Inspirational Mannion fires Kilmacud to SFC

by Gazette Reporter
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[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Paul Mannion was the star as Kilmacud Crokes brought a first Dublin senior football title since 2010 back to Stillorgan on Monday night, the Crokes men looking consistently in charge against a Jude’s side nervously searching for their first title.

Mannion scored 1-6 without a single wide in an imperious performance as Crokes led from start to finish.

Jude’s did briefly threaten a second half recovery as both sides had battled through a sloppy opening period with things taking off after the break.

In fitting with the weight of expectation, the two sides spent the opening exchanges feeling each other out with lots of scrappy contests in midfield and little in the danger zone.

Mannion slotted a point from wide on the right for Crokes and his Kilmacud side having much of the better territory in the early stages.

Further scores from Mannion and Shane Cunningham helped Crokes open up a 0-3 to 0-0 lead 11 minutes in, with Jude’s struggling to work their way into the game.

Crokes’ attacks were seeing them weave between Jude’s defenders, while the Tymon North club had been firmly held at arm’s length.

Mannion had hit another before Jude’s finally got even attempted their first point of the game in the 17th minute with Niall Coakley scoring a well-won free by a scrappy, pressuring Simon King.

The success did briefly spur Jude’s to life but they were unquestionably suffering a nervous, half at the attacking end of the pitch, a far cry from the side that picked apart holders St Vincent’s in the semi-final.

Mannion punished them again with Seamus Ryan responding. Craig Dias slotted calmly over at the other end and Coakley hit back with a free.

In a way, the half had a real sense of the game not really having started yet, cagey and bitty. Crokes had comfortably had the better and led 0-7 to 0-3, with only Simon King particularly impressing for Jude’s.

Kevin McManamon came to life straight after the break, slotting a fantastic point from a right angle, only to see imperious Dublin teammate Mannion grab his fifth point on the turn at the other end. The game was coming to life and Crokes were still having the better of it.

The following minutes were Jude’s at their best, their half forward line running hard at the Crokes defence. Seamus Ryan hit two as the gap closed to a single point and Crokes briefly looked to be swimming against the tide.

The Stillorgan side responded fast, though, first through Mannion, and then with Pat Burke slotting into the Jude’s goal after a weaving run, to stretch the Stillorgan side’s lead to 1-9 to 0-7 with 20 minutes left.

While McManamon kept Jude’s ticking over, it was fast starting to look like they’d need a goal. Instead, they ultimately conceded one, with Mannion nutmegging the Jude’s ‘keeper with three minutes remaining and confirming Crokes victory.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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