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Kilmacud Crokes boss hails resolve of the panel after breakthrough final success

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Emer Sweeney (right) of Kilmacud Crokes tries to dispossess Ciara McGuigan of Thomas Davis. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Emer Sweeney (right) of Kilmacud Crokes tries to dispossess Ciara McGuigan of Thomas Davis. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Emer Sweeney (right) of Kilmacud Crokes tries to dispossess Ciara McGuigan of Thomas Davis. Photo: Gerry Mooney

TIME was ticking down. Slowly. For Kilmacud Crokes. They were hanging on. By their finger nails.

They were a point ahead in Friday night’s thrilling Go-Ahead Dublin Ladies’ Football Senior Championship final.

Crokes were defending with everything they had. Finding it hard to get out of their own half.

Suddenly, the ball was at the other end of the garden. In the fingers of Cassie Sultan. At the church end. Prayers were said. Her rising shot soared just under the organ loft. A priceless goal that will live long in the corridors of Glenalbyn.

“The first one is always the hardest to win,” remarked Crokes manager Paddy O’Donoghue. He knows that so well from his own playing days.

He was on the first Crokes team that won the Dublin Senior Football Championship in 1992. On that November day in Parnell Park, Crokes beat Civil Service by a point. Frank Rutledge and John Sweeney were also on the side. All three have daughters on the Kilmacud team – Emer Sweeney, Eabha Rutledge and Sinéad O’Donoghue.

The match report from ’92 stated that “Paddy O’Donoghue converted a magnificent 40-metre line-ball”.

Sultan’s goal was also a pivotal moment.

“Cassie’s goal was so important. It was a great goal. It was so well worked. And it gave us that bit of breathing space at the most crucial time.”

Paddy had a song of praise for Thomas Davis.

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“We played well in the first half, but Thomas Davis really came back at us. They came more and more into it, and in those last few minutes the game was there for the taking. They were putting us under such pressure that we only managed to score 1-2 in the second half.”

Michelle Davoren got the first score of the second half, with Laura Kane’s precious, porcelain point coming after Davis had hit five points without reply.

“It’s great that we managed to win it, having lost our two previous finals – one of them in extra-time. Losing both to one of the greatest sides that Dublin club football has ever seen, Foxrock Cabinteely, who did so much to raise the bar in the county.

“We learned from such days. We gained in experience. The group deserve so much credit. They never gave up. The underage structures at the club are so good. We have players coming through all the time.”

So many of those young players were in Donnycarney to see history. And at half-time, the All-Ireland U-16 champions, Dublin, were paraded onto the pitch to a huge ovation from the stand.

Thomas Davis will also have more nights under the lights. They had a season, and a final, to remember.

Olwen Carey is the player everybody wants to be. Siobhán McGrath has long been the toast of the city. And it’s the overall character and team spirit that impress so much. 

“It was a tough start for us,” reflected Peter Boland. “Crokes came out flying. They built up a big lead. But we were so much better in the second half. We couldn’t have asked for any more from the players.

“We brought it back to a point. The second Crokes goal caught us on the counter. But the players have much to be proud of. We are a good team. And we’ll have another crack next year.

“Crokes are a top side. They won’t be easily beaten in Leinster. I thought it was a superb match. Both sides gave it their all. There was such intensity in it.”


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