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Connollys ensure Saints go marching on

St Vincent's cruised into their first county hurling final since 2007 as they recorded an emphatic victory over a desperate Kilmacud Crokes at Parnell Park yesterday afternoon.

Four early points from Thomas Connolly, Diarmuid Connolly, Damian Russell and Stephen Loughlin had the Marino men out of the blocks in great style prior to James Burke replying for Crokes in the eighth minute.

Keith Connolly responded for Vincent's with a fine goal four minutes later and another goal from brother Thomas pushed them nine points ahead in the 27th minute.

However, a free by Kevin O'Loughlin that raised the green flag on the stroke of half-time narrowed the deficit to just six points.

However, any aspirations Crokes had of a miraculous second-half comeback were quickly dispelled as Russell, Keith Connolly and Ruairi Trainor all tagged on early points before Thomas Connolly confirmed Vincent's progression to the final with a well-taken goal, his second of the afternoon, towards the end of the third quarter.

Scorers -- St Vincent's: T Connolly 2-5 (0-4f, 0-1 '65'), D Russell 0-5, K Connolly 1-1, S Loughlin 0-3, D Connolly 0-2, R Trainor, T McGrane 0-1 each. Kilmacud Crokes: K O'Loughlin 1-2 (1-2f), R O'Carroll 0-2, J Burke, R O'Loughlin, A de Paor, D McGovern 0-1 each.

St Vincent's -- T Carroll; R Pocock, D Qualter, M Kirwan; R Trainor, R Fallon, W Lowry; C Fallon, D Connolly; S O'Neill, P Fleury, S Loughlin; K Connolly, D Russell, T Connolly. Subs: T McGrane for Fleury (24), N Bishop for O'Neill (47), I Fleming for K Connolly (51), C Billings for Kirwan (58).

Kilmacud Crokes -- M Ó hÓgáin; A Grogan, N Lillis, G McMorrow; R Walsh, R O'Loughlin, J Doughan; C Clinton, S O'Rourke; A de Paor, N Corcoran, Ross O'Carroll; K O'Loughlin, J Burke, Barry O'Rorke. Subs: S McGrath and A Cleary for Clinton and Lillis (40), D McGovern for de Paor (49), H Gannon for O'Rorke (52), F Armstrong for R O'Loughlin (56).

Ref --T Carton (Naomh Fionnbarra).

Irish Independent