Leinster club football championship

Goals fire kilmacud to naas victory

by Jonny Stapleton
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Kilmacud Crokes bagged three goals as they saw off Kildare champions Naas in the Leinster club SFC for a second successive season.

Spurred on by first-half goals from Dara Mullin and Craig Dias they made the game safe with a third from Hugh Kenny in the 35th minute to book a semi-final in Croke Park on Saturday week with Portarlington.

Kilmacud had deeper reserves too and were able to maintain a steady momentum that kept Naas at arm’s length as they preserved a lead that ranged from eight to 10 points once the third goal went in.

Naas did persevere and Darragh Kirwan came to life with three second half points bringing his tally to four overall.

But Crokes were controlled and efficient in everything they did, two wides throughout a reflection of that economy.

Shane Walsh played his part too with four points but he didn’t have to be nearly as influential as he had been in the Dublin final some weeks earlier as Mullin, Shane Cunningham and outstanding half-back Andrew McGowan stepped up.

Mullin showed great opportunism for the first Kilmacud goal in the seventh minute and from there there was only going to be one winner as Crokes continue their march to redemption.

. From this angle Cathal Daly looked to be harshly penalised for overcarrying as he sought to break the defensive line.

Quite generously, he put the ball down straight away and a quick thinking Mullin, spotting that Naas goalkeeper Luke Mullins was off his line, picked up and guided a shot from just inside the ‘D’ to an empty net.

A Shane Walsh point, trademark for him at this stage as he looped a kick high from about 40 metres extended the lead and when he added a free, the sense was that Crokes could open up.

But powered on by Alex Beirne, Naas got a firm handle around the middle and put a lot of pressure on the Crokes’ kick-out.

Featured Image: Darragh Kirwan of Naas in action against Andrew McGowan of Kilmacud Crokes during the Dublin club’s Leinster Championship win.

Photo: Daire Brennan/SportsfileSportsfile

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