Brave Davis fall short in decider

By Fergus Balfe

A SPIRITED second-half revival was not enough for Thomas Davis, as they came up short in the Under 16A Hurling Championship Final against Castleknock in blustery conditions at O’Toole Park on Saturday.

The strong Castleknock outfit, led by talismanic full forward Luke Swan who finished with 2-8, used the favourable wind to great effect in the opening period to open up an 11-point lead.

Thomas Davis V Castleknock 06

Thomas Davis' Aaron Murphy Taylor

The early exchanges were scrappy, but half-forward Bryan Keogh drove over a couple from long range for Davis, cancelling out super scores from opposing centre forward Oisin O’Flannagain and Swan.

Castleknock struck the first telling blow midway through the half, when wing forward Ben Harding pulled on a loose ball to direct it into the net.

This began a prolific spell for Castleknock, with Swan notching a further three scores, before adding his first three-pointer after some great running from centre back Conor Murray.

Davis immediately responded in perfect fashion, as sub corner forward Oisín Horan rose highest to win an aerial challenge from Derek Hogan’s long free, diverting the ball home past ‘keeper Jack Ó Loinsigh.

However, a topsy-turvy few minutes was then rounded off with another Castleknock goal, as the outstanding Swan turned in the rebound from Davis goalkeeper Ben Rogers.

This soft concession made it 1-3 to 3-8 at half-time, and could have caused Davis heads to drop, but they came out fighting in the second half, with the free-scoring Keogh hitting three early scores.

Though Castleknock replied with long-range efforts from O’Flannagain and Swan, the Tallaght side, aided by the breeze, were now dominating territory and possession, narrowing the deficit further when forwards Kevin Mullarkey and Luke Dempsey combined for a well-worked score before Keogh slotted over two frees.

Another successful attempt brought the clinical forward’s tally to 0-9, before Murray got in on the act.

Yet Davis, still down by five, required goals, but the imperious Swan kept them at arm’s length with a couple of long-range scores to seal the Championship.

THOMAS DAVIS......1-11

CASTLEKNOCK......3-12

THOMAS DAVIS: B. Rogers, J. Lydon, D. Hogan, R. Smyth, A. Murphy-Taylor, A. Waddick, A. Dalton, F. Murray, S. Stewart, B. Keogh, L. Dempsey, C. Cronin, K. Mullarkey, T. Grehan, S. Byrne. SUBS: C. Carroll, A. O’Toole, K. McGill, O. Horan, L. McKenna, S. Byrne, A. Kilpatrick.

CASTLEKNOCK: J. Ó Loinsigh, D. Mullen, S. Forker, I. Carroll, R. O’Shea, C. Murray, E. McSherry, A. Watson, R. Deehan, L. Callinan, O. O’Flannagain, B. Harding, D. Murphy, M. Lynam, L. Swan. SUBS: K. Murray, T. Norton, M. Bohan, M. Connellan, R. Buckley, F. McAllorum.

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