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Saturday 16 December 2017

Colmcille and Fins to clash in decider

Whitehall Colmcille and Fingallians advanced to the final of the Dublin Junior 'B' Football Championship following semi-final wins over St Maur's and St Anne's respectively in Balgriffin last Sunday.

The first match of the high-quality double bill saw Whitehall withstand a brave second-half performance from Maur's to ultimately prevail by 2-13 to 2-10.

Central to Colmcille's victory was the contribution of the returning Eoghan O'Donnell, with the Dublin minor, who missed his side's Leinster MFC exit to Kildare through injury, kicking 1-3 in his first competitive outing since breaking his leg.

O'Donnell's goal helped Whitehall enjoy a 1-7 to 0-5 interval lead despite playing against the elements and Kevin O'Donoghue's early second-half strike pushed Whitehall eight points clear.

However, St Maur's responded admirably through goals of their own from Colm Lawlor and John Crosbie while Julian Sweetman, Chris Moore, Mick Maypotter and full-back Gerry Archer all shone as Maur's dragged themselves back into contention.

Their efforts proved in vain with Whitehall holding on to victory thanks to five points by Seán Ryan and solid displays from substitute John Moore, Brian Mulligan and Craig McCarthy, much to the delight of their manager Noel Ellis.

"We haven't reached too many finals down the years so what's seldom is wonderful. We have a settled team and football is going well within the club and we'll look forward to competing in the final," said Ellis.

"We just never got going in the first half," said Maur's boss Liam Butterly, who runs the team with Brian Mullen and Gary Byrne. "We improved a lot in the second half but sadly, we left ourselves with too much to do."

The second semi-final was far more clear-cut as goals from Mark McArdle and Peter Murtagh helped Fingallians record a comfortable 2-15 to 3-5 win over St Anne's.

Full-back David O'Brien, Barry Clarke, McArdle, Ian Kennedy and Richie Herrity all played pivotal roles for the Swords men who will work on the concession of three second-half goals when preparing for the final, provisionally scheduled for September 1.

ERIN BURN BRIGID'S

STARS OF ERIN produced an exceptional team display when overcoming St Brigid's by 3-10 to 1-11 after extra-time in their absorbing Dublin Junior 'C' Football Championship semi-final in Newcastle last Sunday afternoon.

The Glencullen men looked to be exiting the championship as they trailed by three points with just two minutes remaining but were handed a lifeline when awarded a penalty, which David Gill calmly converted to force extra-time.

The extra 20 minutes remained similarly tight until Stars plundered two late goals through Will Keane and Ciaran O'Connor to secure their progression at the expense of an extremely unlucky Brigid's outfit.

It was the Blanchardstown lads who initially looked primed for a final spot with full-back Gerry Byrne and centre-back Brendan McInerney offered a solid defensive spine while Dermot Reidy excelled in the midfield exchanges.

James Reilly and Neil Plunkett looked sharp in attack for Brigid's but Stars of Erin maintained their challenge through the encouraging efforts of Keith Manley, Brian O'Connor and Martin O'Connor, while Gill, Kevin Doolin and Mikey Cassells kicked some crucial points for the winners.

"We're delighted to be in the final and we know that anything can happen but we'll be confident of putting in a good display," said Stars player Gavin Mulvey.

"We knew that Brigid's were a very good team and that it would be a very difficult match and so it proved. The way we battled hard, especially in extra-time, was very encouraging," he said.

The other semi-final proved similarly tight, as Thomas Davis finished strongly to claim a 3-8 to 2-8 victory over Castleknock with minor Chris Sallier striking two first-half goals for the winners.

Sallier's brace and another goal by Kevin Ward handed the Kiltipper men the initiative early on with a sublime point from Paddy Kavanagh ensuring a healthy interval lead for Thomas Davis.

Castleknock responded superbly to overtake their opponents with 12 minutes remaining, but a wonderful Dean Brennan free and a Ward point regained the lead for Thomas Davis, who benefited from strong displays throughout from Andy Dowdall, Martin Devoy, Glen Farrelly and wing-back Ryan Deegan.

- RóNáN MAC LOCHLAINN

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