Craobh Chairáin produced a superb team performance when defeating old rivals O'Toole's by 5-9 to 1-7 in their Dublin Under 16 'C' Shield final at St Anne's Park last Thursday evening.
The foundation for their victory lay in an excellent defensive display during the first half as the Donnycarney outfit led by 2-3 to 0-4 despite playing into the teeth of a stiff breeze for the first 30 minutes.
"We started very well and I think it was very important that we had the lead at half-time," said Craobh mentor Joey Maher.
"The work of the lads in defence was great in that first-half as they were under a lot of pressure so to lead by five points at the break was a huge boost for us," he added.
The reargaurd action of Craobh was typified by the performance of Daniel Ryan, who played a key role for Chiarain's from the pivotal full-back position, and on the few occasions that O'Toole's breeched their opponents defence, goalkeeper Daniel O'Neill pulled off a string of excellent saves to keep his side ahead.
Cian O'Loughlin was another player to excel in the Craobh defence from half-back, but the most influential performer for the winners was midfielder Paddy Leonard, who controlled affairs from the middle third, both in a defensive and attacking capacity.
Leonard's excellence provided a platform for the Chiaráin's attack that shone through the exploits of Cian Derwin and Billy Ryan while full-forward Paul Pettigrew chipped in with two goals for the winners.
The 14-point margin between the sides was harsh on O'Toole's, who battled gamely throughout, with Alan McGovern, Kieran Brarazon and Karl Fox working tirelessly to wrestle the initiative away from Craobh.
"It was a great win for all the lads and a very good game between two teams that know each other well," said Maher.
"It was a typically tough, uncompromising match between two old rivals and we were just lucky to get the scores when we did as it was far tighter than the final score shows.
"We didn't start the league well earlier in the year but we have shown improvement with every match that we have played," added Maher.
Craobh Chiaráin Panel: Daniel O'Neill, Stephen O'Brien, Daniel Ryan, Callum Murphy, Cian O'Loughlin, Calvin Benson(capt), Christian Walton, Paddy Leonard, Jamie Farrell, Cian Derwin, Billy Ryan, Eoin Forbes, Ross Madden, Paul Pettigrew, Danny Keynes, Fiacra Maguire, Gavin Poole, Alex Dodu, Soirin Botanru, Aidan Docherty.