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McCrabbe to Craobh's aid


Francis Usanga, Craobh Chiarain, in action against Cronan Dooley, Lucan Sarsfields.  Picture: Caroline Quinn

Francis Usanga, Craobh Chiarain, in action against Cronan Dooley, Lucan Sarsfields. Picture: Caroline Quinn

Francis Usanga, Craobh Chiarain, in action against Cronan Dooley, Lucan Sarsfields. Picture: Caroline Quinn

A LAST-GASP Alan McCrabbe free rescued a deserved draw for Craobh Chiarain against Lucan Sarsfields in their absorbing Dublin Senior Hurling Championship Group A tie at Parnell Park last night.



McCrabbe's initial free was bravely blockedby Chris Crummy but referee David O'Donovan deemed that Crummy had encroached too far, and moved the retake closer in allowing McCrabbe to keep Craobh's championship ambitions alive.

There was little to separate the sides in the early exchanges with Alan McCrabbe finally opening the scoring through a close-range 3rd minute free.

Lucan restored parity within two minutes as Barry Aird worked wonders in controlling a loose ball before transferring to Aidan Roche who tapped over easily from forty metres.

That trend continued with Craobh eking out the lead through an excellent solo score by Gary Kelly soon after before Kevin O'Reilly landed a routine free in the 9th minute to bring Sars back on level terms.

McCrabbe converted a sublime sideline cut three minutes later but Lucan bounced back well with points from Chris Crummy and John McCaffrey before wonderful vision from McCrabbe allowed Kevin Warren to level matters by the end of the first quarter.

However, with Darren O'Reilly excelling at centre-back, Craobh assumed a degree of control and hit hit four successive scores through Kevin Warren, McCrabbe, Mark McGuirk and Stephen McDonald to lead by double scores by the 23rd minute. Crucially, Lucan responded positively before the break with scores by Roche, Crummy and Sean McClelland ensuring they trailed by the bare minimum (0-10 to 0-9) at the interval. With Ciarán McGowran and Crummy exchanging scores upon the restart, the first goal always looked paramount and it duly arrived in the 39th minute as McClelland produced an unerring finish from eight yards following a lengthy delivery by Rob Lambert.

The free-taking of O'Reilly kept Lucan in front and despite plenty of half-chances, two falling to Francis Usanga, Craobh were unfortunate not to find the net with David Quinn a calm presence between the sticks.

There seemed little way back for the Donnycarney men but two excellent points from substitute Stephen Kirwan and the dismissal of Lucan's Joey Byrne in the 54th minute kept their hopes alive with McCrabbe's late intervention a fitting conclusion to a high-octane affair.

Scorers - Lucan Sarsfields: K O'Reilly 0-5 (5f), S McClelland 1-1, C Crummy 0-4, A Roche 0-3, J McCaffrey 0-2. Craobh Chiaráin: A McCrabbe 0-10 (8f, sideline), K Warren, S Kirwan 0-2, G Kelly, S McDonald, M McGuirk, C McGouran 0-1 each.

LUCAN SARSFIELDS: D Quinn; M McCaffrey, A Kelly, C Dooley; P Kelly, R Lambert, T Somers; J Byrne, M May; B Aird, J McCaffrey, A Roche; K O'Reilly, C Crummy, S McClelland. Subs: T Lee for May (57), P Ward for McClelland (58),

CRAOBH CHIARÁIN: S Chester; K Elliott, E Farrell, S Ennis; D Kelly, D O'Reilly, P O'Boyle; A McCrabbe, G Kelly; S McDonald, F Usanga, K Warren; D Keane, G Ennis, M McGuirk. Subs: C McGowran for G Ennis (17), R Mahon for Keane (35), S Kirwan for S Ennis (42), K Hetherton for McGuirk (55), K English for Usanga (60).

REF: Dave O'Donovan (St Mark's).