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Bow before Castle' kings

Castleknock have long been acknowledged as an up-and coming club, given their relative success at juvenile level over the past few years, and the hard work across the Dublin 15 area is finally reaping its rewards at a provincial level.

Their Leinster Junior Football Championship title, earned following a comfortable victory over St Fintan's of Wexford at Parnell Park on Sunday, suggested that this bunch of players will not be satisfied until national honours are achieved.

An All-Ireland quarter-final in Manchester awaits Castleknock on Sunday week but first on the agenda is a well-earned rest following the energy sapping conditions in Donnycarney at the weekend.


"It is a great day for the club," said team manager Tom McCormack as he reflected on his side's 1-10 to 1-5 win which came far easier than many observers predicted following an initially sloppy opening.

"We're relieved to get over the line. It was a dogged affair out there. Conditions didn't suit us really but we dug deep and that is all you can ask for. It was a war of attrition out there.

"They showed great maturity out there. Maybe in the first 10 minutes or so they were a bit starstruck and the game was going by them to a degree, but they grew into the challenge as the game went on.

"We started winning a fair bit of breaking ball and playing the football that we wanted to and that made a big difference," said McCormack.

Leading by 0-7 to 0-1 at the interval, thanks largely to a supreme display at midfield by Shane Boland and four frees by the impressive Rory Corcoran, Castleknock resumed in a similar vein after the break but were thankful to goalkeeper Alex Griffith for a brace of superb saves that denied their opponents a route back into the contest.

McCormack was first to acknowledge Griffith's contribution alongside his whole defence that conceded a solitary score from open play over the hour and was a bedrock to their success on the day.

"Alex is a fantastic keeper and sometimes those saves go with you and sometimes they don't. I thought our full-back line were outstanding, especially Graham Harrington.

"Our full-forward line was very sharp too, especially considering we didn't get enough ball into them as we would have liked but it was just a day to dig deep and work for hard ball and that is what we did.

"We're going to rest up for a week now after this match as it was very hard on the lads and the conditions were difficult and we'll regroup on Monday and take it from there," he said.

Of course, Castleknock's victory was all the more commendable considering the absence of Ciaran Kilkenny from the line-up following his move to Australia to hook up with Hawthorn.

Kilkenny's influence on their county success could not be overestimated, but McCormack reckons it is highly unlikely that he will figure for the remainder of the campaign, despite an imminent return to Dublin 15.

"I think he'll be back alright for Christmas but I think he'll only be back for the turkey and that football won't feature on the radar," he concluded.