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Kickhams' double joy

BRAVE Ballymun Kickhams produced a powerful display in overcoming near neighbours Na Fianna by five points in their competitive Dublin Under-15 'A' Football Championship Final at Parnell Park last night.

BALLYMUN KICKHAMS .................... 1-8

NA FIANNA ................................. 0-6

The win completed a remarkable double for this set of players, managed by former Dublin defender Paddy Christie, as they claimed the U16 'B' championship title earlier in this season and the conveyor belt of talent shows no sign of seizing up in the foreseeable future.

Their victory set Kickhams up for a famous Bank Holiday double, given the success of the seniors with a disciplined defensive showing the key to their victory against a talented Na Fianna outfit.

In a game of few scores, it appeared likely from the outset that whoever struck the game's opening goal would enjoy the driving seat and so it proved with Kickhams' captain Dillon Keating plundering the pivotal score of the game in the 53rd minute.

The clinical nature of that goal was the one thing missing from the Na Fianna display, as the Glasnevin lads more than held their own in terms of possession but the luck required to succeed in any final deserted them.

This was especially evident in the 39th minute when Gavin King saw a thunderous shot cannon off Eric Cumberton's crossbar and away to safety and a couple of other goal chances were snuffed out later on that may well have reignited their challenge.

As expected, the opening-half was a tight, dogged affair with defences largely in control although Paddy Small escaped the attentions of the Na Fianna rearguard to open the scoring through an excellent second-minute point.

A driving run from Paul O'Hanlon got the reward it merited with a cracking levelling score two minutes later but there were early sings that scores would be at a premium with Seán Brennan, Conor Kavanagh and Dean O'Brien excelling in their duties in the Ballymun defence.

A driving run from O'Brien enabled Small to regain his side's advantage but Na Fianna, with Seán Baxter showing superbly in the full-forward line, slowly but surely worked their way into shooting positions and Jack Brophy's two frees had them ahead by the 16th minute.

A point-blank save by Jack Carey maintained that lead in the 20th minute but with Kavanagh making regular sorties into enemy territory, Anton Swan won and converted a free to restore parity three minutes later.

Ballymun ended the half in the ascendancy and a towering score by influential midfielder Glenn Doyle preceded Small's third point of the game, handing Kickhams a crucial two-point interval lead.

It was crucial to Na Fianna's chances that they resume positively and substitute Eoin Skelly's 32nd minute free was just the start they required but Small arrived on the scene three minutes later to kick a sublime point to regain his side's two point lead.


Back came the Glasnevin lads with a wonderful solo score from pacey wing-back Gerry Farrell but with the game up for grabs, Ballymun produced an excellent team move that culminated in Cian Gerrard's handpass to Keating to punch home beyond a helpless Carey.

Na Fianna continued to pepper the Ballymun Kickhams goal in the closing stages but their only reward was an injury-time point from King, with Ballymun Kickhams maintaining the momentum that last year's All-Ireland Féile Peil na nóg Division 1 success provided.