CASTLEKNOCK HOLD ‘B’ EDGE
Somerton men prevail in tight minor decider
DUBLIN MFC ‘B’ FINAL
CASTLEKNOCK produced a committed second half display at O’Toole Park on Sunday to claim the Dublin Minor ‘B’ Football Championship title by the slenderest of margins.
Trailing Lucan Sarsfields by two points (1-7 to 0-8) on 35 minutes, ‘Knock dug deep to force themselves back into contention. The subsequent dismissal of Lucan wing-back Cathal Shanahan provided them with extra leeway in the closing moments of a low-scoring contest and they held off a late surge from their opponents to secure this second-tier title.
This was a hard game to predict on paper as both sides enjoyed unbeaten runs to the final. Lucan got the better of Thomas Ashe at the semi-final stage on November 18 (2-12 to 0-11), while ‘Knock were also emphatic in their own last-four encounter with St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh on the same day – 3-14 to 2-7.
Despite falling behind to early points from opposition half-forwards Mark Lavin and Colm Walsh, ‘Knock quickly restored parity through Cian Boyle and Darragh Warnock frees. This heralded a strong purple patch for the Somerton outfit and additional scores followed courtesy of Conor Chawke and Boyle.
Having initially struggled to shake off the attentions of Senan Faulkner, Lucan full-forward Matthew Dunne was much more prominent in the second-quarter. Either side of a fisted point at a tight left-hand angle, he converted a brace of frees to help his side back into the ascendancy.
This scoring sequence was interrupted by back-to-back ‘Knock efforts via the boots of Warnock and Shane Carolan, before Dunne plundered the opening goal of the action on 22 minutes. After gathering Walsh’s precise delivery inside the square, he calmly fired past the stranded Conor Kelly.
Cian McHugh later added his own name to the scoresheet, raising a white flag at the end of a set-piece move. This left ‘Knock reeling to a certain extent, but Warnock and David Bohan ensured they finished the first period in fine spirits.
A 1-6 to 0-8 deficit was certainly not an insurmountable one, though Lucan increased their lead on the resumption with another Dunne point on the turn. The introduction of midfielder Joe Kelly added an extra dimension to Lucan’s approach play, however, and they narrowed the gap thanks to a coolly-struck Ronan McCann free.
Although clear-cut opportunities were now coming at a premium, ‘Knock were slowly beginning to gain momentum in attack. When Carolan gathered possession deep inside the Lucan half, he had goal on his mind.
His resulting strike blazed over the crossbar on this occasion, but Chawke split the uprights on the run to move Castleknock back into the driving seat. The aforementioned Shanahan was then issued with a second yellow-card on 49 minutes to leave Lucan in a precarious position.
With centre-back Ciaran Murphy deployed as the spare man in defence, ‘Knock were odds-on to prevail. However, even though Chawke bolstered their tally with his third of the day, they left the door ajar for a gutsy Lucan.
Walsh curled between the posts to end a 26-minute barren scoring spell, raising the prospect of extra-time in the Kimmage venue. Walsh and Dunne both had chances to level matters in the dying moments, when Lucan ramped up the pressure on their stubborn counterparts.
Assured netminder Conor Kelly displayed great composure to flick away the latter’s attempt and Castleknock ultimately squeezed through with a single point to spare.
Scorers – Castleknock: D Warnock (3f), C Chawke 0-3 each, C Boyle (2f), S Carolan 0-2 each, R McCann (f), D Bohan 0-1 each. Lucan Sarsfields: M Dunne 1-4 (0-2f), C Walsh 0-2 (1f), M Lavin, C McHugh 0-1 each.
CASTLEKNOCK: C Kelly; M Byrne, S Faulkner, T Mantero Belard; A Feely, C Murphy, A Kearney; D Bohan, L McCann; R McCann, D Warnock, C Chawke; E Sawyer, S Carolan, C Boyle.
Subs: J Kelly for L McCann (37), E Kearney for Byrne (43), L Gubbins for R McCann (47), E O’Neill for Boyle (60).
LUCAN SARSFIELDS: S McCarthy; L Monaghan, A McNulty, D Cahill; C Shanaghan, A Murphy, J Lawless; C Behan, H Keogh; M Lavin, E Torsney, C Walsh; C McHugh, M Dunne, A Lynch.
Subs: J Rooney for Keogh (43), O Ryan for McHugh (52), B O’Sullivan for Torsney (56).
MENTORS – Castleknock: A Sawyer, K Fitzsimons. Lucan Sarsfields: E Shanahan, D Cullen, S Cleary, B O’Sullivan.
Referee: Derek McKitterick (Fingallians).
WIDES – Castleknock: 5 (4+1). Lucan Sarsfields: 6 (1+5).
CONDITIONS: Dry throughout with sunny intervals and a light breeze.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Conor Chawke (Castleknock).