Under 15 C Championship Final: Castleknock 5-6 (21) v Round Tower 3-11 (20). Venue: St Pergine’s, Blakestown Road, 12th November 2017. Report by Mick McGlynn
It was literally one kick of a ball that decided this epic encounter that ran over 70 minutes and had a packed stand with spectators forced to stand riveted. But it was yet more Championship heartbreak for our Under 15’s, after the disappointment of our hurlers in their Championship final two weeks previous. Towers players can take immense pride from their gutsy performance.
They led by the minimum at the break. Their seven points in the opening period were responded to by two goals for the northside team. The second half provided thrilling entertainment, with both side enjoying distinct advantages during course of the half that ran towards the 40 minute mark. Castleknock’s fifth goal, a minute before the 60 minute mark, provided them with a five point advantage and the tie looked finished. But a remarkable three minutes of play saw Towers draw level. Senan Walsh fielded and released to Aaron Curtis who struck over from the 21. Castleknock sought to go short with the resulting kick-out but it went awry and Curtis netted to reduce the deficit to one. Curtis then broke onto the follow-up kick-out to equalise. Towers had the full momentum and Curtis almost netted again but he was forced to toe-poke his effort and it was just wide of the post. Seven minutes into stoppage time Castleknock regained their composure and with the Towers lads retreating a substitute kicked the winner from 30 metres.
Castleknock had started the half by kicking three wides in a row they were made to pay. Sean McNabb intercepted and was supported by the overlapping Jason Meehan. He released to Sean O’Mahony and from a tight angle he struck low past the keeper. It left Towers 1-7 v 2-0 clear but Castleknock responded with a goal and a point to level. But our lads found the net again. Gareth O’Brien carried from defence and Walsh created an opening for Curtis. His strike for a point fell short but Stephen Barry fielded and finished low to the net. Meehan then fielded and Walsh set up Barry to point with his left. Castleknock kicked two wides but got an important break when a free from the 40 was misjudged and found the Towers net. Keeper Luke Geraghty then did well to field a high ball with the strong sun direct in his eyes but Castleknock followed up from the subsequent play to equalise. Ciaran Courtney kicked a free before the equalising response came courtesy of another placed ball. Castleknock garnered momentum and kicked another two points before their fifth goal set up the drama-filled finish.
It was a tense opening to the game, with Towers starting the stronger but kicking three wides. Keeper Geraghty palmed a goalbound effort onto the cross bar but Castleknock recycled and the ball was palmed to the net. John O’Malley found O’Mahony in space to kick our opener and Geraghty made another point-blank save to keep two between the sides. O’Mahony then picked smartly on the 50 and drove at the retreating defence before being tugged back. Courtney kicked the place ball. Curtis was denied following a good save by the keeper and Geragthy made another great block before Walsh poked to O’Mahony and he cut in from the right to point. Another palmed goal had Towers trailing again by three. Curtis went on a powerful run and a smart dummy left him in on goal before being pulled back. Courtney dispatched the free. Our fifth arrived when Walsh, Barry and supporting centre-back McNabb combined to tee up Curtis. Walsh followed it with a great kick from the right and he provided an assist to O’Mahony to edge us a point clear ahead of the pulsating second half.
Round Tower: Luke Geraghty, Liam O’Sulleabhain, Shane Morrow, Gareth O’Brien, Adam Byrne, Sean McNabb, Darragh Henderson, Ciaran Coutney, Conor Morrow, Senan Walsh, Aaron Curtis, Jason Meehan, John O’Malley, Stephen Barry, Sean O’Mahony. Subs: Gavin Curtin, Matthew O’Meara, Michael Broderick, Ben English, Alex Molloy, Aaron Doyle, Harry Kelly, Luke Garrigan, Josh Currivan