ST DECLAN'S CBS 4-12 ARDSCOIL RíS 1-11
Goals from Brian McDonald and substitute Sam French Mullen proved crucial in Parnell Park yesterday afternoon as St Declan's secured the Dublin Schools Juvenile Football A title, thanks in large part to an fine extra-time display, which eventually saw them getting the better of a hard-working Ardscoil Rís outfit.
Stephen O'Sullivan had the opened the scoring for Ardscoil in the first minute of the contest, but a point from corner-forward Mark Counihan brought the sides level four minutes later. The Griffith Avenue school were on top of the proceedings in the early stages, but they were proving to be somewhat wasteful in front of goal.
They regained the lead with a point fromLuke Murphy on nine minutes, but a Brian McDonald free restored parity, before Declan's moved into the lead against the run of play at the end of the opening quarter, as centre--forward Aaron Carey burst through the middle and found the back of the Ardscoil goal via a wicked deflection.
This came as something of a shock to Ardscoil, but they managed to re-organise themselves and six points without reply from Conor Burke (two), Liam Rogers (free), Robert Manley, O'Sullivan and Luke Foy gave them an 0-8 to 1-2 interval lead.
Ardscoil looked to be the favourites to push on for victory at this stage, but the Cabra boys came out with all guns blazing, registering the first two points of the second period courtesy of McDonald and Dean Curley. Burke did kick over his third point for Rís to halt the Declan's charge, but they fell behind once more 43 minutes in when midfielder Conor Breslin finished brilliantly past Liam McLoughlin following a quick free by McDonald.
This lead didn't last long though, as Breslin's opposite number O'Sullivan deceived Declan's goalkeeper David Malone with a speculative shot from distance for his sides first goal.
In a tense finale to normal time, Declan's replacements Glen Dodrill and Mullen twice pegged back Ardscoil leads, before Murphy looked like he had won the day for Rís with a superb point in the 59th minute.
The outstanding Carey had other ideas, however, and his superb score meant that this decider was heading into 20 minutes of additional time.
It was impossible to predict at this point who was going to come out on top but, as it turned out, it was all one-way traffic in extra-time, as three consecutive Declan's points from Gavin Longmore (two) and Dodrill were added to by an excellent McDonald major eight minutes in.
Barry Davis did get the Ardscoil scoring underway in first-half stoppage time, but a fortuitous 71st-minute goal from Mullen, as well as points from centre-back Ryan Carrick and Sean Bulger, meant that Declan's eased over the line in the end with 10 points to spare.
SCORERS - St Declan's: B McDonald 1-2 (0-2f); A Carey, S French-Mullen 1-1 each; C Breslin 1-0; G Longmore, G Dodrill 0-2 each; D Curley, R Carrick, S Bugler, M Counihan 0-1 each. Ardscoil Rís: S O'Sullivan 1-2; C Burke 0-3 (1f); L Murphy 0-2; L Rogers (f), L Foy, R Manley, B Davis 0-1 each.
ST DECLAN'S CBS: D Malone; S Mullins, D Curley, P O'Brien; S Ashton, R Carrick, C Barrett; C Breslin, G Longmore; S Bugler, A Carey, D Burke; S Goulding, B McDonald, M Counihan. Subs: S Smithers for Barrett (25), G Dodrill for Goulding (40), S French Mullen for Counihan (45), M ORourke for Curley (60+2), D Langan for Smithers (78).
ARDSCOIL RíS: L McLoughlin; C Curry, C Ryan, D O'Hagen; C Cummins, J Carey, T O'Flaherty; S OSullivan, L Foy; L Rogers, R Manley, L Murphy; S Baxter, B Davis, C Burke. Subs: J Kenny for O'Hagen (49), K Melling for Cummins (55), G Dalton for Foy (71).
REFEREE: Gary McCormack (Naomh Barróg).