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navan road men stop the traffic

MICK Leech came down from the terrace in Parnell Park. The Shamrock Rovers legend.

He had the head-phones on, listening to the results of the day.

But the one that mattered most saw St Jude's knocked out of the Dublin Senior Football Championship.

Mick is a familiar figure on the slopes of Tymon, cheering on the Saints. And no doubt he'll be back in Donnycarney on Friday night for the Dublin Senior Hurling Championship final.

This was their third successive football semi-final. They came into the tie with a marvellous display, and result, against Brigid's at O'Toole Park.

But on this Saturday afternoon, some chances went astray and it was hard to break the concrete of the Navan Road.

Plunkett's never took their hand away from the red light. And now they'll prepare for the big Bank Holiday Monday night blockbuster against the All-Ireland champions.

The turnstiles will be spinning sweetly. The occasion will bring back the memories of the super-charged atmosphere of the 2008 final when Kilmacud, in a replay, pipped Plunkett's, who also reached the final in 2011.

The big question now is can they lift the claret jug for the first time.

This semi-final didn't spark. Jude's kept putting in the miles, but the Plunkett's rearguard was packed with hoovers.

They contain very well, and once they have the ball, they certainly know how to use it.

And they have the finishers that can cause damage. Only one goal in it, and it was a Brogan family affair.

It was late in the day. Alan gave Bernard the pass. He was to the left of the posts at the score-board end.

And once he scaled the challenge of Paul Cunningham, he looked as relaxed as a fella watering the roses as he picked his spot and rolled low to the right corner.

That was the jackpot shot, but even well before that Plunkett's looked home and sun-tanned.

Yet at half-time, there were only two points in it, 0-5 to 0-3 to Plunkett's.

"We had to find a way to lift it for the second half," remarked Plunkett's manager, Pat McDonagh.

He wasn't concerned with the chances that Jude's created in that opening period, several of which they didn't take.

"No, we weren't worried about that. If you kick wides, you don't get on the score-board."

He had complete faith in his own side.

"We have a very good team. A strong squad. And it was sheer hard work that got us through in the end.

"We knew what to expect from Jude's. They have a lot of experience at this level. They are very


"They play very well as a team. They are hard to break down."

Ditto Plunkett's, who set up a resolute defensive structure and then speed forward when the chances arise.

They kept the binoculars on Kevin McManamon. Kevin gave a stunning display against Brigid's in the quarter-final, which included a hat-trick of goals.

But anytime he got possession in this contest, he was surrounded by men showing all the urgency of the US Secret Service. Jude's hit 3-11 against Brigid's, one of the top sides in the county. But on Saturday they only managed four points. That proved just how solid the Plunkett's back door is.