(03 Sep 2019)

By Daire Walsh 

Courtesy of an emphatic 1-16 to 0-6 triumph over Ballyboughal on Saturday evening, Castleknock gained promotion from Division Two of the Adult Football League.

Following the disappointment of relegation in 2018, this represents an automatic return to the top-flight for Lar Norton’s outfit. They have secured their league objective for the year with a game to spare and with two wins already under their belts in the Group Four of the Senior One Football Championship, things could get even better for the Somerton Park men.

Since losing out to St Sylvester’s at Broomfield on May 8, Castleknock’s form in the second-tier has been imperious. Nine wins on the bounce meant they were on the brink of claiming top honours in advance of their trip to Ballyboughal.

A recent encounter against Na Fianna ‘B’ was abandoned due to an injury suffered by Castleknock defender Graham Hannigan and that is set to be re-fixed in the coming weeks. Ballyboughal have enjoyed a productive campaign in Division Two and recently defeated the aforementioned Sylvester’s.

This was followed by a comprehensive reversal at the hands of Scoil Ui Chonaill on the Clontarf Road, but a return to home soil ensured Castleknock couldn’t afford to rest on their laurels. At the end of the opening-quarter in the north county venue, the visitors had to be content with a single point advantage (0-3 to 0-2).

In addition to contributing a brace of scores in this juncture, Limerick native Seamus O’Carroll released the industrious Mattie Walsh for a fine effort. Inevitably, Castleknock started to a grip on proceedings.

Despite being without county footballer Ciaran Kilkenny for a large chunk of the term, their attack has been consistently functioning at a high level. Thanks to unanswered points from Walsh and the ever-dangerous O’Carroll (three), Castleknock established a significant gap between themselves and the hosts.

This placed them in the frame for a 13th league triumph of 2019 and while Ballyboughal dug deep to cut their deficit to a manageable three points on the resumption, they subsequently found themselves back in the driving seat.

Defenders Ciaran Murphy and Tommy Corcoran drove forward to kick impressive points, supplementing two-point salvos for Kevin Stephenson, Gerard McDermottroe and substitute John Kindlon. O’Carroll finished the contest with 0-6 to his name, but it Walsh’s goal on 52 minutes that proved to be the icing on the cake for Castleknock.

A number of sides are battling it out for the remaining promotion spots, with St Sylvester’s, Clontarf and Naomh Mearnog all currently on 22 points. While Syls and ‘Tarf were idle at the weekend, Mearnog made a statement of intent in their 3-11 to 2-12 victory over Scoil Ui Chonaill in Portmarnock.

Syls are due to face ‘Tarf and Mearnog in the remaining rounds of the competition as the race to join Castleknock in the top-tier looks set to go down to the wire.

Elsewhere, St Mary’s Saggart recorded a convincing 0-17 to 0-9 home success at the expense of Round Tower Clondalkin. Towers had made a bright start to the action, with Thomas Galvin and Eric Finn finding the target early on.

Even though Mary’s responded with a brace of unanswered scores, another Galvin free gave the Clondalkin visitors a slender cushion on 10 minutes. Finn also added a second point to his personal tally, but Mary’s took control as the half progressed.

They brought a 0-9 to 0-4 buffer into the interval and despite the best efforts of Galvin and Ian Ward, Towers couldn’t quite stem the Saggart tide when the action resumed. Galvin’s final score of the tie left the Mary’s lead at five points in the 52nd-minute but following 0-3 without reply in the closing moments, it was the hosts who ultimately prevailed.

They are now six points clear of Naomh Fionnbarra and St Patrick’s, Palmerstown, who suffered a 4-28 to 0-6 defeat at the hands of Round Tower Lusk.

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