Perfect Blend Sees Junior ‘F’ Hurlers Through To Final

Castleknock 3-15 Erin’s Isle 3-11

The perfect blend of youth and experience was enough to give Castleknock a thrilling victory over Erin’s Isle in this hugely entertaining Junior ‘F’ Hurling Championship Semi-Final in Finglas this afternoon (Sept.20).

Castleknock came from five points down early in the second-half to win by four in a game that was full of excellent scores and an abundance of superior skill and with the game in the melting pot right to the end, the two evenly matched teams provided a level of entertain rarely equalled this year.

A bright Castleknock opening produced fine points for Matthew Lynam and Ruairi Deehan but a well worked Erin’s Isle goal five minutes in showed that Castleknock would be made fight all the way if they were to reach the Final.

A Hugh Hogan point settled Castleknock and then Sean Kennedy cut loose with a point followed by a flashing goal within the space of two minutes to push Castleknock clear 1-4 1-1. Erin’s Isle hit back with three points to level the scores before a Paul Hammel free in defence was superbly fielded by Matthew Lynam who then cut through and sent the sliotar crashing to the net.

Matthew Lynam and Hugh Feeney points kept Castleknock in front but a good Erin’s Isle spell of 1-2, just before the interval, meant that the home team enjoyed a four-point half-time lead, 2-6 3-7.

It looked ominous when they increased that to five less than 30 seconds after the restart but from then until the final whistle Castleknock outscored their opponents by 1-9 0-3 and while the outcome was always in doubt the defensive display during that second-half was top-drawer throughout. 

Erin’s Isle were held scoreless for almost 17 minutes, during which time Matthew Lynam fired over four frees, a sign of the pressure being exerted, and substitute Rian Buckley grabbed one from play, the first of his two, to level the match again.

Erin’s Isle refused to concede however and they went two points clear again before with six minutes left Hugh Hogan stole through the home defence before unleashing an unstoppable shot to the corner of the Erin’s Isle net to make it 3-12 3-10.

Shortly afterwards with the game finely balanced Tiago Mantero sacrificed himself to a yellow card to stop Erin’s Isle’s most dangerous forward but almost immediately Erin’s Isle were down to 14 men when their centre-back picked up a second yellow red. (It was the second red of the day as referee Adam Kelly had earlier shown a red card to an invading collie dog for constant encroachment on the pitch).

Even then nothing was certain and it took classy points from Gerry Mulryan, Hugh Hogan and Ruairi Deehan, all from play, to see Castleknock home. Full credit to both teams for giving us one of the games of 2020 and what a display from those Minors who made the step up to Junior today. Brilliant stuff from them all. Now it’s on to the Final against Fingallians who beat Kilmacud in the other S-F.

Castleknock: Eoin McCambridge; Aonghus Murray; Barry Brennan; Niall Walsh; Mark Connellan; Paul Hammel; Tiago Mantero Belard; Hugh Hogan (1-2); Ruairi Deehan (0-2); Shaun Mealia; Matthew Lynam (1-6); James Doherty; Sean Kennedy (1-1); Hugh Feeney (0-1); Gerry Mulryan (0-1). Subs: Rian Buckley (0-2); David Mullins; James Finan; Vinny Needham.

Management: Patsy Hough; John Kilkenny
Report: Kevin Mallon