While there were only 8 teams in AFL5 South, in AFL10 South there were 9 teams and thus the St Brendan's 2nd XV, in partnership with Stoneybatter Pride of Place, took centre stage in the final game of the AFL10 season under the Friday Night Lights in Grangegorman. While the game is Castleknock was, in essence, a dead rubber, with neither team getting promoted or relegated, it was nonetheless a useful log loosener prior to the start of the Championship in three weeks time.
But before we go any further, lets rewind the clock back 48 hours to Wednesday evening and both St Brendan's Ladies Football teams were involved in their final Group games in their respective Junior B and G Championship. For the 1sts, it was victory in Ballyboughal on a final score of 1-19 to 2-8 with Niamh Willis getting the all important goal. St Brendan's travel to Stillorgan on August 25th for the Semi Final against Kilmacud Crokes. However for the 2nd XV, its the Junior G Shield as a 1-10 to 2-7 draw against Clontarf was not enough to progress to the Semi Finals of the Junior G Championship and thus have to settle for a place in the Shield competition which The Female Darkest Force will go in as defending champions.
SO back to this Friday and it took The Darkest Force just three minutes to get the opening score with a point from Joe Kenny after coming off the shoulder of Sean Whyte to collect the pass to get the ball over the bar. Brian Hobbins hit a wide afterwards but made amends a minute later when, after winning a Castleknock kick out, Sean Whyte won a Mark, played the ball to James Mcgee, then Cian Glennon and finally Hobbis with the citeog to make it 2 points to no score.
11 minutes gone and Castleknock took the lead with three points on the spin. Darragh Donnollys kickout bounced of Oisin Dolan's chest and into Tommy O'Donnell and passed to Ferdia Donohoe, who then found Kenny who jinxed his marker and kick the ball over the bar and a level game again, 3 points each.
Hobbins gave his side the lead when collecting a diagonal ball from Liam 'Oisin Mullin' Atkinson and using the citeog to good use to score the point and the citeog was called upon again a minute later to make it a two point lead this time The Milltown Four Star James McGee supplying the final pass.
That score became six points to three when Atkinson played a long pass to Ferdia Donohoe, who could have played an Advanced Mark, but played on and into McGee who jinked his way through some Castleknock defenders to get the point.
After winning several Castleknock kick outs, Sean Whyte used the citeog to blast the ball over the bar and a four point lead. Darragh Donnolly ensured the lead remained four points by producing a point blank save and clearance by Malachi Doyle. Oisin Dolan played a rather unortodox hand pass to Joe Kenny and score his third point of the evening 0-8 to 0-3.
Castleknock did defeat Darragh Donnolly for goal when a shot went through a forest of players legs and also took a plucky bounce with defied Donnolly. 0-8 to 1-3 was the half time score.
'The Dream Maker' Sean Dardis came on as a second half sub and made an immediate impact by winning a turnover played the ball onto Hobbins and onto Kenny who shot just curled past the right side of the post and a three point lead again 0-9 to 1-3.
'The Goal Getter' Gavin Muldoon was desparate to add to his goal tally in the big ball game but got fouled in the process, up stepped Kenny to point, what was surprisingly, the first free in of the evening, in what was a spirited free flowing encounter thus far.
Castleknock got their second goal of the evening to level matters again and then won a free in which was moved an extra 10 meters to lead for the second time, 2-5 to 0-10. But another substitute, Brendan Brogan, gave his side the perfect tonic before the Second Half Swig of the Magic Bottle, when James McGee played a good ball to Brogan and a cheeky Hand of God lob over the goalkeeper and into the net 1-10 to 2-5.
Castleknock must have drank some magic in those bottles, because they hit a brace of points to level matters, but Joe Kenny, inspired by Offaly's triumph in last Sunday's All Ireland U-20 Football Final, but St Brendan's noses back in front with a point following an excellent steal from Sean Whyte and final pass from the Wicklow Wizard Malachi Doyle.
But that was as good as it got as Castleknock's young substitutes closed out the game with a brace of points, the second of which was a free in, to win the game by one point.
Yes, the game may have been a dead rubber, but there's nothing dead about a dead rubber, as St. Brendan's used the match as a leg lossener ahead of the Junior 5 All County Championship which starts on September 12th.
Final score from Grangegorman St Brendan's 1-11 Castleknock 2-9.