AIB GAA Football All Ireland Junior Club Championship Semi-Final – Kenmare Shamrocks (Kerry) 0-15 Castleknock (Dublin) 1-12

Opportunity knocks again

By Therese O’Callaghan for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Castleknock (Dublin) 1-12 Kenmare Shamrocks (Kerry) 0-15 (aet)

Fortunes fluctuated wildly in an intriguing All-Ireland Club JFC semi-final in Mitchelstown yesterday and both sets of fans will be happy to return for the replay, more than likely to be next Saturday. Both sides dominated at different stages but when the need was greatest the Kerry champions who, with a man down, came from four points behind, to draw in normal time (1-8 to 0-11). In the end though, Castleknock needed a late point from Ciarán Kilkenny to save their day. “I am just glad to get a crack at it another day,” said Kilkenny. “The ground was very heavy. We were very unlucky not to win it in normal time. Kenmare are a very good team. It was great football, it was pure football.”

Castleknock started well, converting a penalty from Rory Corcoran. However, Kenmare worked their way back through the outstanding Paul O’Connor and DJ Brennan to go in level at the break, 1-2 to 0-5. However, with the Kenmare wides tally growing and Castleknock’s Kilkenny, Jamie Tunney, sub Kevin Kindlon and Shane Boland prominent, they moved four points clear, 1-8 to 0-7. Both goalkeepers made decisive saves, and then with seven minutes remaining the odds were stacked against Kenmare when Kevin O’Sullivan got his marching orders after receiving a second yellow card. Incredibly they rallied with points from Brennan, O’Connor and two from the hard-working Mark Crowley.

Extra-time followed with the injured Stephen O’Brien introduced for Kenmare and Paddy O’Dwyer coming in to give Kenmare the full complement again. With O’Connor and Kilkenny trading points the sides were deadlocked again following the first period of extra-time, 1-9 to 0-12. Kindlon edged Castleknock ahead once more only to be pegged back by wing-back Aidan Crowley. Mark Crowley looked to have secured the winner a minute from time, but after missing an earlier effort, Kilkenny made no mistake to tie up matters for the final time.

Kenmare manager Pat O’Connor said he couldn’t ask for more from his determined charges. “We knew they wouldn’t give in. They battled away. There were several occasions when we thought it was gone from us. A draw is a fair result.” Of Stephen O’Brien who didn’t start because of a serious knee injury, he commented. “On medical grounds the boy should not be next or near the field. You are always caught between a rock and a hard place. He asked to come in because he saw that we needed him. He played his heart out. He had an operation seven weeks ago. I don’t know what the situation will be next week.”

Scorers for Castleknock: R Corcoran 1-1 (1-0 pen, 0-1f), C Kilkenny (0-2 frees) and K Kindlon 0-4 each, T Corcoran 0-2, S Boland 0-1.

Scorers for Kenmare Shamrocks: P O’Connor 0-7 (0-2 frees), M Crowley 0-4, DJ Brennan 0-3 (0-2 frees), A Crowley 0-1.

CASTLEKNOCK: A Griffith; J King, G Hannigan, T Quinn; T Shields, C Prunty, V Turner; C Kilkenny, S Boland; T Corcoran, D Curran, J Tunney; C Neville, R Corcoran, D Carlos.

Subs: K Kindlon for T Quinn (ht), M Griffin for D Curran (44), E O’Brien for T Shields (60).

KENMARE SHAMROCKS: H Murphy; D Crowley, T O’Sullivan, C O’Sullivan; A O’Callaghan, S O’Leary, A Crowley; S Dalton, J Wharton; S Duncan, M Crowley, A O’Leary; DJ Brennan, P O’Connor, K O’Sullivan.

Subs: R O’Sullivan for S Duncan (44), S O’Brien for A Crowley (50), A Crowley for DJ Brennan (74).

Referee: D O’Mahoney (Tipperary)

* Before the throw-in, a minute’s silence was observed for former Dublin Kevin Heffernan who passed away on Friday.