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Craobh find that little bit extra

Craobh Chiaráin finished their lengthy campaign on a satisfactory note as they defeated Round Tower Lusk by 3-13 to 1-14 after extra-time in their Dublin Adult Football League Division 5 promotion play-off final in Clonshaugh last Sunday morning.

On a year that has seen the Donnycarney outfit suffer the anguish of a Junior 'A' Football Championship final defeat and that also saw them make their European debut against Amsterdam in Maastricht, Craobh finally gained tangible reward for their efforts.

That such an event would occur seemed unlikely towards the end as Chiaráin's trailed by two points but a late goal from Alan McCrabbe handed them a brief lead before Chris Neville's late score ensured extra-time.

Craobh enjoyed a healthy and wind-assisted 1-7 to 0-1 interval lead with McCrabbe finding the net for Craobh in addition to some excellent points by Ciaran McGouran but with substitutes Stephen Harford and Liam Bohan making an immediate impact upon their introduction, Towers dominated the second-half with a goal from the experienced Timmy Doyle handing them a massive boost.

Points followed through the likes of Aaron Howley, Neville, David Hurley, Daniel Kiely, Adam Caul, Bohan and Josh Connell as the North County side looked the more likely bet.

However, their efforts over the sixty minutes resulted in a tiredness in extra-time that a fitter and more youthful Craobh side exploited with Gary Kelly's goal early on handing the the Donnycarney club the momentum.

"I feel that we should have beaten them in normal time," was the view of Round Tower manager Leo Neary.

"We are slowly making progress and we have improved from where we were three years ago but there is definitely a bit of a void between our younger and more seasoned players with very few around between those years.

"We're heading in the right direction though," added Neary, who recognised the defensive efforts of Andy Moore, Declan Moore and Greg Lewis as key to his side's encouraging display.

"I'm glad that's all over," said Craobh manager David Keane, who announced his decision not to carry on for the coming season.