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long wait over for Syls

There were scenes of great joy for St Sylvester's at Blakestown Road on Sunday afternoon as the Malahide club secured their first Dublin U15 'A' Football Championship crown in all of 24 years with a commanding victory over Lucan Sarsfields.

It wasn't always plain sailing for Syls, however, and at the end of the first quarter, only two points separated the teams.

Yet, a coolly-converted 20th-minute penalty from substitute Jack Whelan provided daylight between the teams and from that point onwards, the Northsiders held the upper hand.

Played in near perfect conditions at the home of St Peregrine's GAA, it was Syls who hit the ground running during the opening exchanges with points from influential centre-back Daniel Denneher (free) and wing-forward Luke Hughes.

A third point followed from corner-forward Daniel Brennan, and had it not been for the razor-sharp reaction of Lucan netminder Liam Byrne, they may well have raised their first green flag of the game.

Even at this early juncture in the contest, the pace and movement of Syls was evident, but Lucan's Daire Newcombe almost secured a three-pointer before Emmet Allen eventually opened their account with a point on 13 minutes.

This score helped to ease the nerves of the Lucan faithful, but just seven minutes later, they were served with a couple of hammer blows.

Centre-forward Sean Daly raced through the heart of their defence to set up a gilt-edged goal chance for Hughes, who was hauled down inside the area by Lucan's Eoghan Reynolds. This led to a black card for the full-back, and in his absence Whelan (who had entered the fray 16 minutes in) made no mistake from 11 metres.

Syls now had a vital edge approaching the mid-way point, and thanks to unanswered points by Brennan, Whelan and Denneher (free), they held a 1-6 to 0-1 lead at the beginning of the second period.

With their opponents tending to funnel a number of players back inside their own half, Lucan knew that at every score was going to be a hard-earned one.

The lively Harry Ladd did kick a point upon the resumption, but Syls were quick to respond with well-worked efforts courtesy of Whelan and Brennan.

Yet, just when matters were looking decidedly ominous for Lucan, they received a potential lifeline nine minutes into the half, as an indiscretion by Denneher resulted in the second penalty of this showpiece.

Outstretched

Centre-fielder Ben Coffey (pictured, left) had the opportunity to substantially reduce his side's deficit, but he was ultimately denied by the outstretched hand of Syls shotstopper Sean O'Connor.

This looked like being the last chance that Lucan had of forcing their way back into the reckoning, and even though Coffey calmly slotted over a place-kick, Daly quickly cancelled out his contribution at the other end.

Brennan's neat low finish effectively placed the tie beyond Lucan's reach 13 minutes from time, and with Cian McLaughlin also registering a 51st-minute goal, Syls were preparing to seal the silverware in style.

To Lucan's credit, they continued to search for scores late on, and Conor Callaghan found the net in clinical fashion. Ladd also added a brace of frees, but it wasn't enough to spoil the party for a jubilant Sylvester's.

Scorers - St Sylvester's: D Brennan 1-3; J Whelan 1-2 (1-0 pen); C McLaughlin 1-0; D Denneher 0-2 (2f); S Daly, L Hughes 0-1 each. Lucan Sarsfields: C Callaghan 1-0; H Ladd 0-3 (2f); B Coffey (f), E Allen 0-1 each.

St Sylvester's: S O'Connor; A Lynch, D O'Brien, L Butler; P Butler, D Denneher, R Manzenilla; M Young, O Dullaghan; B McCarthy, S Daly, L Hughes; C Casey, B O'Neill, D Brennan. Subs: J Whelan for Casey (16), C Mulcahy for McCarthy (29), C McLaughlin for O'Neill (44), S Wogan for Daly (58), C Miskelly for Hughes (58), L Gibson for P Butler (60).

Lucan Sarsfields: L Byrne; I Crowley, E Reynolds, R Ward; C McDonnell, L Walsh, J Murphy; E Allen, B Coffey; D Newcombe, C Callaghan, E Torsney; N Moynihan, D Farrell, H Ladd. Subs: A Nohily for Reynolds (20, BC), C Farrell for Allen (43, BC), O Tully for Farrell (54), C Gaire for Crowley (54).

MENTORS - St Sylvester's: B Barnes, P Reinhardt, D Lynch. Lucan Sarsfields: F Walsh, B Murphy, K Allen, S Ladd, D Gaire, D Moynihan.

REF: A Larkin (St Peregrine's).

WIDES - St Sylvester's: 6 (4); Lucan Sarsfields: 7(3).

CONDITIONS: Bright and breezy with sunny spells.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Daniel Brennan (St Sylvester's).


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