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Crokes crowned champs in classic

IT was an absolute thriller. Friday night's Dublin Minor C Championship final.

As the county chief, Pat Martin, declared: "There were no losers here. Just two superb finalists."

Bray Emmets was the venue. Under the lights and on the all-weather.

There were icicles in the air. And all kinds of knitwear on display.

It was a big Southside derby - Kilmacud Crokes against Cuala.

Crokes hit the jackpot, 5-2 to 4-2. But it was the quality of the game that had everybody talking.

Last week, the Minor A and B finals cheered up Coolock. Crokes and Cuala produced a Christmas cracker of their own underneath the Wicklow hills. "It was a fantastic win for us," remarked Crokes mentor, Mark Cregg, who runs the side with Kevin Murphy.

"The club already won the U15 Championship, so this success is the perfect link to our senior set-up."

Cuala's Fintan Quill could see the positives. "Last year we were in the Shield final. So this was a step up.

"A disappointing result, but we'll now look forward to moving onto adult ranks."

Cuala showed character. It seemed like they had just completed their warm-up when they were four goals behind.

The Stillorgan side had the sharpest of starts, and, in the end, that was the deciding factor.

Julia Buckley got a quick-fire hat-trick for Crokes. She collected the Player-of-the-Match accolade.

Charlotte Farrell struck for their fourth goal.

Cuala's opening offering was a point, a free from Sinead Murphy, niece of the former Dublin stylist, Edel Murphy, one of the finest free-takers the sport has seen.

BREAK

On the blow of the break, Sorcha Barron, scored a goal for Cuala. That proved a tonic. Kilmacud were ahead at the interval, 4-1 to 1-1.

The goal filled the Dalkey lungs with hope for the second half. Then came a Cuala goal from Blaithin Lane. Katie O'Dea popped over a free. Barron produced her second goal.

4-1 to 3-2. Game on. Aoife Doran registered a crucial Crokes goal.

Buckley sent over a point. Murphy hit Cuala's fourth goal late on. Time ran out.

More's the pity. Despite the cold, the audience wanted the drama to continue.

Tommy Tiernan, and the Late Late Show, could wait.

Both teams had such determination in the boots. And enough skill to fill Santa's sack.

Aisling Whitely summed up the Crokes conviction. Juliette O'Flynn captured the Cuala commitment.

And the maestro Murphy too. Sinead's Dad, Donal, and Richard Byrne, are on the Cuala crew.


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