Dublin MFC ‘A’ final
What was already a memorable weekend became even better for Kilmacud Crokes at Balgriffin on Sunday morning as they claimed the Dublin Minor ‘A’ Football Championship at the expense of St Vincent’s.
Following their triumph in the Dublin Senior Hurling Championship decider the night before, this was another major success for the Stillorgan club. Castleknock may have had the measure of them in the Senior ‘B’ Hurling showpiece on Sunday afternoon, but with a Dublin SFC final to look forward to on Sunday, Crokes continue to be a formidable force.
Despite making a slow start, the scoring prowess of Dara Dempsey (1-7) and Louis McGauren (0-3) helped Kilmacud to turn things around. Vins had been in the hunt for a minor championship double but even though Kalum O’Brien registered 1-4 during the opening period, they ultimately ended up second best.
The emphatic nature of Crokes’ final victory was in stark contrast to the way the game unfolded in the first quarter. With less than two minutes gone on the clock, O’Brien shook the opposition net from close-range.
The dynamic inside forward proceeded to add a brace of unanswered points, before Michael O’Rowe also got in on the scoring act. Their southside counterparts eventually responded through wing-forward Rory O’Mahoney, only for Vincent’s to stretch their lead with points from the excellent O’Brien and Aaron Dunne.
While Ben Kelly split the posts at the end of a patient move, Crokes still found themselves 1-5 to 0-2 in arrears at the first half water break. Yet this interval did them the world of good as they embarked on a powerful scoring spree when the play resumed.
After Dempsey (two) and rangy midfielder McGauren knocked over three points in quick succession, Barra O’Donoghue was released for a neatly-struck goal on 20 minutes.
This spectacularly wiped out the Vins cushion and there was further joy for Crokes when McGauren and Dempsey (free) bolstered their personal tallies. Although their Marino opponents had gone all of 16 minutes without a score, Bill Costello and O’Brien efforts ensured the sides were level at 1-7 apiece entering half-time.
This was how it remained until the 12th minute of the second half, with both teams passing up some good opportunities. An O’Brien shot had initially been signalled as a point before it was ultimately ruled out, while Kelly had a close-range strike saved by the feet of Vins netminder Andrew Smyth.
Dempsey finally got the ball rolling again with a fine point and he followed it up almost immediately with his side’s second goal in the 43rd-minute. This suddenly put Crokes into the driving seat and they weren’t prepared to let a golden chance slip by.
Substitute Tom Doran made an immediate impact with a point on the third-quarter mark, in advance of a 0-2 salvo from the influential Dempsey. Having been six adrift at the same stage in the opening half, Kilmacud were now seven in front (2-11 to 1-7) in time for the game’s second water break.
They had reason to be wary of Vins replicating their own fightback from earlier in the game and after McGauren kicked his third point, it was the turn of their defence to show some steel. Marshalled by Theo Clancy and Luke O’Loughlin, they restricted the northsiders to final-quarter singles from Costello and Aaron Cosgrave.
These efforts were matched by Doran and Dempsey at the far end as Kilmacud convincingly sealed their fifth title at this grade.
Scorers - Kilmacud Crokes: D Dempsey 1-7 (0-4f), D O’Donoghue 1-0, L McGauren 0-3, T Doran 0-2, R O’Mahoney, B Kelly 0-1 each.St Vincent’s: K O’Brien 1-4 (0-1f), B Costello 0-2 (1f), M O’Rowe, A Dunne, A Cosgrave 0-1 each.
KILMACUD CROKES: R Kenny; D Geraghty, T Clancy, D Murphy; D Colbert, L O’Loughlin, E Keys; L McGauren, C Ryan; R O’Mahoney, D Dempsey, B O’Donoghue; S Purcell, B Kelly, L Ward. Subs: D Killeen for Ryan (41), T Doran for O’Mahoney (43), S McMahon for Kelly (57), P Corbett for O’Donoghue (64), D Nolan for Purcell (66).
ST VINCENT’S: A Smyth; A Reynolds-Hand, B Moorehouse-Carroll, D Twomey; S Brady, P Gilroy, B Murray; C Walsh, J Kelly; M O’Rowe, A Dunne, C Keane; D Peel, B Costello, K O’Brien. Subs: C Dolan for Kelly (h-t), A Cosgrave for O’Rowe (38), H Kirwan for Brady (49), J Brady for Peel (57), D Keating for Murray (59).
MENTORS - Kilmacud Crokes: Peter Ward, Brian Murphy, Fergal Keys, Paddy O’Donohue. St Vincent’s: Tony Dunne, Liam Mac Cuirc, Gavin Burke, Conor Burke.
REFEREE: David O’Connor (Naomh Mearnóg).
WIDES - Kilmacud Crokes: 9 (3+6). St Vincent’s: 6 (2+4).
CONDITIONS: Mostly dry with little or no breeze.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Dara Dempsey (Kilmacud Crokes).