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Crokes crush brave barrOg

KILMACUD CROKES 1-13

NAOMH BARRÓG 2-1

Kilmacud Crokes produced an exceptional team display in comfortably accounting for a battling Naomh Barróg by nine points in their Dublin U14 Football League Division 2 final at Páirc de Búrca last Saturday afternoon.

Once Crokes got their noses in front in the early stages, it was always going to be difficult for the visitors to claw their way back into contention with two late goals adding a veneer of respectability to the final score.

However, three scores over the hour were never likely to be enough for Barróg against a Kilmacud outfit that looked threatening from the outset, reflected by seven separate players contributing with scores from open play.

It was one of those, towering centre-forward Paddy Flaherty, who opened the scoring in the third minute and another impressive score by Jack Gallagher doubled Kilmacud's advantage four minutes later.

The visitors enjoyed a generous amount of ball in the opening quarter but they failed to find the precision evident in their opponents' passing, squandering some hard-earned possession with some, at times, careless distribution.

The game reached an impasse of sorts towards the end of the first quarter with much of the play concentrated around the middle third.

But Aidan Carroll excelled himself in the Barróg goal when denying repelling Ronan Hayes' clever flick in the 14th minute.

A free apiece from the impressive Matt Barry and Dan O'Brien moved Crokes four points clear by the 17th minute, with Barry kicking an excellent solo score seven minutes later to ensure a tangible reward for his side's increasing supremacy.



Facile

Kilmacud's half-back line, Micheál Mullen, Paul Leonard and David Dagg were progressively influential and O'Brien converted another facile free as Crokes surged toward the Barróg goal with great regularity.

The Kilbarrack lads, who strived valiantly through the efforts of Cillian Costello, Conor Gibson and Adam Kelly, were finally offered a crumb of hope when Brian Dennis kicked the score of the half, turning inside Sean Dunbarr before firing a glorious point from distance in the 26th minute. The tireless O'Brien rattled the Barróg crossbar towards the end of the half and had to contend himself with a close-in free three minutes before the break as Crokes enjoyed a healthy 0-7 to 0-1 lead.

Any hopes of a Barróg comeback were quickly dispelled in the early moments of the second half, as Kilmacud maintained their vice-like grip on proceedings with Carroll once again saving his side with another fine save from Hayes in the 34th minute.

O'Brien also struck the crossbar for the second occasion but these misses never looked likely to prove fatal as Crokes pushed clear following scores by Barry, O'Brien, Flaherty and Nathan Nolan.



Scoreless

A scoreless period of 12 minutes was finally ended when Barry and Adam Kelly added successive points for the hosts in the 54th minute, with Barróg finally finding the target when Dennis netted a penalty following a foul on Gibson.

Gibson added a second goal for the visitors two minutes into injury-time. But it was fitting that the last word should belong to Kilmacud as two substitutes, Conor Moran and Jack Keating, combined intelligently for the latter to crash to the net from eight yards, confirming an impressive nine-point victory for Crokes in the process.


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