ADULT FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
ST VINCENT’S 3-16 CASTLEKNOCK 1-8
By Daire Walsh
A combined haul of 3-8 from attackers Adam Baxter and Lorcan Smyth helped an impressive St Vincent’s to defeat Castleknock in an Adult Football League Division One clash at Pairc Naomh Uinsionn on Wednesday night.
Though there was little to separate the sides in the early stages of the contest, goals by Baxter and Smyth ensured Vincent’s were in the driving seat at the break. Despite the best efforts of Kevin Kindlon for Castleknock, the hosts ultimately maintained their 100% success rate in this year’s competition with an assured second half performance.
Prior to kick-starting the defence of their Dublin SFC crown with group encounters against Skerries Harps and Na Fianna, Vincent’s produced accomplished displays in league wins over St Sylvester’s (3-10 to 0-14) and St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh (3-10 to 0-7),
This placed them in prime condition for the visit of Castleknock - who have also enjoyed a productive 2018 to date. They had three points to spare (1-15 to 0-15) at home to Naomh Olaf in the opening round of the league and subsequently shared the spoils with Lucan Sarsfields on March 25th.
Indeed, following comprehensive championship successes at the expense of Clontarf and neighbours St Brigid’s, they also entered this contest in the middle of an unbeaten run. While county stars Ciaran Kilkenny and Seamus O’Carroll (Limerick) were absent from the Castleknock team, they were able to include a number of experienced operators.
Vincent’s fielded without the services of Tomas Quinn, with current Dublin panellist Shane Carthy taking over his right-footed place-kicking duties. ‘Knock begun the proceedings in a bright fashion - James Sherry and Kindlon both finding the target inside the opening two minutes.
Brian Mullins’ Vinnies were always going to find their feet eventually, though, and Baxter opened their account with a tremendous curled effort on the right-wing. Courtesy of back-to-back points via the boots of former Mayo corner-forward Enda Varley and the raiding Carthy, they edged in front for the first time on 12 minutes.
Castleknock responded through the increasingly-prominent Kindlon, only for his opposite number - Carthy - to tap over a free at the opposite end. With committed defensive work initially denying space to the Vincent’s attack, ‘Knock kept themselves in contention at the first-quarter mark.
Varley added to the Vincent’s tally off his dependable left-foot, but wing-forward Mikey Galvin soon split the posts for their Somerton Park counterparts. Yet, just when it appeared that a ding-dong battle was about to ensue, the Marino men started to control the tempo of the play.
When he was picked out in acres of space close to the Castleknock posts, Vinnies wing-back Michael Concarr set-up Baxter for a clinical three-point finish in the 24th-minute. Carthy (free) and Baxter embellished their cushion with additional scores, before Smyth claimed their second goal after executing a neat one-two with Varley.
To further compound their woes, Castleknock had lost centre-back Tom Shields to a black card a couple of minutes earlier. As a result of another Baxter contribution in stoppage-time, they were facing into a 10-point deficit (0-4 to 2-8) during the midway point in the action.
Although Vincent’s seemed to possess an unassailable lead, Castleknock did give themselves a fighting chance of success six minutes after the restart. In direct response to a magnificent Smyth single for their opponents, Kindlon fired beyond the reach of Michael Savage for a much-desired ‘Knock goal.
Traded scores between Baxter and Mikey Galvin (free) kept the gap at eight points, prompting the introduction of Niall Millmore and Darragh Warnock to the ‘Knock forward line. Millmore cancelled out a Joe Feeney point with his first touch, but in the midst of an 11-minute barren scoring spell by Castleknock, Vincent’s once again took charge.
Five unanswered points - the highlight being an outstanding 0-2 salvo by Smyth - placed the outcome firmly beyond doubt. Carthy, Baxter and substitute Tiernan Diamond also finished off excellent attacking moves in this period, as Vincent’s established a 13-point advantage.
Castleknock inside man Ben Galvin finally brought this scoring sequence to an end with a pointed free, but this only offered his side a temporary reprieve. Baxter flicked a high, raking Smith delivery to the net six minutes from time - bringing his final tally up to 2-5.
A beautiful swerved effort by Ben Galvin completed the scoring on the night for Castleknock - who lost out to Vinnies in the 2016 championship decider.
Castleknock will now aim to bounce back away to Naomh Maur on May 19, whereas St Vincent’s entertain Cuala - in their second home game of the year - on the same night.
Scorers - St Vincent’s: Adam Baxter 2-5 (0-1f), Lorcan Smyth 1-3, Shane Carthy 0-4 (3f), Enda Varley 0-2 (1f), Joe Feeney, Tiernan Diamond 0-1 each. Castleknock:Kevin Kindlon 1-2, Mikey Galvin (2f), Ben Galvin (1f) 0-2 each, James Sherry, Niall Millmore 0-1 each.
ST VINCENT’S: Michael Savage; Sean Lambe, Jarlath Curley, Craig Wilson; Fiachra Breathnach, Brendan Egan, Michael Concarr; Eamon Fennell, Lorcan Galvin; Shane Carthy, Lorcan Smyth, Joe Feeney; Enda Varley, Albert Martin, Adam Baxter. Subs: Adam Giblin for Varley (45), Tiernan Diamond for Feeney (49), Ger Brennan for Concarr (52).
CASTLEKNOCK: Morven Connolly; Paul Burke, Tom Quinn, Colm Neville; Rob Shaw, Tom Shields, Graham Hannigan; Jamie Tunney, Shane Boland; Mikey Galvin, Peter Sherry, Kevin Kindlon; John Kindlon, James Sherry, Ben Galvin. Subs: Sean Gibbons for Shields (27, BC), Darragh Warnock for J Kindlon, Niall Millmore for M Galvin (both 39).
Referee: Luke Lacey (Na Fianna).