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PATS ON THE BACK FOR IFC HEROES

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St Patrick's Donabate forward Dylan Knight Sands is put under pressure by Tom Lyons and Jack Halpin of Round Towers during the Intermediate Football Championship Final in Garristown. Picture: Siobhan Taylor

St Patrick's Donabate forward Dylan Knight Sands is put under pressure by Tom Lyons and Jack Halpin of Round Towers during the Intermediate Football Championship Final in Garristown. Picture: Siobhan Taylor

The captain of St Pat's Donabate, Darren Maher, holds the IFC trophy aloft. Picture: Siobhan Taylor

The captain of St Pat's Donabate, Darren Maher, holds the IFC trophy aloft. Picture: Siobhan Taylor

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St Patrick's Donabate forward Dylan Knight Sands is put under pressure by Tom Lyons and Jack Halpin of Round Towers during the Intermediate Football Championship Final in Garristown. Picture: Siobhan Taylor

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In the days leading up to Saturday’s intermediate decider, Donabate boss Ciaran Roche had spoken about the importance of the bench, choosing players to make that impact when legs and minds begin to get tired and a spurt is needed.

And while it may not have been the key aspect, the subs stood out nonetheless. With the game still in the melting pot, long-time servant Joey Collins made a terrific leap to set up a move which would eventually lead to Matt Molloy pointing from the left with just over two minutes of normal time remaining.

It would be the point that got Donabate over the line, and when both those men were sprung from the bench on a cold evening up in Garristown, neither was found wanting.

Round Towers Clondalkin, having beaten last year’s runners-up Naomh Barrog in a dramatic penalty shootout a fortnight previously, fought back to move within a point of Donabate.

Ian Ward, their veteran forward, showed that age was no factor as he turned in a terrific display. In the end, though, Donabate got the breaks as they finally claimed the championship that has been 13 years in the making.

 For the next couple of days Donabate will lap up this victory before turning their attention to their Leinster opener against the Offaly champions in just under two weeks’ time. Saturday’s win should certainly build up the profile of the club in the area and they were well supported on Saturday, as were Round Towers Clondalkin. Both sets of fans were treated to a game full of incident and great scores.

With both the corner backs providing good assistance in attack, Donabate began well, with Adam Dunne and Shane McGrath sending over points off well executed moves.

And holding a slender one-point lead at the mid-way stage in the quarter, St Pat’s then struck for the first goal of the game when Dunne collected a short pass and showed terrific close control to shoot left-footed past the keeper into the roof of the net.

A point from Kieran Conroy would extend the Pat’s lead to five points by the first water break, with scores each side of a Round Towers effort from Stephen Dempsey and Sean Walshe (the second a well struck 45’), moving their lead out to six points.

However three frees on the bounce from Ward would leave just a score in it before Ollie Brooks popped up with a much-needed point for Donabate in stoppage time to leave it 1-8 to 0-7 at the half-way stage.

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Round Towers Clondalkin would begin the second half with a point from Jack Halpin, but ten minutes incame Donabate’s second goal.

Dempsey had lost possession on the edge of the square, but off the breaking ball the wing forward had the presence of mind to shoot home past the keeper into the far corner.

Donabate drove on with a point from Dunne before Dylan Knight shot just over from the right.

However Clondalkin would strike for a crucial goal on 44 minutes when Eric Finn’s ball across the square was fisted home by Ward.

At the final quarter Round Towers had got the deficit back to three points again, with the game very much up for grabs.

When Ward knocked over another free to put just two points in it, the pressure was certainly on.

Round Towers refused to give up the ghost, with Finn popping up for a second point. Pat’s, however, would not buckle and following another great point from Knight he then collected a pass from Joey Collins before squaring to Molloy for a crucial score.

In a dramatic end to the game Round Towers were then awarded a penalty with two minutes to go, but Eoghan Moloney produced heroics in goal to push James Kelly’s effort away to his left.

And despite a number of frees from Ward, Donabate held on for a famous victory.

St PATRICK’S DONABATE: Eoghan Moloney, Darren Maher, Paddy Costello, Ben Gaston, Niall Moran, Jamie Mullins, Adam Dunne 1-2, Adam Darby, Shane McGrath 0-1, Stephen Dempsey 1-2(0-1f), Dylan Knight Sands 0-4, Kieran Conroy 0-1, Niall Collins, Sean Walsh 0-1(0-1 45’), Ollie Brooks 0-1. Subs: Rory McKeon for Costello (32), Joey Collins for Conroy (45), Matt Molloy 0-1 for Niall Collins (47), Colm Kavanagh for Brooks (52), Conor Dowling or Moran (55).

Round TOWERS CLONDALKIN: Gary Cleary, Shane Byrne, Dan Gregg, Barry Keane, Lee Moran, Derek Murray, Tom Lyons 0-1 , Mick Hallows, Jason Joyce, Jack Halpin 0-1, James Kelly, Eric Finn 0-2, Michael Walsh 0-1, Ian Ward 1-9(0-9f), Joey Leech 0-1. Subs: Conor Flannery, Adam Doyle

Referee: Finbar Shanahan (St Margarets)


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