Brilliant Benildus blow St Declan's away for a place in Dublin 'A' final
ST BENILDUS 2-16
ST DECLAN'S 1-4
ST BENILDUS swept St Declan's aside to book their place in the Dublin Schools Senior Football 'A' final with a strong display at Belfield last Friday.
Just three days after their junior side had been routed by Coláiste Eoin, the Stillorgan side -- containing some of those juniors in their squad -- bounced back.
And they did it despite an early injury to influential midfielder Peter O'Curry, which forced the brilliant fielder to operate on the edge of square with marksman Glen Whelan moving into centrefield.
But rather than hampering the side, the move worked a treat as Whelan classily ran the game from the middle acres, while O'Curry caused problems for the northsiders' defence and scored both of his side's goals.
Despite a spirited performance from Adam Caffrey, Declan's were second best throughout as they came up against a mean, hardworking Benildus defence in no mood to cede any ground.
The half-back line, in particular, performed well, with Alan Carroll, Andrew Dolan and the impressive Stephen Fitzsimons getting on top from the start.
And with their backline base to build from, they set about building a score with points from Whelan, Paul Mannion and two frees from the accurate Feargal Duffy giving them a 0-4 to 0-0 lead.
Declan's were reeling, and things only got worse as Shane Butler and Feargal Duffy combined to set O'Curry up for his first goal 17 minutes in, which he took well to give keeper Luke Geelan no chance.
And he didn't wait long to strike for his second with Whelan feeding Duffy, who drew Geelan out before passing to O'Curry who finished into the empty net.
Whelan added a free before Caffrey finally got his side off the mark 24 minutes in, but Alan McMahon and another Duffy free made the score 2-7 to 0-1 at the interval.
And things only got worse after the break with Duffy and Whelan sending over successive points before Steven Donnelly doubled Senan Connell's boys' tally with a fine score.
But that couldn't inspire his team-mates as two Duffy frees and points from Colm Egan and a brilliant left-footed point from Whelan extended the lead with Jamie Bray scoring Declan's third.
A free and a well-taken penalty from Caffrey reduced the lead for the Cabra boys who never gave up in their efforts.
But Whelan and Stephen Fitzsimons finished the job for Benildus who were well worth their win and set up a final clash with Malahide CS or Coláiste Eoin, who meet tomorrow.
SCORERS -- St Benildus: Peter O'Curry 2-1, Feargal Duffy 0-7 (4f), Glen Whelan 0-4 (1f), Paul Mannion, Alan McMahon, Stephen Fitzsimons, Colm Egan 0-1 each. St Declan's: Adam Caffrey 1-2 (1pen, 2f), Jamie Bray, Steven Donnelly 0-1 each.
ST BENILDUS: Michael O'Connor; Dara Quinn, Aodhan Clabby, Karl McGrath; Alan Carroll, Stephen Fitzsimons, Andrew Dolan; Peter O'Curry, Colm Egan; Conor Butler, Fearghal Duffy, Alan McMahon; Glen Whelan, Paul Mannion, Shane Butler. Subs: Darragh Byrne for Mannion (37mins), David Byrne for O'Curry (43mins), Eric Barber for Egan (45mins), Brendan O'Rian for Duffy (51mins), Colin Naughton for Carroll (56mins)
ST DECLAN'S: Luke Geelan; Diarmuid Shiels, Sean Burke, Andrew Kavanagh; Andrew Kelly, Shane Bonfil, Steven Murray; Ryan Mulvenney, Jamie Bray; Sean O'Connor, Adam Caffrey, Eamon Dillon; Gareth Rooney, Sean Donaghy, Steven Donnelly. Subs: Dominic Mulligan for Shiels (39mins), Colm McHale for Murray (50mins).
REFEREE: D Deasy (Ballymun Kickhams).