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Dominant Kilmacud too good for Cuala as Fianna march on


James Dillon of Kilmacud Crokes in action against Eoghan O'Callaghan of Cuala

James Dillon of Kilmacud Crokes in action against Eoghan O'Callaghan of Cuala

James Dillon of Kilmacud Crokes in action against Eoghan O'Callaghan of Cuala

While their collective efforts could not be faulted, few could quibble with the outcome at Parnell Park on Sunday afternoon as Cuala’s hopes of a third successive Dublin Senior ‘A’ Hurling Championship were left in tatters as they succumbed to southside rivals Kilamcud Crokes by 1-18 to 1-13 in their entertaining and committed last four encounter.

All year, the holders have been living on the edge, as witnessed by their last-gasp wins over both St Brigid’s and Ballyboden St Enda’s, but they couldn’t elude their fate last Sunday against a Kilmacud side that dominated for the large part.

Naturally, their commitment never wavered from the first minute to the last, but it was always going to prove a tall order trying to defend your crown without the services of the likes of Paul Schutte, Oisin Gough, Colm Cronin, Mark Schutte and Liam Murphy.

In contrast, Crokes look a different proposition this year with some talented newcomers offering a freshness to proceedings while Oisin O’Rorke’s redeployment to centrefield appears a masterstroke at present.

O’Rorke popped over two glorious points in the third quarter as Kilmacud looked to make that decisive push for home following a first half in which their dominance wasn’t truly reflected on the scoreboard.

They were boosted by a 10th-minute penalty from Ronan Hayes, who enjoyed a cracking battle with Cian O’Callaghan throughout, while at the opposite end of the field, Con O’Callaghan chipped in with three points from play to keep Cuala in the hunt as they trailed by 1-7 to 0-8 by half-time.

Points from the industrious Fergal Whitely and Lorcan McMullan ensured that Cuala would require a degree in escapology to prolong their campaign and while Sean Moran fired home a goal in the dying embers, the score barely registered, such was Crokes’ general comfort in that final quarter.

The first semi-final was a disappointingly one-sided affair as Na Fianna advanced to their first ever final at this level when brushing aside a toothless Lucan Sarsfields by 1-20 to 0-12.

The contest was effectively settled by half-time as the Glasnevin outfit enjoyed a deserved 1-12 to 0-6 lead and they were rarely troubled in the second-half as Lucan searched in vain for a cutting edge in attack.

There were encouraging glimpses initially as Ciaran Dowling and Peter Kelly landed excellent scores in the opening minutes to cancel out earlier scores for Na Fianna by AJ Murphy and Donal Burke but their forward division failed to ignite from that point, landing just five points from play over the duration.

In contrast, Na Fianna offered a scoring threat from all over the field with Paul O’Dea firing over two sublime points in the opening quarter and with Peter Feeney, Liam Rushe, Colin Currie and Burke also on target, they enjoyed a 0-9 to 0-4 lead by the first water break.

Their dominance was maintained in the second quarter, despite a dip in terms of scoring, but they delivered a knockout blow in the 30th minute as Currie fired clinically past Sean McClelland to help build a nine-point advantage at the interval.

The second-half was a more even affair, with Na Fianna content to protect their goal and keep their opponents at arm’s length and they succeeded in doing so, with Fergal Breathnach hugely effective in a roving defensive role.

Donal Flannery and Chris Crummey fired over points in the third quarter but they barely made a dent in the Lucan deficit as Burke took his personal tally to 0-9 by the final whistle.

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