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Stillorgan boys hold off brave Saints bid to secure Minor title in thriller


Stillorgan boys hold off brave Saints bid to secure Minor title in thriller



Kilmacud Crokes withstood a late, brave St Sylvester's challenge to claim the Dublin Minor 'A' Football Championship (2012) title following a two-point victory at Chanel College last Sunday morning.

Crokes looked destined to claim a comfortable victory when they led by seven points with 10 minutes remaining, but a spirited Syls outfit played without fear in the closing stages, cutting their arrears to a goal entering injury time.

Despite piling on the pressure, the goal required to force extra-time never materialised with Kilmacud leading a charmed life at times, but their general supremacy over the hour was never in question despite their late wobbles.

Central to their victory was the display of centre-back Ross McGowan, with the All-Ireland winner of last year shoring up the Crokes defence superbly, allowing wing-backs Brian McCann and CJ O'Dwyer to attack down the flanks.


It didn't take the winners long to hit their stride as Oisín O'Rorke and Dara Mullin combined intelligently for the latter to open the scoring within 20 seconds of the first whistle.

The Malahide lads lacked precision in the early stages, despite enjoying a generous amount of possession, but the lively Mark Hazely brought them level with a smart turn and confident strike in the eighth minute.

That score helped settle nerves throughout the field and David Sexton followed Hazely's lead with another classy score within a minute with early ball into the Crokes defence reaping early dividends.

However, despite playing against the elements, Kilmacud began to control affairs with McGowan and Robert Murphy especially prominent and a McCann sortie was rewarded with an excellent levelling score in the 12th minute.

With the contest punctuated by numerous handling errors and stoppages, fluidity suffered as a consequence and a barren scoring spell of eight minutes eventually ended when Matthew McNicholas fired a glorious score, when well placed by Shane Cunningham.

Mullin doubled Kilmacud's lead three minutes later and a Cunningham score four minutes before the break ensured a well-merited 0-5 to 0-2 lead for the Stillorgan club by the interval.

Sylvester's were aware of the necessity of a positive statement of intent upon the restart and Hazely provided that with an adroit turn and shot to hand his side a massive shot in the arm.


Sadly, they failed to build on this as Crokes looked to absorb pressure and counter-attack at pace and that tactic worked seamlessly with Mullin adding a brace of points in addition to a glorious score by David Campbell.

The Dublin minor from both 2011 and 2012 was generally well-marshalled by full-back Conor Quinn but he escaped his clutches on a second occasion, kicking a fine score which preceded an excellent team score from O'Dwyer.

There seemed scant evidence of the impending Sylvester's fightback at this juncture. But three frees from Sexton offered them hope and, with the last play of the game, Stephen Cunningham palmed narrowly over the crossbar in a fitting finale to an enthralling contest.