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AFL 1: Game of the week - Castleknock v St. Brigids

AFL 1: Game of the week - Castleknock v St. Brigids

Sat, 15th July 2017




Goals in either half by Ben Galvin and Tom Shields proved decisive for Castleknock at Somerton Park on Saturday evening, when they edged a tense derby encounter with St Brigid’s in Division One of the Adult Football League.

With Philip Ryan and John O’Loughlin kicking three points each, Brigid’s led by two points (0-10 to 1-5) at the end of the third-quarter. However, a superb goal by Shields moved Castleknock into the ascendancy, and they held out for a crucial win during a frantic conclusion to the contest.

An in-form Brigid’s came into this game hoping to extend their winning run in the top-flight to five games, and had issued a serious warning to their rivals with a comprehensive 6-18 to 0-9 victory against Skerries Harps three days earlier.

They were without inter-county stars Paddy Andrews and Darren Freeman for this tie, however, and although corner-forward Collie Carr on target with just 21 seconds gone on the clock, the hosts quickly responded with the opening goal of the action.

A direct ball into the Castleknock inside line was flicked into the path of Ben Galvin by full-forward James Sherry, and he found the bottom right-hand corner of the Brigid’s goal in clinical style. With a strong breeze blowing against them, Castleknock knew that every score in the opening period was going to be vital.

Dessie Carlos raised a white flag from a routine free, and with a strong defensive structure, their opponents knew they would have to be patient in attack. Yet, with Ryan and O’Loughlin leading by example, they cancelled out the Castleknock cushion by the 10th minute.

Ryan split the posts from a tricky placed-ball attempt, and this was swiftly followed by eye-catching scores from Daire Plunkett and O’Loughlin. There was a lengthy stoppage at the end of the first-quarter because of an injury to Castleknock corner-back Matthew Griffin, and he was eventually replaced by Tommy Corcoran (who had earlier stepped in as a blood sub for Eoghan Quinn).

Back-to-back points by the reliable Ryan edged Brigid’s back in front, but Roscommon native Carlos displayed unerring accuracy at the opposite end to cut the gap to the bare minimum. There was little to separate the sides for the majority of the half, but in an extended period of stoppage-time, Mark Cahill (two) and O’Loughlin ensured that Brigid’s brought a 0-8 to 1-2 advantage into the break.

Ben Galvin had started alongside his brother Mikey in the Castleknock full-forward line, but even though he couldn’t continue after the restart, a family connection was maintained in their attack. Kevin Kindlon was joined by his brother John - and the latter opened the second-half scoring with a superb point off his right-foot on 33 minutes.

This was soon cancelled out by O’Loughlin, but with scores proving to be few and far between initially, Castleknock remained within touching distance. Kevin Kindlon kicked a tremendous score at the end of a powerful run, and Carlos was on hand to register his third score 13 minutes into the half.

Brigid’s were finding it difficult to add to their tally as the half developed, but a successful long-range shot by defender Alan Daly helped to settle their nerves. They remained in a strong position at this juncture in the play, but following a turnover inside their own half, Castleknock delivered a hammer blow to their near neighbours.

Shields secured possession in the 46th-minute, and this was the catalyst for a blistering counter-attack. This fast-paced move culminated in the marauding wing-back receiving a return ball close to goal, and despite the best efforts of Brigid’s netminder Stephen Moore, his firm strike produced three points for his side.

This enhanced the self-belief of Castleknock, and though they breathed a sigh relief as Ryan and Cahill missed frees into the elements, they held the upper hand in the closing moments. A terrific score from distance by Boland was supplemented by a Mikey Galvin point on the hour mark, and after a brace of Ryan set-pieces in injury-time were cleared away from danger, a determined Castleknock prevailed.

Results elsewhere help St Brigid’s to remain in third place in Division One, while Castleknock’s fourth win of the season gives them some breathing space in the bottom half of the table.

Scorers - Castleknock: Dessie Carlos 0-3 (3f), Tom Shields, Ben Galvin 1-0 each, Shane Boland, Kevin Kindlon, Mikey Galvin, John Kindlon 0-1 each. St Brigid’s: Philip Ryan 0-3 (2f), John O’Loughlin 0-3 each, Mark Cahill (f), Alan Daly, Collie Carr, Daire Plunkett 0-1 each.

CASTLEKNOCK: Morven Connolly; Rob Shaw, Graham Hannigan, Matthew Griffin; Sean Gibbons, Eoghan Quinn, Tom Shields; Tom Quinn, Shane Boland; Dessie Carlos, Kevin Kindlon, Colin Lynch; Mikey Galvin, James Sherry, Ben Galvin. Subs: Tommy Corcoran for E Quinn (11-18, blood sub), Corcoran for Griffin (18), John Kindlon for Carlos (30), Carlos for B Galvin (half-time).

ST BRIGID’S: Stephen Moore; Cathal Doyle, Jack Mullins, Alan McCarrick; Adam Keating, Gavin Kane, Alan Daly; Sean Murray, Niall Davey; Sean Egan, John O’Loughlin, Mark Cahill; Collie Carr, Daire Plunkett, Philip Ryan. Subs: Kevin Callaghan for Keating (11), Keating for Davey (35), Malachy Tighe for Carr (38), Chris Dorney for Murray (50), Sean Clarke for Keating (53).

By Daire Walsh

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