Kilmacud Crokes ace Paul Mannion admitted his side were put to the pin of their collar by St Jude’s before they eventually triumphed in the Dublin Senior One Football Championship decider at Parnell Park on Sunday.
This was the former Dublin star’s second county title success with the Stillorgan club, following their previous win over Jude’s in 2018. Whereas Crokes came out on the right end of a 2-12 to 0-13 final scoreline on that occasion, the latest decider between these two teams was far less free-flowing, with neither attack truly cutting loose on the day.
While both sides clocked up significant tallies en route to this year’s final, it took all of 23 minutes for the first score to arrive in this game. Crokes found it difficult to break down their rigid opponents for large spells, but Mannion always had faith that they’d find a way.
“We expected a tough game like that today. They love to make it a dogged kind of affair. Close the spaces and you can see the intensity of their tackling throughout the whole game. Right up to the last minute when we were just poking for a score, for an equaliser. Really good game I think that will stand to us now going into the Leinster championship (a quarter-final meeting with Wolfe Tones),” Mannion explained.
Facing into a 1-4 to 0-3 deficit at the beginning of the final quarter, Crokes had their work cut out if they were to emerge with a ninth showpiece victory at this grade. Mannion subsequently added a brace of points, but it was the bench who ultimately swung the pendulum in their favour.
Adding to Cian O’Connor’s superb 51st-minute goal, Aidan Jones and Callum Pearson kicked stoppage-time points to get their side past the post. From Mannion’s point of view, this was the key factor behind the Stillorgan men having such a successful campaign in the capital.
“We’ve said all year, that’s one of our strengths. The strength of the panel, the strength of the squad,” Mannion added.
“The management have been thinking about the team that are going to be finishing the game, as well as the lads that’ll be starting. Callum Pearson and Aidan Jones, all these lads popping up with some unbelievable scores. To get us back into it and get us one ahead.”
starting. Callum Pearson and Aidan Jones, all these lads popping up with some unbelievable scores. To get us back into it and get us one ahead.”