Courageous Castleknock held on in a dramatic endgame to make it to the Leinster Senior Cup semi-final at bitterly cold Energia Park today.
elvedere had to deal with a number of late changes, chief among them the loss of influential flanker Eoghan Rutledge and centre Patrick O’Farrell to add to that of full-back Dylan O’Grady.
Castleknock were not in the mood to show any sympathy, their scrum-half Conor Duggan going close from a lineout and prop Ben Griffin finishing the job in the fourth minute.
Then, Ian Birmingham burst from the front of another lineout, only to have his try called back for a crooked throw.
No matter, they were soon back in position for tight-head Griffin to double-up from a similar crash-ball carry, out-half Louis McDonagh adding the conversion for 12-0 in the 15th minute.
By this time, Belvedere knew they were in a battle for survival, wing Eoin MacAdaimh shooting through a gap, prop Jonathan Sargent testing Conor Delaney’s tackle and MacAdaimh bundled into touch by the combined efforts of Alex Watson and Duggan to preserve the status quo at the close of the half.
Belvedere had to have the next points, lock Darrah Coan carrying hard and centre Peter O’Farrell outstripping the cover for Jed Tormey to convert in the 43rd minute.
Now, Belvo had the front-foot ball and Duggan was asked to find relief with his right boot too often.
It looked ominous when Griffin was binned and the disadvantage was just too much, prop Sargent crashing over, Tormey converting from the left for the lead for the first time in the 59th minute.
Castleknock remained clear-headed, benefiting from a penalty decision for McDonagh to regain the lead in the 64th minute, holding on to the final whistle.
BELVEDERE: D Hawkshaw; J Dillon (J Maher 67), Peter O’Farrell, J Tormey, E MacAdaimh (W Finegan 47); F McCarrick, J McNiece (capt, Patrick O’Farrell 67)); J Sargent, C Marrey, H Flood, E Murphy, D Coan, J Ross, Z Hayden (D O’Driscoll ht), H McPeake (B McCabe 47).
CASTLEKNOCK: C Delaney; A Watson, F Gibbons, C Dunne (W Hennessy 37), J Rooney; L McDonagh (capt), C Duggan (C Mahon 62); B Bislin (G Quinn 65), A Creedon, B Griffin, L Callinan (J Duffy 64), S Callinan, F Stanley, C McCarrick, I Birmingham (E Keogh, 61 temp).
Referee: M Casey, Leinster Branch.