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Champions dethroned as Brigid's kill off Crokes


ST BRIGID'S gained some revenge for their county final loss last year as they defeated reigning Dublin and Leinster champions Kilmacud Crokes in their enthralling Evening Herald Dublin Senior Football Championship fourth round tie at Parnell Park on Saturday evening.

Their progression to the quarter-finals was just reward for a dominant second-half in which they assumed complete supremacy around the middle third with Mark Cahill giving an immense display in both gaining primary possession and using the ball with great intelligence.

Behind him, Seán Murray shone in the sweeper role, especially after the interval, and on the rare occasion their defence was pierced, Brigid's could rely on Shane Supple between the sticks, with two acrobatic saves in the opening half keeping his side in the hunt as they initially struggled with a powerful Crokes team.

That Kilmacud failed to produce a similar display in the second-half is perhaps understandable given they've been on the road for a lengthy period and there was a tiredness evident in the final stages that ultimately undermined the defence of their title.

None of the blame for their defeat could lie at the hands or feet of Mark Vaughan who kicked three sublime points from play in the first-half, illuminating an increasingly bleak Donnycarney afternoon with his mercurial talent and the two pressure kicks landed after the break were testament to his mental fortitude.

His contribution proved insufficient, however, as a hungrier and highly motivated St Brigid's side displayed the composure to grind out a deserved win.

There was a cagey opening to proceedings with Brigid's seeing plenty of possession but lacking the necessary guile to unhinge a solid Crokes defence, for whom both Ross O'Carroll and Ronan Ryan impressed from the outset.

The first incident of note occurred in the sixth minute when Vaughan gathered a lengthy delivery from Cian O'Sullivan but his powerful left foot shot from 10 yards was superbly parried to safety by Supple.

Kilmacud were further inconvenienced by an injury to midfielder Paddy Duggan a minute later but eventually they grabbed the lead when Vaughan landed an outrageous left-footed point from the left wing with 10 minutes on the clock.

Brian Kavanagh added a free within a minute as Kevin Nolan, Liam óg Ó hÉineacháin and Craig Dias began monopolising possession around the middle third although Ken Darcy finally opened Brigid's account through a 14th-minute free.

Vaughan repeated his earlier trick with a glorious 17th-minute point, contrasting with the scoring attempts of the Brigid's forwards, who seemed to snatch at the limited chances that came their way, before Supple proved his worth with another vital save in the 21st minute.

Barry O'Rorke was the player to be denied on this occasion as he was placed clear on goal by Nolan but his low shot was somehow diverted around his left-hand post by Supple, galvanising his side in the process.

Although Vaughan stretched Kilmacud's lead six minutes before the break, Brigid's halved their deficit through an excellent solo score by John O'Loughlin in injury-time and they would have been content to trail by just 0-4 to 0-2 when half-time arrived.

The Navan Road men showed serious intent upon the restart with Barry Cahill slicing though the previously impregnable Crokes defence but his low shot from 12 metres failed to trouble David Nestor.

Suitably emboldened, St Brigid's began to seize the initiative and were level by the 38th minute thanks to an excellent Ken Kilmurray score and Darcy's second free of the evening.

O'Loughlin and Cahill were becoming increasingly influential as the half progressed and it was of scant surprise when they gained the lead for the first time in the 44th minute when Paddy Andrews escaped the shackles of Ross O'Carroll to tap over a tidy score.

O'Rorke responded immediately for Kilmacud but the force was with the Dublin 15 side and they regained their lead through a superb score from the influential Darcy in the 47th minute.

A combination of Supple and a plethora of Brigid's defenders denied Vaughan what looked a certain goal 10 minutes from time and although he landed the resultant '45' to level matters, the feeling was that Crokes would rue spurning such a glorious chance.

So it proved with Darcy and Cahill pushing Brigid's two points clear and despite a late Vaughan free, there were to be no late heroics from last year's champions.

SCORERS - St Brigid's: K Darcy 0-4 (2f), J O'Loughlin, K Kilmurray, Mark Cahill (f), P Andrews 0-1 each. Kilmacud Crokes: M Vaughan 0-5 (1f, 1 '45'), B Kavanagh (f), B O'Rorke 0-1 each.

ST BRIGID'S: S Supple; A Daly, Martin Cahill, G Norton; C Moran, S Murray, G Kane; B Cahill, J O'Loughlin; G McIntyre, P Andrews, K Kilmurray; Mark Cahill, K Darcy, P Ryan. Subs: L McCarthy for Kilmurray (43), C Mullins for McIntyre (48), O McCann for Ryan (60).

KILMACUD CROKES: D Nestor; Ross O'Carroll, Rory O'Carroll, C Lamb; C O'Sullivan, B McGrath, R Ryan; P Duggan, K Nolan; B O'Rorke, L Óg Ó hÉineacháin, C Dias; P Burke, B Kavanagh, M Vaughan. Subs: D Kelleher for Duggan (7), B Hanamy for Burke (48), M Coughlan for Kelleher (52), R Cosgrove for O'Rorke (55).

REF: T McCarthy (St Vincent's).