CASTLEKNOCK came good by a deceptively comfortable margin against Thomas Davis to claim silverware thanks to a 2-16 to 0-16 win in an enthralling Minor ‘A’ Football Championship Final on Sunday at O’Toole Park.
By Kevin Mallon
Having led by eight points at one stage, Castleknock then went two in arrears before winning by six with the icing on the cake coming seven minutes into injury time when the unselfish Conor Chawke expertly set up Senan Forker for the clinching goal.
Castleknock started slowly and but for a superb Conor Kelly save after only 60 seconds, would have suffered a crushing early blow. As it was Thomas Davis poured forward to score the first three points.
It was all of nine minutes before Castleknock really came alive when a Davy Bohan pass found Conor Chawke who set up Conor Murray for a terrific point off the outside of his right boot. Conor Murray added a second while Rob O’Shea made a brilliant block to deny Thomas Davis a second goal chance.
After 13 minutes Thomas Davis led 0-4 0-2, but Castleknock then hit a real blue and yellow patch scoring 1-7 in 12 minutes to go eight points clear at 1-9 0-4. Luke Swan fisted the goal from a Conor Chawke free while the points came from seven different players, Conor Murray, Cian Boyle (who came close to goaling as well), Evan McSherry, Conor Chawke, Rob O’Shea, Luke Swan and Fionn Gibbons.
However, Thomas Davis put in a strong finish to the half with three points in three minutes closing the gap to five at the break, 1-9 0-7.
Thomas Davis got off to another flying start after the interval, scoring five points in a row to level the match at 1-9 0-12 and it took a huge Ronan McCann point for Castleknock 13 minutes into the half to stem the tide. Even so, Thomas Davis scored the next three points to complete an amazing 10-point turnaround.
It was then Castleknock’s enormous character came to the fore. Helped by some outstanding Luke Swan catches around the middle of the field Castleknock virtually dominated possession in the final quarter.
Points from Luke Swan and Conor Chawke levelled it up again with just 10 minutes to go. A mazy Conor Chawke run led to the point that regained the lead. Ronan McCann tapped over a free and then Conor Murray coming in from the right hit an incredible point to put a goal between the sides 1-15 0-15.
A Conor Chawke pointed free put Castleknock four clear, but as the game headed for Time-Added-On a Thomas Davis point made it a one score game once again. In the nine minutes of stoppage time Thomas Davis did everything possible to create an equalising goal, but some heroic defending kept them out until a breakaway Castleknock move left Conor Chawke one-on-one with the Thomas Davis goalkeeper and his inch perfect pass set up Senan Forker for the decisive goal.
Castleknock Captain Conor Chawke received the Minor ‘A’ Cup from Denis Molony of the Dublin County Board. In his acceptance speech he thanked Thomas Davis for their contribution to such an amazing match and he went on to thank the Castleknock Managers, Declan Hannigan and Gerry Kindlon and the many others (including John Kilkenny, Mick Marren, Anton O’Céirigh and Tommy Griffin) who helped bring the Cup back to Castleknock.