Junior A Football Championship Quarter Final vs Garda

Tue, 29th August 2006

Result: 3-08 to 1-07


Relax folks it’s not the sound of an ambulance arriving to attend to another injured Castleknock player, it’s just the Garda arriving into Porterstown for their meeting with the men of Castleknock in the Junior A Football Championship Quarter Final.

The match had initially been fixed for the weekend of the 3rd September but some last minute changes meant it was moved to the preceding Tuesday night leaving it tight for mentors Willie Brennan and Mick Marren to get the team prepared. This also didn’t allow the Dublin lads to drown their sorrows or culchies to whoop it up after the game of the year in Croker on the previous Sunday. Castleknock began with some enforced changes with the Bull making an impressive return in place of the injured Denis Lally who had pulled up with a calf injury in training and Gerry Kelly coming in for the absent Tommy Corcoran.

The ball was thrown in under a blazing sun that resembled a giant Strepsil. Castleknock coughed into life when an early ball found Molloy in the corner and his sharp pass found Gerry Kelly who unfortunately put it wide of the posts. The sun was playing havoc with the game as both sides were wearing predominantly blue kits and playing into the sun made it difficult to find a teammate. Castleknock’s midfield was motoring well with Eoghan O’Callaghan fetching some great ball and going off on some driving runs. However maybe a bit of nerves affected the Castleknock lads as some handy balls were dropped and passes misplaced.

A free from Paddy Molloy opened the scoring. Paddy won the free himself after drawing a few defenders and forcing them into committing the foul. Castleknock were again guilty of some sloppy play which probably didn’t make for pleasant viewing but they extended their lead through Rory Corcoran who found space to wriggle free for a score following a fine ball from Sam. Down the far end Garda were being repelled at every opportunity and they were limited to hail mary efforts where one or two found their way over the bar. The Bull settled nicely into the full back role with Raff and Brian Kelly sweeping under any breaking ball and delivering it forward.

Castleknock then took a goal lead when Paddy O’Brien took the ball by two defenders and somehow when shooting for a point, the ball deceived the keeper and ended up in the back of the net. This settled the Castleknock men for a while and although the Guards managed two points, the home side went in at the break happy enough to be three points up after a bit of a lacklustre first half.

Half Time: Castleknock 1-2 Garda 0-2

After the half time drop of water, Castleknock upped the ante and O’Callaghan won the first ball in the middle and found Molloy with a pass but Paddy’s subsequent shot drifted wide. It was a message to the Old Bill that Castleknock were going to drive on and Rory Corcoran showed his class with two expert points after making room inside following perfectly weighted passes from out the field. The other minor, Damien Griffin, followed this up with a point of his own. After collecting a breaking ball around midfield, he surged into open ground and with no other options on, he pointed from about 35 yards out.

Castleknock were motoring well and any attacks by the Garda were repelled by John Mac and Sam doing the business with the Bull sweeping up any ball that got in behind. Another long ball up the field found Rory one on one with his marker. As he attempted to go round the Garda defender he was upended. Following some fine pirouetting by Rory he ended up landing on the edge of the large parallelogram and the referee awarded a penalty. Paddy Molloy, being the shy and retiring individual that he is, was reluctant to take the kick but in the end he did. The keeper made a fine save but the ball rebounded to Paddy who stuck it in the back of the net. Castleknock were cruising at this stage and another pointed attempt by Paddy somehow found its way into Garda net after a misjudgement by the Garda goalkeeper.

Garda sensing their chance was almost gone threw caution to the wind and attacked in droves. However the home defence held firm with the Bull and Raff, time and again, emerging with the ball and clearing upfield. The Guards scored a consolation goal but at that stage the game was over and despite one last scare when Eoin O’Baoill made a fine save the match was wrapped up.

So despite a match which resembled more of a league game in intensity rather than a championship one, Castleknock advance to the semi final stage of the Junior A championship. A massive achievement for the team considering they only went up from Junior B last year. Get your thermos and sambos ready for Parnell Park!

Castleknock: Eoin O’Baoill, Brian Kelly, Paul Mulvhill, Alan Raftery, Damien Griffin (0-1), John McMennamin, Ambrose Galligan, Eoghan O’Callaghan (0-1), Donal Brady, Paddy O’Brien (1-0), Fergus Reilly, Damien O’Grady, Paddy Molloy (2-2), Gerry Kelly, Rory Corcoran (0-4)
Subs: Davy Leydon, Declan Reilly, James O’Connor, Barry Farrelly, Stephen Lynch, Alex Griffith