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Crokes go for broke

ANYONE buying or selling a ticket. This is the match all of Dublin wants to see.

Two of the super-powers of the modern game -- the mighty Crokes, champions in 2010, against the reigning Evening Herald Dublin senior football champions.

Both have earned this day in the sun. All the officials were short of handing out in Donnycarney on Wednesday night were the wet-suits.



JOLT

Brigid's got quite a jolt from Templeogue Synge Street. They were expecting that. Synger beat them in round one last year before the Russell Park men launched a successful assault on the championship via the qualifiers.

And midway through the second half of their quarter-final last Wednesday night in Parnell Park, the holders looked in serious trouble. Templeogue Synge St were driving the bus, and they kicked a couple of uplifting scores.

Denis Bastick's goal suggested that the curtains were about to close in Russell Park. But the Blanch Boys dug deep ... they had other ideas.

Alan Daly, Barry Cahill, Graham Norton, John O'Loughlin and the peerless Paddy Andrews led the charge. Yet still, Brigid's were hitting some worrying wides.

Shane Supple had made a couple of crucial early saves, but it was Andrews, above all, that kept the kettle boiling.

And it was his spark of genius, wide on the right end-line at the church end, that opened the gate for Cahill to thump in the vital goal.

The carpet was even soggier when Kilmacud Crokes entered the building. Yet against Sylvester's, they produced a most professional performance.

They defended impressively. Rory O'Carroll is such a class full-back. Alongside him was his brother, Ross, both lads with Dublin SHC 'A' medals in their back pockets from last Sunday's final victory over fellow southsiders, Cuala.

At centre half-forward, Liam óg ó hEineachain is still spraying the roses -- he moves the ball around his attack with intelligence, vision and timing. And Crokes have a Stillorgan Sapphire in Paul Mannion.

His left peg contains gold-dust. And it was Paul who slid in the decisive goal in a low-scoring contest that had to endure the most atrocious of conditions. Mannion represented the Republic of Ireland at under-18 level and it was not hard to see why as he defied the elements to control the ball on the sodden surface before clinically finding the corner of the Syls net past Dominic McDonnell.

In such circumstances as last Wednesday night, it takes buckets of spirit to keep ploughing on for the summit.



DESIRE

Brigid's have proved again and again that they have the desire. And Crokes come from the exact same stable.

On their way to the last four, Brigid's have beaten Thomas Davis twice and Lucan Sarsfields, while Kilmacud prevailed after 120 minutes of football against Ballyboden St Enda's in the fourth round after overcoming St Maur's and St Peregrine's.

It will be standing room only at the Parnell Palladium.

And maybe this time, they will make sure to close the roof.

VERDICT: Kilmacud Crokes


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