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Ravens soar to title glory

Fingal Ravens 4-13; Castleknock 0-7

Fingal Ravens captured the Dublin minor 'D' football title after a strong second-half display simply blew Castleknock aside at Somerton on Sunday morning.

Two goals in each half built the foundations for the Ravens emphatic win, who had star performers in every sector of the field.

"It really was an all round team display," team manager Malachy Griffin enthused afterwards.

"We used 19 players in the final and there genuinely wasn't one fella who you could say didn't perform. It was a great way to end a year."

For Castleknock, it was a disappointing way to end their season, but there is plenty for the relatively new club to be positive about. Given that their first team won the 'A' title in the grade, the fact that their second team also reached the final says a lot about the giant strides forward the club is making.



WINNERS

But this was all about the winners. Their midfield of Malachy Griffin and Cian Ó Scannaill were most impressive, while centre-back Ross Begg was hugely influential throughout.

As mentioned above, the goals really were the key for Ravens, as Darragh Griffina and a superb effort from Ó Scannaill found the net in the first period, while Cormac O'Neill and a last-minute volley from Peter Flye put the icing on the cake after the break.

A wonder save from goalkeeper Cian Daly in the first half was also a pivotal moment.

It means that the Rolestown club have now won two minor titles in a row, having won the same championship in 2010, a fact that is very satisfying for Griffin.

"We had nine players from last year's winning team which really helped because they had the experience of that to push them on," he explained.

"We possibly could have moved up a grade or two to maybe the 'B' or the 'C' championship, but we haven't got the pick out here to guarantee a strong enough team.

"At the start of the year, we played our first match and we only had 14 players to pick from.

"From then on we started to integrate some of the U16 team into the squad, and we ended up with an exceptional panel and had nine subs in the final, and I would have been confident to use any of those."



EXCEPTIONALLY

It certainly represented huge progress from that opening game against neighbour St Finian's. It was, however, the result of some exceptionally hard work from both players and management, a point echoed by Griffin.

"We played 13 challenge games this year on top of all our league and championship games, so it meant that all the younger lads got the game time they needed to step up to Minor," he said.

"There was a lot of work went into it. I'm just thrilled with what we achieved.

"Vinny Conway has been working alongside me and his input has been invaluable. The lads really got a lot out of his training and he knew how to get the best out of the players."

No doubt the Christmas celebrations will come just a little bit early out in Rolestown.


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