Junior A Football vs Fingal Ravens

Junior A Football vs Fingal Ravens
Sun, 24th July 2005
Result: 1-11 to 2-7

Picture the scene. Castleknock are one point up in the last minute of a championship quarter final when the referee awards a penalty to Fingal Ravens. What do you do? Do you take the point and take your chances on a replay or do you go for goal knowing full sure that it’s the last kick of the game? In the end the Ravens player did neither and hammered the ball off the crossbar which eventually rebounded to another Ravens player who shot wide. Following the kickout the referee blew the final whistle, thus closing the door on an exhilarating game of football out in the Naul on Sunday morning (24th July).

This was championship football at its finest. Majestic scores, big hits and each team going full gun at each other. Castleknock handed a debut to Paddy Molloy at centre forward and the line up was looking strong for the first time in many months due to the return from injury of a number of key players.

Castleknock played against the wind in the first half but made light work of the breeze to go 3 points up in the first 5 minutes with Eoghan O’Callaghan and Bar Farrelly combining well to build up the advantage. Ravens were stunned by the ferociousness of the Castleknock tackling. From 15 back to 1 Castleknock harried the Ravens side and never gave them time on the ball. Ravens managed to open their account through a free but Castleknock increased their lead with Paddy O’Brien, as he so often does, taking the ball on the overlap and sprinting away from the cover to score a fine point.

Ravens were handed a lifeline when Stephen Lynch attempted to do a Dara O Sé and catch a Ravens point attempt over the bar but the ball spilled unfortunately to a Ravens player who finished to the net. Unlucky for Lynchy who was having a fine game. The sizeable Ravens support roared their approval and the pressure was on Castleknock to respond. This they did manfully with the two wing backs Brian Kelly and Davy Leydon leading from the front. Kelly was bobbing and weaving like a boxer while Davey preferred the bulldozer approach and milled through the tough Ravens tackles. Some of Ravens tackles were bordering on the agricultural with number nineteen being the main culprit. John Greene in an unfamiliar role at half forward, being the recipient of one nasty challenge. The physio wanted to take him off as he looked dazed and sure enough for Greene’s second game in a row he ended up in Blanch Hospital on this occasion with concussion.

The game was nip and tuck. Alan Raftery and Denis Lally were repelling the long balls being bombed into the full back line. Then a ball was worked up the left wing following an intervention from Raff.  O’Callaghan took it on,  played it to Farrelly who laid off to Paddy Molloy. Paddy spotted Paddy O’Brien inside who took the pass on the run and buried it into the net. It was the perfect response. Ravens responded with a point to show some stomach for the battle. The score left them 3 behind going in at the break with the wind to play against.

Half Time: Castleknock 1-6 Fingal Ravens 1-3

The second half started at a furious pace with Ravens introducing some subs who seemed far better than the players they replaced. Strange selection policy by their manager alright.  Any advantage the wind might play for Castleknock didn’t seem to materialise as kicks that were held up in the first half were now landing beyond the end line and Mr Farrelly got a mite frustrated!! It was understandable as he was getting some fine ball in the first half.

The hits were still coming with Ravens going in hard on Paul Mulvhill who received a cut above the eye and had to go off temporarily to get it stitched. Davy Leydon also got a belt and received some treatment. Never have I seen so many lads go down with injuries. Any connection that there was a female physio about?

Still Castleknock kept Ravens at arm’s length with Stephen Lynch pointing a mighty effort from 30 yards on the right wing and Paddy Molloy being placed clean through with only the keeper to beat but he blazed over. Ravens were being held on the forty by some slick tackling by the defence but some errors, notably pick-ups off the ground resulted in Ravens reducing the gap with a few frees.

Ravens were attempting to come back into it and they received a lifeline with a dubious goal. The move started on the right wing and the Ravens forward was hustled into the corner. His kick across goal cleared everyone apart from another Ravens player on the far side. He cut in along the end line and passed to the full forward who boxed to the net although it looked like he was in the square. Joe Coyle, what are we paying you for at all!!! The Ravens crowd were ecstatic. Still Castleknock were a point ahead and had control of the game. A couple of chances to make the game safe went wide. With the clock ticking down Ravens hoisted a beauty over the bar from the left wing to leave the sides level.

Level. And two minutes left. Cometh the hour, cometh the men. Paddy O’Brien gained possession on the left wing, left a couple of defenders in his wake and slipped it to O’Callaghan who had made a great run through the middle. He steadied himself and split the posts from 21 yards. We were a point ahead!!! The ref had to blow it up. Ravens lifted their heads and worked the ball down the pitch in the last minute. They were awarded a penalty for a foot block. Well you know the rest – the rest they say is history.

The semi finals await and it would be a foolish man to bet against this Castleknock team going all the way. Mucho thanks go to the big support and the Bell for the food laid on after. Did anyone ring Darach Mac to tell him it got dished out?

Team: Cathal Gallagher, Stephen McCabe, Denis Lally, Alan Raftery, David Leydon. Paul Mulvhill, Brian Kelly, Eoghan O’Callaghan (0-1), Stephen Lynch (0-1), John Greene, Paddy Molloy (0-2), Paddy O Brien (1-2), Niall Tutty, Barry Farrelly (0-5), Stephen Keogan

Subs: Darach MacNamara, Eoin Ó Baoill, Eoin Lennon, Ambrose Galligan, Martin Griffin, John Corkery

“Oh! what is the differ’ in the ppppppprrrrrrrice of a heifer, between the pppppprrrrretty and the ppppppllllllain.”