Adult Hurling vs Whitehall
Sun, 19th March 2006
Result: 3-06 to 0-16
Despite an under-strength Castleknock team, the Junior Hurlers, playing in 13-a-side format, demonstrated an excellent team effort in narrowly losing to a youthful Whitehall Colmcille team, at Cloghran. In truth, despite finishing a point down, it would have been grand larceny for Castleknock to have won this game, as the superior fitness of the Colmcilles ensured them the majority of possession and control of play throughout the game, particularly in the first half when they dominated play with the wind at their backs.
Had it not been for their wasteful free-taking and poor finishing, they could have added an additional 10 points to their tally.
Castleknock, on the other hand, will be encouraged by a number of strong performances. Brian Lawlor’s reactions were outstanding when his goalmouth was threatened, managing to keep a clean sheet despite several fine scoring chances for the Colmcilles. Ciaran O’Dwyer scored an outstanding long-range point in the first half, boosting team spirit at a critical juncture. Newer team members, such as Danny Stewart and Vinny Needham showed their commitment to the team with excellent performances, showing that there is certainly much promise to look forward to from them.
During the first half, Whitehall dominated general play. They cleared up the majority of 50/50 balls in the middle of the park, and used that possession to keep relentless pressure on the Castleknock defence. With the Castleknock half-forwards playing deep into Whitehall territory, the plentiful space in midfield allowed the sprightly Whitehall half-forwards much opportunity to run off the ball and set up attacking platforms. The strong wind assisted their long-range point efforts, but their wastefulness in possession (also due to the pressure of the Castleknock half-backs) left them narrowly ahead at half time, despite their dominance of play. At half-time, Castleknock were fortunate to be still in the game.
In the second half, spurred on by a tongue-lashing from Colm O’Dea and Timmy Dawson, Castleknock lifted their game in all areas of the field. The Castleknock half-forwards loitered in the midfield area, closing down much of the free space which had suited the Colmcilles during the first half. This allowed Castleknock to gain more control of midfield and engage in a more attacking style of play. As this continued, Castleknock’s confidence grew progressively stronger, and the forwards took their scoring chances with economy.
In the last five minutes of the game, both teams had questionable points awarded them, and with two minutes to go the teams were level. Castleknock, sensing the possibility of a cheeky victory tried relentlessly to convert another score, but in the end the winning point came off the stick of a Whitehall Colmcille forward, to give his team the victory they deserved.
Despite playing poorly, Castleknock can take some positives from this game – in particular the resilient team spirit and the strong performances from the younger team members.
Castleknock Team: Brian Lawlor, Patsy Haugh, Vinny Needham, Keith O’ Brien, Aidan Hassett, Danny Stewart, Derek ‘Dougie’ Cormican(0-3f), Gerry Mulryan, Enda Shiels, Ciaran O’ Dwyer(1-1), Tommy Griffin(0-2), Paul Sweeney(1-0), Ken Walsh(1-0)
Note: There were two full-back and full-forwards for this game.