Connellan cut the gap to the bare minimum after the restart.
‘Knock then received a timely boost on the stroke of 40 minutes when Fionn Gibbons fired to the roof of the Ballinteer net at the end of a fast-paced move, and a successful free by Murray ensured they maintained their momentum.
Ballinteer finally re-discovered their scoring form with back-to-back efforts from Glennon and Cullen, and although Swan secured Castleknock’s third goal after gathering a crossfield delivery from Murray, the excellent Fenton responded at the opposite end with a cool strike past Cian Sheerin.
This set-up a nail-biting conclusion, and traded scores between Glennon and Murray raised the possibility of extra-time.
Yet, Murray (who finished with an impressive tally of 1-4) and Norton put distance between the sides again, and after negotiating their way through nine minutes of stoppage-time – a series of cards for Ballinteer centre-back Liam Smith and ‘Knock duo Gibbons and Daniel Murphy held up the play – the Dublin 15 side ultimately claimed a hard-earned triumph.
Scorers – Castleknock: C Murray 1-4 (0-1f), F Gibbons, L Swan 1-0 each, T Norton 0-2, PJ Campbell, M Connellan 0-1 each. Ballinteer St John’s: L Fenton 1-3, L Cullen 0-4, P Quinn Glennon 0-3 (2f), J Lundy, A O’Brian 0-1 each.
CASTLEKNOCK: C Sheerin; E Carroll, S Forker, M Bohan; T Norton, B Harding, R O’Shea; F Gibbons, O Farrell; D Murphy, C Murray, E McSherry; PJ Campbell, L Swan, M Connellan.
Subs: R Deehan for Campbell (54), Campbell for Murphy, L Callinan for Gibbons (both 69).
BALLINTEER ST JOHN’S: D Reinhardt; L Walsh, B Millist, L O’Shea; F Chambers, L Smith, J Lundy; P Quinn Glennon, R Cullen; A O’Brian, L Fenton, D Murray; C Browne, L Cullen, C Joyce.
Subs: M Lynch for O’Brian (h-t), H Grant for Walsh (39), O Brennan for Browne (42), O Grady for Murray (54).
MENTORS – Castleknock: Johnny Murphy, Paul Harding, Karl Swan. Ballinteer St John’s: Darren Chambers, Rodney Joyce, Colm O’Donnell, Aidan Field.
Referee: Ian Howley (O’Dwyers).
WIDES – Castleknock: 8 (3+5). Ballinteer St John’s: 6 (2+4).
CONDITIONS: Dry and sunny weather, but quite cold as well.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Conor Murray (Castleknock).