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Monday 5 December 2016

Jude's to be kings of Castle

Castleknock’s Shane Boland. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Castleknock’s Shane Boland. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

St Jude's will look to advance to their first county final in seven years when they face Castleknock in Parnell Park this evening.

The Templeogue outfit have regularly been at the business end of the championship in recent times but have suffered three semi-final defeats in the past four years, a sobering statistic to focus minds tonight.

While their defensive set-up is as miserly and disciplined as previous years, Jude's have added an attacking dimension to their play having been far too reliant on the outstanding individual play of Kevin McManamon for scores in previous campaigns.

Stellar

In midfield, Colm Murphy and Seamus Ryan are enjoying stellar seasons and blitzed their direct opponents in last week's impressive win over Kilmacud Crokes.

However, they have flattered to deceive on occasions and are susceptible to more fleet-footed opponents, a trait that Castleknock may look to expose this evening.

Ciarán Kilkenny looks certain to line-up in that sector and while that has restricted his scoring influence in attack, he has delivered a steadiness and regular supply of possession for his side.

His placement has allowed the impressive Shane Boland to enjoy a more advanced role and his powerful and well-timed surges from deep have been a feature of his side's progression.

There is a confidence to Castleknock's play that augurs well and the runs of Graeme Hannigan and Tom Sheils are key in puncturing the heavily-manned defence that Jude's adopt.

For Castleknock to prevail, they must not fall behind early on but Jude's still look a more seasoned and compact outfit either way.

VERDICT: St Jude's

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