Gaelic Football: Kilmacud set for date with Pearses

by Aaron Dunne
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Kilmacud crokes must again find a way to win without the services of talismanic forward Paul Mannion with the former Dublin star set to miss out on Saturday’s All-Ireland semi-final clash with Roscommon champions Pádraig Pearse’s at Kingspan Breffni Park.

Crokes boss Robbie Brennan says said his proved they’re not a one-man team by winning the AIB Leinster club final without Mannion.

The six-time All-Ireland winner underwent knee surgery the day before the Leinster final win over Naas but may be available for the All-Ireland final should the Stilorgin get past the sizable hurdle of the Connacht champions.

The in-form forward’s absence wasn’t felt at Croke Park as Tom Fox delivered a Man of the Match display, striking 0-5, while Rory O’Carroll led a watertight defence.

Naas didn’t score at all in the second-half and suffered more from the loss of their own star forward Darragh Kirwan.

The county attacker struck 1-2 in the semi-finals but was a late withdrawal – crippling their attack – and Crokes made no mistake in claiming their first provincial title in 11 years.

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Meanwhile, 14-man Dublin eventually shook off a dogged Laois challenge in a tight and tense O’Byrne Cup final encounter at Netwatch Cullen Park on Saturday. 

Dessie Farrell’s side lost centre-back John Small to a straight red card after an off-the-ball incident with opponent Evan O’Carroll before the break but the sending off by referee Cormac O’Reilly had no impact on proceedings as the Dubs dug deep to record a 1-13 to 0-11 win in Carlow.

Trailing by just two points at the change of ends (1-5 to 0-6) with the numerical advantage, Laois, who had beaten Kildare in a penalty shoot-out in last Wednesday’s semi-final at the same venue, looked to be in a promising position but failed to capitalise as instead Dublin upped the gear in the second-half.

Elsewhere, the GAA’s Central Competitions Controls Committee (CCCC) is expected to recommend the end of the use of water breaks ahead of the start of the Allianz Football League this weekend.

Dublin face Armagh on Saturday night at Croke Park in their opener, throw-in set for 7.30pm and live on RTE Sport.

Following the lifting of Covid restrictions last weekend, water breaks are set to go and ‘maor uisces’ will return.

The move will be welcomed by those who felt that water breaks were a ‘momentum breaker’ in games, while many coaches used the break in play to give team talks and make tactical changes.

Dan O’Brien of Kilmacud Crokes celebrates after his side’s Leinster final win over Naas at Croke Park two weeks ago. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Click on link to read more in this weeks Digital Edition
Click on link to read more in this weeks Digital Edition

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