Horan proves Crokes' hero as Ballyboden suffer setback
All-Ireland club football champions of 2016 Ballyboden St Enda's suffered a setback to their hopes of regaining the Dublin SFC when losing to Kilmacud Crokes on Saturday night.
Billed as the tie of the opening round in the capital, this game did not disappoint.
Kilmacud Crokes deserved their win although the 3-12 to 1-11 scoreline flattered them slightly.
Shane Horan proved the scoring hero for Kilmacud as his side led 2-6 to 0-6 at the interval, with his two goals coming inside a minute at the end of the first quarter.
Ballyboden regrouped well at the start of the second half and came storming back within a minute of the restart as former Dublin minor James Madden powered through to rifle to the net and reduce the gap to just three points.
While Ballyboden had the deficit down to two midway through the second half, Crokes managed to find their second wind and a 54th-minute goal from sub Callum Pearson saw Crokes regain the initiative before ultimately running out convincing victors.
Ballyboden - who are managed by former Kildare All-Star Anthony Rainbow - will now have to win their remaining two group games against St Oliver Plunkett's/Eoghan Ruadh and Raheny to guarantee themselves a spot in the quarter-finals.
Last year's beaten finalists, Ballymun Kickhams, produced a dominant first-half display to comfortably see off St Brigid's by six points, 2-13 to 1-10.
Aided by the accuracy of Dean Rock, Ballymun quickly found their stride and Brigid's task was made even more difficult when the Dublin star finished a fine pass from Ted Furman to the net in the 20th minute.
Rock - who ended with 1-10 - added three points in succession to leave Ballymun ten points clear by the 29th minute, but a Paddy Andrews point and a goal from the penalty spot from Philly Ryan reduced St Brigid's deficit to six points by the break (1-9 to 1-3).
However, the game was ended as a contest in the 42nd minute when Rock delivered a superb pass to Conor Kavanagh and the Ballymun sub made no mistake with a simple finish.
Up next for Brigid's in their second group game will be a clash with Castleknock who proved too strong for Clontarf thanks to an impressive 2-19 to 0-9 win.
Ciaran Kilkenny was outstanding for Castleknock and hit eight points (three frees), while Limerick forward Shane Carroll bagged their two goals in the second half.
In Cork, Nemo Rangers opened the defence of their SFC crown in fine style as last month's beaten All-Ireland club finalists recorded a 1-16 to 0-5 victory over Clyda Rovers, with the goal coming from Luke Connolly.
Across the border in the Kingdom, 2017's All-Ireland club champions Dr Crokes reached the final of the Kerry Senior Club Championship thanks to a 0-18 to 1-10 win over Austin Stacks.
Six points from the boot of Kieran O'Leary laid the platform for victory and the Killarney outfit will be Dingle in the final after the West Kerry side saw off Legion by 1-10 to 0-5 with the help of a goal from Paul Geaney.
In Kilkenny, TJ Reid continued his fine form for Ballyhale Shamrocks as Henry Shefflin's reign in charge got off to the ideal start thanks to a 1-24 to 0-13 victory over Erin's Own in the first round of the county SHL.