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Craobh to cut Crumlin loose

IF the dice falls right, Crumlin could make the quarter-finals. They'd have to beat Chiaráin's and hope for either Brigid's or Jude's to fall.

A draw against the Craobh and a defeat for Jude's at Cuala would also secure the ticket on the head-to-head rule. So it's a night for the transistor radio in Pearse Park.

Chiaráin's are never easily beaten, especially when the autumn leaves begin to fall. Their opening day defeat by Lucan stung.

They have been on a roll ever since. Utter commitment is the Craobh concrete that knits it all together.

It serves them best in tough, tight games, or when the wind begins to howl. Just like last season's semi-final against Lucan. Alan McCrabbe was in inspired form against Cuala. He read the play superbly. He never missed an appointment with the sliotar.

Philip Purtell will be back on home turf, and Eugene Farrell, Dave Kirwan, Darren Kelly and Derek ' Smiley' O'Reilly won't be dishing out the last of the cocktail sausages.

Crumlin should have a big following. The grass will be shaved. Peter Elliott will get one good last roll of the dice from his men.

Crumlin are a young side spiced with experience. John Cullen is a member of the craftsmen's guild. There will be hunger in the offerings of Paul O'Brien, Colm Hennebry and Stephen Dunne. And a nice basket of scores in the hurls of Cathal McGrath, Shane Ryan, Seán Stafford and Darren Whelan, who did well when he came on for Dublin in the U21 All-Ireland hurling semi-final against Galway.

Craobh may have qualified for the last eight already but they won't spare the horses.

SO FAR -- Crumlin: Beat Jude's by 4 points. Lost to Brigid's by 6 points. Drew with Cuala. Lost to Lucan by 6 points. Craobh Chiaráin: Lost to Lucan by 8 points. Beat Jude's by 12 points. Beat Brigid's by 4 points. Beat Cuala by 6 points.

VERDICT: Craobh Chiaráin