Kilmacud Crokes advanced to the semi-finals of the Dublin Junior Hurling Championship following their 2-26 to 3-11 success over Clontarf in Páirc de Búrca last Wednesday, writes Ronan Mac Lochlainn.
The final score-line failed to reflect the tightness of the clash with the hosts only confirming their progression thanks to a glut of scores in the final ten minutes.
Key to Kilmacud's victory on the night was the performance of Alan Tiernan, with the star attacker amassing an impressive personal tally of 2-12 over the hour, through open play and placed balls.
Tiernan has recently returned to the fold with work commitments having restricted his participation and his class shone on a positive night for the hosts.
The experience provided by Tiernan, Enda Grogan and Declan Browne proved pivotal on the night with the visitors' challenge undermined when they were reduced to fourteen men in the 40th minute.
Tiernan was one of a few Crokes players to impress with full-forward Enda Mahon proving a handful as he worked tirelessly to create chances while the hosts were also well served by their midfield pairing of Ronan Horgan and Dara Ó Gallachóir.
Kilmacud's half-back line of Browne, James O'Keeffe and Gavin Steed provided a solid foundation throughout with the home manager Seamus Kennedy relieved to progress to the last four.
"It is good for the lads to get through to the semi-finals. We lost at the semi-final stage last year so we'll be hoping to go at least one better this year.
"I was happy enough with the performance but we conceded too many goals on the night and that's something we will need to look at ahead of the semi-final," said Kennedy.
With near neighbours Ballyboden St Enda's and traditional rivals Cuala still in the mix for county honours, a thrilling conclusion is anticipated in this most competitive of championships.
For the visitors, the absence of full-back Willie Comerford was a massive loss and being reduced to fourteen men for the final twenty minutes certainly hindered their chances.
However, they remained competitive throughout with full-forward Dan Gleeson their scorer-in-chief while there were also notable contributions from Neil O'Gorman, Padraig O'Brien and Stephen Russell.
"The sending-off hurt us," said Clontarf representative Aidan O'Halloran. "We played well on the night and were hopeful of a positive result but I would have to admit that Crokes were the better team and they deserved their win," he added.