Crokes stars to fore in curtain-raiser

by James Hendicott

KILMACUD CROKES stars Oisin O’Rorke and Ross O’Carroll were among the stand-out stars in the Dub Stars hurling on New Year’s Day, among those to shine in the annual curtain-raiser at Parnell Park.
The Stars line-up bore little resemblance to the initially named panel with six Cuala players not taking part due to their upcoming All-Ireland semi-final.
They were beaten on the day by the Dublin panel and O’Rorke showed a little rustiness with his usually outstanding free taking somewhat off the mark, but it was his creativity linking the midfield and forwards for the Stars alongside powerhouse O’Carroll that proved the driving force for the once-off team.
Dublin led 0-4 to 0-1 with ten minutes on the clock, Tom Connolly scoring the most impressive point as he snatched possession on the edge of the box to delicately chip over the bar.
The relative absence of aggressive challenges was a platform for points, however, and the Stars soon came back, with Joel McManus in the thick of things as the game was levelled up at 0-6 a-piece.
O’Rorke also started to find his range with frees as the game progressed and his ambitious, rangy passes. On 25 minutes his gathering of a loose ball in the Dublin box saw the Crokes man lash into the side netting from a tight angle.
By the time Alex Quinn’s pressure saw a goal mouth scramble end up the Dublin net, O’Rorke had helped the Stars take charge, taking in a 1-8 to 0-7 lead at half time.
Dub Stars rarely win these games, however, and the men in blue weren’t about to let this one slide. Connolly had the final word after Sean O’Riain grabbed a goal that swung the game midway through the second half.
The Dublin side eventually coming out with a fairly comfortable margin at 1-19 to 1-14, most of which was gathered in the closing stages.
Ronan Walsh, Caolan Conway, Fergal Whiteley and Bill O’Carroll also turned out for the Dublin county finalists, with Crumlin’s Alex Quinn (Stars) and Tom Connolly (Dublin) also making a serious impact.
In the football fixture, an equally heavily-altered Stars team also lost out despite a star performance from Mossy Quinn, with the Marino man hitting 3-4 as his sharpness came to the fore ahead of Vincent’s All Ireland semi-final.

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