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Roche points way as Lucan reach decider

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Aidan Roche, Lucan Sarsfields, in action against David Keane, Craobh Chiarain. Picture: Caroline Quinn

Aidan Roche, Lucan Sarsfields, in action against David Keane, Craobh Chiarain. Picture: Caroline Quinn

Aidan Roche, Lucan Sarsfields, in action against David Keane, Craobh Chiarain. Picture: Caroline Quinn

A DOMINANT first-half display helped Lucan Sarsfields eventually account for a spirited Craobh Chiaráin by four points in their Dublin SHC 'A' semi-final at Parnell Park last night.

LUCAN SARSFIELDS................ 1-13

CROABH CHIARAIN................... 1-9

DUBLIN SHC 'A' SEMI-FINAL

It was Lucan that started the brighter and they opened their account as early as the second minute following a long-distance free by Tommy Somers.

Despite Craobh replying instantly through an excellent point by Mark McGuirk, the Donnycarney men soon found themselves two points adrift thanks to successive scores by Somers and the lively Aidan Roche.

An Alan McCrabbe free briefly stalled Lucan's momentum but Sarsfields were irrepressible at this point and a Chris Crummey run in the sixth minute culminated in a composed finish to the net from close range by Paddy Ward.

Crummey added a glorious point from distance in an instant as Joey Byrne and Johnny McCaffrey exerted a stranglehold at centrefield for Lucan, creating a plethora a ball for an attack thriving on exceptional delivery.

Rampant

Although McCrabbe added a brace of frees as the half progressed, those scores proved insufficient in reeling in a rampant Lucan outfit, with Roche adorning an exceptional first-half display with two excellent points towards the end of the first quarter.

A fourth point from the effervescent corner-forward in the 17th minute increased Lucan's advantage but their play became increasingly sloppy from that point as some aimless shot selection undermined their territorial supremacy.

Despite that, Crummey added his second of the night in the 22nd minute with the final score of the half arriving seven minutes later as Keith Elliott split the posts following a clever pass by McCrabbe.

Trailing by 1-8 to 0-5 at the interval, Craobh required an impressive opening to kick-start their challenge and they reduced their arrears through a 32nd point from midfielder Robbie Mahon.

Mahon's next contribution proved more telling as McCrabbe's precise ball form the flank found Mahon in space and the ensuing shot from 14 yards left David Quinn helpless as it nestled in the bottom left corner.

A sublime point by McCrabbe maintained Craobh's lively second-half opening but their momentum was punctured when full-back Eugene Farrell was dismissed in the 39th minute following a second caution.

With Darren Kelly and Gary Kelly mopping up superbly, Chiaráin's continued to enjoy a monopoly on possession with McCrabbe raising their hopes with another sumptuous score on the turn in the 47th minute.

However, their numerical disadvantage was beginning to influence proceedings with Sarsfields availing of the looser marking to increase their lead through scores from Kevin O'Reilly and a superb McCaffrey score from distance.

Mahon's 55th minute point ensured the tie remained in the balance but Craobh's hopes were finally extinguished as O'Reilly landed an insurance free two minutes from time to complete a hard-earned win for Sarsfields.

SCORERS– Lucan Sarsfields: A Roche 0-4, T Somers (3f), K O'Reilly (2f) 0-3, P Ward 1-0, C Crummey 0-2, J McCaffrey 0-1. Craobh Chiaráin: R Mahon 1-2, A McCrabbe 0-5 (3f), M McGuirk, K Elliott 0-1 each.

LUCAN SARSFIELDS: D Quinn; J Bellew, P Kelly, M McCaffrey; S McClelland, R Lambert, B Aird; J Byrne, J McCaffrey; T Lee, C Crummey, T Somers; A Roche, K Fitzgerald, P Ward. Subs: K O'Reilly for Ward (30), M May for Byrne (47), C Dooley for Somers (54).

CRAOBH CHIARÁIN: S Chester; S Ennis, E Farrell, Damian O'Reilly; D Kelly, Derek O'Reilly; S McDonald; P O'Boyle, R Mahon; M McGuirk, F Usanga, K Elliott; G Kelly, C McGowran, A McCrabbe. Subs: S Kirwan for Damian O'Reilly (19), G Ennis for McGuirk (28), K Hetherton for McDonald (58), J Ryan for Ennis (58).

REF: Gearóid McGrath (Setanta).


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