A goal in the fourth minute of injury time by full-forward Pete Moloney proved pivotal as Kilmacud Crokes claimed the Dublin Minor 'D' Football championship title after overcoming a brave Castleknock side by the narrowest of Margins at O'Toole Park last Sunday morning.
Crokes looked to have kicked their chances away as they racked up a massive 17 wides over the hour but Moloney's quick free took a slight deflection to nestle in the roof of the Castleknock net, providing a dramatic conclusion to events.
The defeat was harsh on Castleknock, given the defensive excellence that they produced throughout and given the last-gasp nature of the loss, their pain could prove acute for a while yet.
Their constant harassment and defensive discipline certainly contributed to the high wide count that Kilmacud experienced and the talent within their defensive ranks manifested itself in the superb individual displays of Cathal Sheerin, Daniel Carroll and Tigernach Feehily.
However, their collective efforts proved in vain as Crokes finished the game on a high and given the monopoly that they enjoyed in terms of possession and scoring chances, perhaps the most equitable result was arrived upon.
With the strong wind at their backs, Castleknock opened the scoring in the second minute though a close-in free by full-forward Richie McInerney with their opponents struggling to find their scoring range early on.
Conor McNicholas spurned a glorious goal chance in the 5th minute but their monopoly on possession ensured chances would arrive thick and fast. Central to their control was the influence exerted by Michael Crowley with the ball appearing drawn to him like a magnet as he mopped up a heap of ball in addition to launching attacks with almost monotonous regularity.
Kilmacud finally restored parity at the end of the first quarter through a free by Gavin McDermott and they earned the lead that their overall play merited son after through another placed ball from Moloney. However, their momentum was punctured through the concession of a sloppy goal in the 17th minute as Jamie Bradshaw capitalised on a misplaced pass to brush John McDonald aside before he slotted calmly from eight yards.
Belief coursed through Castleknock veins from that point and they extended their lead through a superbly-struck free by Jamie Holland before Moloney replied in kind for Crokes.
Further points by Holland an an excellent score from McInereney left Castleknock four points clear approaching the break but Moloney's free in injury time left Crokes well-placed, trailing by 1-4 to 0-4 with the prospect of the breeze at their backs after the break.
Slowly but surely, Kilmacud managed to translate their pressure into scores as the second-half evolved but it took them forty-two minutes before they registered their opening score from play through a well-taken score through the middle from Paul Comerford.
When the lively Adam O'Neill followed that score with a sublime effort two minutes later, it appeared that Crokes were building up a dangerous head of steam.
However, Castleknock's defending lost none of its intensity or discipline despite the pressure being placed upon it and from a rare second-half sortie into enemy territory, Holland added a free from close-range to inch the Somerton Park outfit two points clear.
For all Kilmacud's possession, they rarely threatened a goal in the final quarter with Moloney adding another free to leave the tie delicately poised for the final ten minutes.
Castleknock looked to have landed the insurance score when Holland added a glorious point from Seán Moran's pass as we entered injury time but there was sufficient time for Kilmacud to earn a late free with Moloney landing that late decisive blow.
Scorers - Kilmacud Crokes: P Moloney 1-4 (1-4f), G McDermott (f), P Comerford, A O'Neill 0-1 each. Castleknock: J Holland 0-4 (3f), J Bradshaw 1-0, R McInerney 0-2 (1f).
Kilmacud Crokes: O Doherty; J Egan, J McDonald, C O'Dwyer; Johnny Maher, L Lundon, J Farrelly; P Linehan, P Comerford; C McNicholas, P Herlihy, A O'Neill; M Crowley, P Moloney, G McDermott. Subs: M Hogan for McDermott (16), John Maher for Egan (57).
Castleknock: J Igoe; A Coffey, C Sheerin, M Gallagher; D Carroll, C Kelly, T Feehily; S McCartney, C Padden; M Owen, C Fay, J Holland; J Bradshaw, R McInerney, J Carrie. Subs: C Gormally for Carrie (18), O O'Brien for Bradshaw and S Moran for Fay (38).
Mentors - Kilmacud Crokes: Robbie Moloney, Dave Egan, Conor O'Shea, TJ Maher. Castleknock: Damian Whelan, Finbar Brady, Ollie Coffey.
Referee: Simon Redmond (St Anne's)
Wides: Kilmacud Crokes: 17 (7+10) Castleknock 2 (2+0).
Conditions: Sticky pitch but a sunny and dry morning.
Player of the Game: Michael Crowley (Kilmacud Crokes)