Saturday 18 January 2020

Ciaran Kilkenny highlights the incredible rise of Castleknock as they progress to Championship final

Dublin SFC semi-final: Castleknock 0-11 St Jude's 1-4

Castleknock celebrate their semi-final win over St Jude's
Castleknock celebrate their semi-final win over St Jude's
Des Carlos proved a key marksman in Castleknock's victory over St Jude's

Castleknock enjoyed a dominant final quarter as they deservedly overcame a lethargic St Jude's in a historic Dublin SFC semi-final win at Parnell Park last night.

Des Carlos proved their key marksman, with nine vital points over the hour the telling difference between two defensively-minded teams as Castleknock reached their first Dublin senior final having only been formed in 1998 when they started life in Division 10.

The template was set early on with Jude's playing a more direct game with  Declan Donnelly opening the scoring in the fourth minute after a precise Kevin McManamon pass. In contrast, their opponents preferred to adopt a more cautious approach that eventually yielded a levelling free from Carlos in the sixth 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.

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, they retreated and invited their opponents to enjoy plenty of possession. Directing 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.

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 moments of inspiration, 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 although Enda Dalton's introduction at the break allowed Coakley to restore his side's lead. Carlos replied with three points in quick succession while Jude's struggled in attack.

However, they received a massive boost through the reliable source of McManamon at the end of the third quarter as he raced clear before firing to the net past Morven Connolly. That score failed to unsettle Castleknock as they levelled matters through Ben Galvin and Carlos kicked two points from play to complement two frees as Lar Norton's side set up a date with St Vincent's in Parnell Park on Saturday week.

Scorers - Castleknock: D Carlos 0-9 (7fs); M Galvin, B Galvin 0-1 each.

St Jude's: K McManamon 1-0, N Coakley 0-2 (1f), D Donnelly, K Doherty 0-1 each. 

Kevin McManamon of St Jude's signs autographs for supporters despite his team losing
Kevin McManamon of St Jude's signs autographs for supporters despite his team losing

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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, M Griffin 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 (h-t), 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).  Ref - J King (Garda)

Ciaran Kilkenny of Castleknock signs a jersey for a supporter
Ciaran Kilkenny of Castleknock signs a jersey for a supporter

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