Knock prove extra special
Flurry of points in overtime helps Castleknock hold off brave stand by Barróg boys to have final say
NAOMH BARRóG 1-12
EXTRA-TIME points from David Sweeney, Stephen Byrne and Jamie Tunney proved crucial in Somerton Park on Saturday afternoon, as Castleknock eventually saw off the challenge of Naomh Barróg to be crowned Dublin under-21 'C' champions after an enthralling contest.
Having only formed back in 1998, this is another huge step in the right direction for Castleknock, who look like having a big future in both codes in the years to come.
However, they didn't have it all their own way during this particular decider, as Barróg made by far the better start, with points by Darragh Magee and Evan Scanlon, as well as an excellent long-range effort from half-back Eoin O'Connor, edging them into a two-point lead at the end of the opening quarter.
Castleknock would soon kick into life, though, as four points without reply from Sweeney (2), Matthew Griffin and Byrne put them in front for the first time.
Points from Barróg corner-forward, former Dublin minor hurler Dean Flood, and full-back Hugh McGurr would cancel out this advantage, but Castleknock would have the last word in the first half, as Sweeney's speculative shot from an angle on the right dipped into the back of the Barróg net, over the head of the stranded Colm Quill.
This gave Castleknock a three-point advantage (1-5 to 0-5) heading into the second half, which would soon be increased to five after the resumption following well-taken scores from Shane Boland and Griffin.
Barróg refused to give in, however, and forced their way back into the fray with three points on the trot from half-forward Anto Brady, two of which came from placed balls.
A 52nd-minute pointed free for Castleknock by Griffin looked like being enough to get the hosts over the line to victory, but Barróg had different ideas, as a terrific goal from lively full-forward Dylan Lyons, followed swiftly by a point from Aaron Craig, meant that Barróg had edged in front in the final minute of normal time.
The pressure was now on Castleknock to come up with the appropriate response, and full-forward, Dublin minor panelist of last year, Ros Mullins, did just that by splitting the posts under enormous pressure with four minutes of added time gone, which meant it would take extra-time to decide matters.
This provided Castleknock with fresh impetus heading into the first additional period, and though Barróg drew first blood with a second point from O'Connor, scores from the outstanding Griffin, Byrne and Boland gave Castleknock a 1-12 to 1-10 lead at the midway point.
Moving into the concluding 10 minutes, Barróg showed great steel once again to restore parity through Magee and the excellent Flood, but Castleknock had that little bit extra in reserve, as points from Sweeney, Byrne and Tunney gave them a hard-earned three-point triumph.
This victory was made all the more remarkable by the fact that it was achieved without the services of dual inter-county minor star of last summer, Ciarán Kilkenny, though they did have an inspirational figure in the form of his Dublin colleague, Graham Hannigan.