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Kilmacud to double up

IF you are in Dublin, come down to the Parnell parlour . . . there will be a welcome there for you.

Bob Geldof said he didn't like Mondays. He might well love this one, though.

It could be one enchanting evening. Two teams who have the potential to write a classic.

The contest is surrounded by more intrigue than a Ruth Rendell mystery.

In Páirc de Burca, the faithful are still talking about their escape from Alcatraz as they overcame an eight-point half-time deficit in their semi-final against champions of last year, St Brigid's.

They will be tuning in from Bondi to the Bronx. Dublin City FM (103.2) and NEAR FM (90.3) will be broadcasting live from ringside.

On paper, it's extremely difficult to separate these two heavyweights. It's even harder on grass.

A big audience is expected. John 3:11 better arrive early. If the 'House Full' sign doesn't go up at HQ, Noel Murphy will throw his hat at it.

Paddy Carr managed Crokes when they won the claret jug in 2010. He's now doing splendid work with Tír Chonaill Gaels in London.

He was on the radio last week talking about the Kilmacud-Sylvester's quarter-final. A dreadful night, a small enough attendance, yet Paddy said that there was still a buzz in Dublin's Crystal Palace.

There is something special about the county final under lights in Donny-Carnegie Hall.


The faithful have flocked through the turnstiles for the night-time finals. And Parnell Park on the biggest date in the Dublin football calendar is sure to once again snap, crackle and pop.

There will be no need for either club to use the tradesman's entrance. They have arrived on the blue carpet with 100pc records.

Crokes are a modern-day super-power who are seeking their eighth title. They didn't collect their first one until 1992.

Ballymun Kickhams had a brilliant team in the '80s when they lifted two Dublin SFC titles (1982, 1985). It's their first final since 1989 (beaten by Thomas Davis), but they have very much been leaders of the pack.

They have enjoyed flourishing league campaigns, and they have been in more championship semi-finals than Tim Henman.

The present group have mostly all graduated from the celebrated class of Christie. Paul Curran has come in as manager. He has brought the silvermints to the dugout.

The Kilmacud boss, Hugh Kenny, also has impressive credentials. The Baltinglass Bolt managed Wicklow.

Their two lighthouse 'keepers, Seán Currie of the 'Mun and David Nestor, go for substance over style, and that, in many ways, sums up the approach of both sides.

Crokes and Kickhams bring a high level of industry to the pit. Both back doors are more than sturdy.

The Dolan brothers, Enda and Eoin, are effective sentries. Over on the southside, the O'Carroll brothers, Ross and Rory, help patrol the Stillorgan Shopping Centre with guile, pace and controlled aggression.

The half-back units love to attack, while the engine room could be the most interesting part of the building -- James McCarthy and Davy Byrne in the late debate with Darren Magee and Pat Duggan.

There's quality in attack. Liam óg ó hEineachain can open more doors than the fella in the top hat outside Brown Thomas. The likes of Pat Burke and Paul Mannion will hope to profit.

Mannion has been a real star for Crokes over the last few hectic weeks and the Stillorgan side will look to him once again to provide something special.

There's also promise in the Ballymun boots of Kevin Leahy and Ted Furman, who scored the goal in the semi-final against St Jude's.

It's a duel that contains so many questions. Will Crokes complete the hurling-football double or will it be a (Dean) Rock and Roll show? Or, as the great Bill McLaren might say, will it be the Kilmacud or Kickhams Kids who will be dancing on the streets tonight? We're going with Crokes' greater experience in a tight finish.

VERDICT: Kilmacud Crokes