Castleknock prevail against Templeogue/Synge Street
Castleknock 0-11 – 0-8 Templeogue/Synge Street
Fiery, tense, physical, raw, passionate ; this was championship football alright, though neither side ever got into the kind of rhythm they would have liked to have done.
Within minutes of the opening, the key match-ups became apparent as Ciarán Kilkenny, wearing number 10, went head to head with Dublin team-mate Dennis Bastick, and Grassroots-Gaa 2016 Team of the Year midfielder, Shane Boland, faced Dublin wing forward, Niall Scully, at midfield. As expected, the key duel saw Grassroots-Gaa 2016 Player of the Year nominee, Tom Quinn, go full back on Dublin full forward, Eoghan O’Gara.
With none of the four midfielders staying glued to their opposite numbers, the ball carrying of all four in the middle third was a key feature throughout, with Ciarán Kilkenny initially to the fore.
Saying that, it wasn’t so much that Castleknock had dominated that they went 0-4 to no score up in the opening quarter, that TSS appeared nervy up front. They had plenty of chances early on but couldn’t apply the finishes. They would put no less than four shots wide in this period, including a free that Scully would have hoped to have converted.
It could have been worse for TSS had James Sherry converted a goal chance early on, but he blazed it wide.
Crucially, Eoghan O’Gara found himself not just having to deal with the man-marking prowess of Tom Quinn, but was typically surrounded by numbers of Knock defenders. They would limit him to a tally of being fouled for three scored frees in total.
Ross Mullins, for his part, was key for Castleknock early on and would have a big impact throughout, from wing back, as would Ben Galvin who would score two points from centre forward.
For the most part, from the off, kick-outs were short and towards the corners, with neither keeper taking any chances. This made for lots of slow build up play and a game dominated by trying to break down zonal defences, which contributed significantly to TSS’s woes up front. They were frequently under pressure while trying to shoot.
TSS were dealt a significant blow in the first half when Mark Swaine, lined out at centre back, came off with what appeared to be calf injury, and was replaced by O Barrett, though Barret would look lively throughout.
The TSS supporters were becoming restless as they saw their side get no return from a hefty amount of possession early on. That was before the O’Gara brothers came alive with Cillian scoring two and Eoghan forcing two frees with Scully converted.
Castleknock however, would tag on three more, Kilkenny bringing his total to two for the first half, to leave a half-time score-line of 0-7 to 0-4.
Tension mounted as the TSS boys waited, and waited, for Castleknock to reappear for the second half, and when they finally did, the tension boiled over into skirmishes around the field which involved more than just some pushing and shoving.
Hopes that Dessie Carlos’ second half arrival would boost Caslteknock were short lived as he left the field injured, shortly afterwards. Meanwhile, early in the second half, Dennis Bastick began to dominate the midfield area, chipping in with a point.
Combined with Bastick coming to the fore in the middle, the impact of M Hayes who came on up front for TSS and scored, was significant, as TSS brought it to a two point game, 0-8 to 0-6, before the 40 minute mark.
As the two sides largely continued with policy of playing safe kick-outs to the full back line, the game continued to stutter along with slow possession build up being the mainstay for both sides.
However, Castleknock’s defence continued to hold strong against what looked like it might be a resurgent TSS, and they would put up three points on the trot in the ensuing period. They forced two more frees which Séaumus Carroll converted, and what had become a generally less involved Ciarán Kilkenny, at this point, scored another, to take a 0-11 to 0-6 lead.
With just a few minutes remaining and TSS looking like they’d certainly need a goal, Eoghan O’Gara broke the line and threatened, but Tom Shiels took one for the team, took no chances, and pulled him down, sitting out the rest of the game, black carded. The ensuing free left TSS trailing by four, and still in need of a goal.
The late goal chance of the game, however, came at the other end as Castleknock forced an excellent save from Philip Colly between the sticks. TSS could only manage one more point and Castleknock ran out deserving winners, 0-11 to 0-8.
Castleknock : M Connolly, C Neville, T Quinn, G Hannigan, R Mullins, T Shiels, P Bourke, C Kilkenny, S Boland, M Griffin, B Galvin, R Shaw, S O’Carroll, J Sherry, C Lynch Subs : D Carlos, S Gibbons, J Kindlon, K Kindlon, P Sherry
Scorers : S O’Carroll 0-4 (3 frees), C Kilkenny 0-3, B Galvin 0-2, P Bourke 0-1, C Lynch 0-1.
Templeogue/Synge Street : P Colly, R Power, S Brew, K Devine, S McGovern, M Swaine, C McKiernan, D Bastick, N Scully, C Morley, G Vickery, K Hughes, A O’Flynn, E O’Gara, C O’Gara Subs : O Barret, M Hayes, M French, C Wilde, C Power.
Scorers : N Scully 0-4 (3 frees), C O’Gara 0-2, D Bastick 0-1, M Hayes 0-1
By Claire Graham
Photos by Liz Forde