Tuesday 24 October 2017

Castleknock to contest first Dublin SFC final just 18 years after being formed

Castleknock celebrate following win over St. Judes
Castleknock celebrate following win over St. Judes

Rónán Mac Lochlainn

Castleknock enjoyed a dominant final quarter as they deservedly overcame a lethargic St Jude's by four points in their historic Dublin Senior Football Championship semi-final at Parnell Park tonight.

Castleknock 0-11 St Jude's 1-4

Des Carlos proved their key marksman with nine vital points over the hour the telling difference between two defensively minded teams. 

The template was set in the early exchanges with Jude’s playing a more direct game that resulted in Declan Donnelly opening the scoring in the 4th minute after a precise and early delivery from Kevin McManamon. 

In contrast, whether by accident or design, their opponents, admittedly playing into whatever breeze there was in Donnycarney, preferred to adopt a more cautious and patient approach that eventually yielded a levelling free from Des Carlos in the 6th minute.

Even at this early stage, it was evident that defences would enjoy the upper hand on both sides despite Kieran Doherty regaining the lead for St Jude’s with a well-struck point three minutes later.

When Niall Coakley doubled that lead with a trademark score soon after, it appeared that the favouritism afforded to St Jude’s would prove well-founded.

However, far from building on this solid platform, they retreated increasingly further towards their own goal, inviting their opponents to enjoy plenty of possession and increase their confidence as a consequence.

While not able to puncture the heavily-manned Jude’s defence initially, Castleknock were patient enough to force a free close to goal that saw Carlos add a second point in the 13th minute.

Ciaran Kilkenny was a central figure at this stage, directing play patiently from midfield and despite lacking the cutting edge to pierce the Jude’s rearguard, their positive levels of possession allowed Castleknock to settle in what was their first ever senior semi-final.

With their opponents offering little or no threat at the opposite end, the pattern of Castleknock possession and Jude’s turnovers was set in stone.

However, there were isolated moments of inspiration as the half progressed, with Mikey Galvin’s excellent levelling point in the 20th minute reflecting well on the Castleknock confidence.  

The half-time score of 0-3 apiece was a fair reflection on the unsatisfactory but understandably tense fare on offer although Enda Dalton's introduction at the break allowed Coakley to restore his side’s lead in the 31st minute.

Carlos replied in kind with three points in quick succession as Jude's struggled to make any impact in attack with their previously heralded midfield pairing of Colm Murphy and Seamus Ryan struggling to make any impact. 

However, they received a massive boost through the reliable source of Kevin McManamon at the end of the third quarter as he raced clear past Tom Quinn before firing an unerring finish past Morven Connolly.

That score failed to unsettle Castleknock however as they levelled matters through Ben Galvin and Carlos kicked two points from play to complement two frees as Lar Norton's side eased home by the final whistle.      

Scorers: Castleknock: D Carlos 0-9 (0-7f), M Galvin, B Galvin 0-1 each. St Jude’s: K McManamon 1-0, N Coakley 0-2 (0-1f), D Donnelly, K Doherty 0-1 each.

Castleknock: M Connolly; T Quinn, E O’Brien, P Bourke; G Hannigan, T Shiels, P Sherry; C Kilkenny, J Sherry; D Carlos, S Boland, B Galvin; C Lynch, K Kindlon, M Galvin. Subs: J Kindlon for M Galvin (49),T Corcoran for Lynch and M Griffen for B Galvin (58). 

St Jude’s: P Copeland; R Martina, P Cunningham, R Finnegan; C McBride, M Sweeney, B Sheehan; C Murphy, S Ryan; T Lahiff, R Joyce, K Doherty; D Donnelly, N Coakley, K McManamon. Subs: E Dalton for Joyce (half-time), D McLoughlin for Lahiff (40), P Courtney for Murphy (42), O Manning for McBride (49), J Donnelly for Doherty and B McManamon for Coakley (52).

Referee: James King (Garda)

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