McCarthy Knocks down Castle defences

by Gazette Reporter
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Lorcan McCarthy was in devastating form at Russell Park as St Brigid’s claimed local bragging rights over a spirited Castleknock in Division One of the AFL1.

Though there was little to separate the teams initially, McCarthy’s 14th-minute goal was the catalyst for Brigid’s to enter the interval with a six-point cushion (1-8 to 0-5) at their disposal and they stayed ahead to keep Knock in a difficult position.

It was Brigid’s fourth win on the bounce while Knock had just win from seven, leaving them with ground to make up at the base of the table.

And they fell behind early on when Brigid’s half-forward Cathal Doyle opened the scoring before his opposite number Paul Burke responded at the far end.

Full-forward Tommy Corcoran edged Castleknock in front with a sweet point off his left-foot while the Russell Park men initially struggled with Collie Carr and McCarthy off-target before Brigid’s finally moved into the ascendancy in the 14th-minute.

A short effort at the posts was countered by a slightly short clearance from Morven Connolly which presented the alert Carr with a gilt-edged chance. His subsequent strike was superbly turned away by the Castleknock netminder, only for McCarthy to slot home the rebound.

This was a major set-back for ‘Knock – who had appeared comfortable in defence up to that point. McCarthy, on the other hand, grew in confidence as a result.

He registered a brace of scores either side of a Carr point off a tight-angle, creating significant daylight between the teams.

He was ably-assisted by the midfield pairing of Laois footballer John O’Loughlin and former Dublin hurler Daire Plunkett.

Castleknock did regain focus before the break. Boland ended a 19-minute scoring drought with a pointed free and centre-back Tom Shields split the uprights at the end of a lung-bursting run.

Boland’s second of the half provided ‘Knock with further cause for optimism, though it was McCarthy and Brigid’s who drew fist blood on the resumption.

They then had a golden opportunity to put the game to bed on the stroke of 40 minutes when McCarthy picked out raiding half-back Patrick Maguire in front of goal. To Castleknock’s relief, his fierce drive crashed off the underside of the crossbar and away to safety.

This kept the visitors in the frame, and they slowly but surely cut into the Brigid’s lead. A Boland free was preceded by an O’Connor contribution from play, leaving five points between the sides.

Boland raised white flags in the 51st and 55th minutes to set-up a tantalising finale. Brigid’s lost centre-forward Mark Cahill to a black card on the hour mark and almost immediately conceded a 10th point to Boland – his sixth of the proceedings.

Brigid’s held their nerve, though, and McCarthy ended a lengthy barren spell for his side with an insurance point deep into injury-time.

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