Carlos and Corcoran star to hold off Barrog
CASTLEKNOCK 2-9 NAOMH BARROG 0-8
First-half goals from Des Carlos and Tommy Corcoran were of major importance at Balgriffin last Saturday evening, as Castleknock held off a spirited challenge from 14-man Naomh Barróg to emerge victorious in their first-ever Dublin Intermediate Football Championship encounter.
The 2012 Leinster Junior Champions welcomed Dublin star Ciarán Kilkenny back into their starting line-up, and although he featured for his club in a recent Junior 'A' Hurling Championship outing, this was his first game of football since picking up a knee injury in the opening moments of the Dubs' league clash with Tyrone back on March 16. His return is a huge boost to Jim Gavin and his management team ahead of the upcoming provincial campaign.
The 19-year-old was paired up at centre-field with Martin Brady, and even though Barróg opened the scoring with a second-minute point from Mick McCarthy, Castleknock were utilising their wind advantage to considerable effect, as quick scores from Matthew Griffin (free), Corcoran and Kevin Kindlon edged them two points in front five minutes later.
Kindlon's effort was swiftly added to by Castleknock's first goal of the contest eight minutes in, when a terrific run by Corcoran paved the way for corner-forward Carlos to finish clinically past Barróg's Niall Connolly off his left peg.
The Kilbarrack outfit were struggling to settle into the proceedings against the strong elements, and subsequent Castleknock points from Jamie Tunney, Kilkenny (a magnificent 50-metre free way out on the right-wing) and Griffin saw them slipping even further behind.
Anto Brady did lash over after Castleknock netminder Cian O'Hara had turned away an Eoin O'Connor shot at goal, and Ritchie Timmons also found the target from a close-in free, but with Corcoran on hand to finish from a right-hand angle on the stroke of 30 minutes after he reacted quickest from a rebound off the post, the Somerton men brought a 2-6 to 0-3 lead into the second period.
This left Barróg playing catch-up after the restart, but despite falling further behind when Griffin converted a 30-metre free in the early stages upon the resumption, Barróg had cut their deficit to seven heading into the final quarter as a result of three unanswered scores courtesy of the influential Timmons.
However, their hand had been significantly reduced by this stage, with half-forward Dave McCormack receiving his marching orders after 42 minutes following an off-the-ball incident towards the left touchline.
This offered Castleknock a decisive edge as they tried to negotiate the gale-force breeze, and although a Barróg point by full-forward Aaron Craig almost yielded a goal with 11 minutes to play, a fine individual effort by centre-forward Shane Boland offered the Dublin 15 brigade plenty of breathing space.
Barróg inside forward Pádraig Whelan did match Kilkenny's opening half score when he converted a sideline kick on the left-hand side, but with captain Griffin's fourth of the day preceding it, Castleknock were able to ease through to the next stage of the competition.