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KILMACUD CROKES produced a towering second-half performance in claiming the Loving Cup with a 0-16 to 1-8 victory over St Patrick's of Donabate at Páirc de Burca last Sunday morning.

The victory offered some consolation to the hosts, who narrowly missed out on qualification for the AFL2 promotion play-offs after a narrow midweek defeat by Raheny and they bounced back well to claim a deserved five-point win.

Central to their victory was the performance of their half-back line with Michael Durcan, Fionán Kennedy and Brian Davoren producing exceptional individual displays in addition to making a solid collective contribution.

However, it was the visitors who dominated the early exchanges with full-forward Dinny Corcoran a constant menace and a glorious score from Corcoran from near the sideline was the highlight of a low-scoring first-half.

St Patrick's enjoyed a 1-5 to 0-5 interval lead with minor Liam Watson claiming the goal just before the break with the North County club making inroads thanks to the efforts of midfielder Dean Styles and the roving Jesse Corcoran.

The impetus changed upon the turnaround with Crokes enjoying the benefit of a slight breeze at their backs and they had soon restored parity through points from Kevin O'Carroll and Stephen Williams.

The aforementioned duo excelled in the second-half, kicking eight points and other scores from captain Peter Devitt and Stephen Gormley helped banish the disappointment of their league defeat, according to manager Pat Burke. He said: "The play-offs would have been a bonus but to be fair we very much see ourselves as a development panel.

"This particular team hasn't won anything before so it was nice to finally get some silverware.

"One of our more influential players, Conor Burns, was absent as his wife, Pam, gave birth on Saturday night to their first child so it was very much a double celebration in that respect."

The defeat was not too hard for St Pat's to take, given their focus on next weekend's AFL3 promotion play-offs and boss Derek Keogh said: "In fairness to Crokes, they played some lovely football in the second half.

"Despite being understrength, I thought we played some good stuff ourselves and the only issue is that we weren't further ahead at half-time."


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