Claffey on the double as Foxes race clear

by James Hendicott

Foxrock Cabinteely reached another Dublin Senior Football Final as they eventually broke down the Kilmacud Crokes resistance to grab an ultimately comfortable win at Lawless Park last Saturday.

The holders got off to a strong start, dominating early possession and going in front through an Amy Connolly free won after less than 30 seconds. The twin harrying of Connolly and Hannah O’Neill in particular seemed to rattle Crokes, who struggled to get the ball into meaningful territory.

The Foxes built an early 0-3 to 0-1 lead, having conceded from the only meaningful Crokes counter-attack.

Ciara Ni Mhurchadh struck just the wrong side of the post from a good chance wide on the right.

Early on, vibrant looking Foxrock Cabinteely were quicker to almost every breaking ball with Crokes forced to concede frees to keep them at arm’s length. By midway through the first half, the gap had grown to 0-5 to 0-1.

Crokes did find some possession and territory as the half edged on, their best chance coming when Michelle Davoren fisted a high ball straight down the throat of Cabinteely goalkeeper Aisling Tarpey when well placed in the centre of the box.

For all Molly Lamb and Lauren Magee’s energetic efforts in midfield, Foxcab were coming out on top most of the time and went in with a 0-6 to 0-3 lead.

Crokes came out intent on making an impact early in the second half. Davoren scored an impressive point from distance before Eabha Rutledge’s free from wide on the left flew straight into the Foxcab net. Crokes suddenly had an unlikely lead at 1-4 to 0-6, having come out firing.

The holders composed approach came through in their response: a slotted free from Amy Ring and a Sinead Goldrick point from play quickly had them back in front.

Then, a Laura Nerney break wide on the right left her perfectly placed to play in Fiona Claffey, a goal on a plate fisted into an unguarded net from close range.

A minute later, the contest was as good as over as Claffey was again left unmarked and finished high and emphatically past Rachel Fleming in the Crokes goal.

It had been a rapid, poke-the bear response from Fox Cab that suddenly propelled them to 2-8 to 1-4 in front.

From there, play became scrappy and the teams exchanged frees of little real consequence as the Foxes managed the game.

The holders absorbed plenty of pressure as Crokes controlled possession but to little effect on the scoreboard, Rutledge’s metronomic frees aside as she ended with 1-6.

A scrappy end suited Foxrock Cabinteely. They had conceded only 0-2 from play in the entire contest and, aside from that brief period early in the second half, never looked particularly threatened. They march comfortably into the final, 2-10 to 1-7.

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