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kilmacud see off saints

Kilmacud Crokes dominated from start to finish when comfortably defeating a weakened St Brigid's by eleven points in their Dublin Minor Football League Division 1 encounter at Russell Park last Wednesday evening.

The visitors controlled possession for the bulk of the first-half and but for some errant shooting would have enjoyed a more sizeable lead than their 0-6 to 0-2 interval advantage.

However, they pulled clear in the early stages of the second-half and although the hosts enjoyed a greater share of the ball in the final quarter, they never looked likely to launch a successful comeback with Callum Pearson's 53rd minute goal sealing their fate.


It was Pearson's intercounty colleague Tom Fox that set Crokes on their way with an excellent point in the opening minute and that lead should have been enhanced three minutes later but Conor Kelly shot too close to James Henry when through on goal.

The hosts were being forced to live off scraps at this stage but a fine team move in the 7th minute saw them level matters as Cian McCarthy fired over from Josh Connelly's intelligent pass.

Parity did not last too long with Fox popping up on the right flank on this occasion as he judged his curling effort to perfection to restore his side's lead and the wing-forward stretched Kilmacud further clear with another top-quality effort a minute later as Crokes finally saw their early dominance reflected on the scoreboard. With both wing-backs, Dan O'Brien and Paul Leonard, happy to augment the Kilmacud attack, the procession continued towards the home goal but some poor options in possession and some less than clinical shooting ensured a scoreless eight minute period before Pearson stroked over a point.

It was Michael Frawley's turn to add to the visitors' lead in the 21st minute from a placed ball and the same player left five points between the sides a minute later when splitting the posts after an intuitive pass from the marauding O'Brien.


Given their deficiencies in securing primary possession, the hosts could consider themselves fortunate to trail by that margin and an excellent score from midfielder Mark Donnelly two minutes before the turnaround ensured St Brigid's trailed by just 0-6 to 0-2 at the break with Frawley spurning a glorious goal chance in injury time as he struck Henry's left-hand upright when well placed.

Kilmacud would have been justifiably frustrated at their profligacy in front of goal but they proved far more economical upon the restart with Fox landing a booming free from beyond fifty metres in the 34th minute to help launch an impressive first ten minutes resumption.

O'Brien made another incision into enemy territory a minute later as he kicked a sublime point from a difficult angle and Frawley kicked his third of the night two minutes later as Kilmacud dominated the aerial exchanges.

Alarming holes were appearing in the home defence as they struggled in vain in restricting efforts on goal with Fox mirroring his aerial attempt with another cracking free in the 39th minute.

Midfielder Paddy Flaherty was the next player to get his name on the score-sheet as he strolled forward to kick a fine score in the 40th minute and the increasingly lively Pearson followed suit to leave ten points separating the sides with twenty minutes remaining. To their credit, the hosts suddenly began to play with greater abandon and purpose as Kilmacud, either by design or accident retreated towards their own goal, ceding territory and possession in the process.

Jack O'Neill and Tadgh O'Shea took the fight to Crokes at this stage and with Frawley dismissed on a second booking in the 42nd minute, St Brigid's enjoyed their most fruitful period of the game.


Donnelly endless a barren period of seventeen minutes when kicking another well-taken score at the end of the third quarter and with the hosts raiding at every opportunity, McCarthy also completed his brace to reward the hosts for some sporadic pressure.

There was the slightest hint of a revival when substitute Donal Timoney notched another home score in the 49th minute with most of the play concentrated in the away half but the momentum was stalled two minutes later as Crokes kept the ball superbly on the counter-attack, allowing Kelly to fire over a valuable score.

Kilmacud's patient approach and ball retention ability, despite being numerically disadvantaged, was again evident seven minutes from time as a free-flowing attack involving four players culminated in Pearson rolling the ball under the out-rushing Henry from eight yards having being fed by Ben Shovlin.

With Crokes committing large numbers to defence, it was increasingly difficult for the hosts to create scoring chances against a well-drilled rearguard that forced a number of turnovers in the final quarter to confirm their control of affairs.

Pearson added another point to his personal tally in the 55th minute as he revelled in the open spaces towards the end of the tie and with Sam Daly an obdurate presence at centre-back, Kilmacud comfortably held on for their seventh league win of the year while Brigid's will inevitably improve once their injured players make a welcome return to the starting line-up.

p scorers: Kilmacud Crokes: C Pearson 1-3, T Fox 0-5 (0-2f), M Frawley 0-3 (0-1f), D O'Brien, P O'Flaherty, C Kelly 0-1 each. St Brigid's: C McCarthy 0-3 (0-1f), M Donnelly 0-2, D Timoney 0-1.

p Kilmacud Crokes: O Doherty; S O'Dwyer, E Sheehy, B Carr; D O'Brien, S Daly, P Leonard; P O'Falherty, B Shovlin; C Pearson, C Kelly, T Fox; A Fox, C Kavanagh, M Frawley. Subs: M Barry for T Fox (55), S McEntee for Leonard (58).

p St Brigid's: J Henry; T O'Shea, S Egan, J Lennon Maher; D Hawkshaw, J McGuirk, J O'Neill; M Donnelly, D McKenna; J Connelly, J Rafter, D Kiely; J Barr, C McCarthy, T McGlynn. Subs: D Timoney for Barr (21), C Gilbert for Rafter (38).

p Mentors: Kilmacud Crokes: Pat Duggan, Martin McDermott, Ruairi Kelleher, Robert Behan. p St Brigid's: Anto Holley, Shane Supple, Anthony Daly.

p Referee: David O'Connor (Naomh MearnĂ³g)

p Wides: Kilmacud Crokes 10 (8+2) St Brigid's 8 (5+3)

p Conditions: Immaculate pitch a credit to the hosts.

p Player of the Game: Tom Fox (Kilmacud Crokes)