O’Rorke and Crokes power past Craobh

by James Hendicott

CRAOBH CHIARAIN barely had to stumble out of their own training ground to face Kilmacud Crokes at Parnell Park in their Senior Championship hurling quarter final on Friday night.
The Donnycarney club found a de facto home advantage of little benefit, though, as their opponents put them away by doing the simple things right in a game with a nasty edge.
Oisin O’Rorke was the node for Crokes, the Dublin man consistently threatening from full forward.
Craobh Chiarain weren’t without their chances, however, with Matt Collins in the Crokes goal pulling off a stunning diving save midway through the south-sider’s scoring run.
Crokes never looked less than in control. When Chiarain finally clocked their second point, it simply pushed Crokes on: in a scrappy break, O’Rorke was the quickest to react to a Stephen Chester block to tap into an empty net.
The goals started to fly in. O’Rorke hit another, while Chester in the Chiarain goal prevented the game from totally running away from them with a couple of sharp saves. Keith Ryan’s deflected effort beat Kelly in the Crokes goal at the other end, but with barely twenty minutes on the clock, Crokes lead had already stretched to 2-8 to 1-2.
The gap narrowed a fraction before half time, but Crokes were doing the simple things right, consistently taking their points while Chiarain struggled for quality possession and squandered chances by optimistically going for goal.
In deteriorating conditions, the second half was a scrappy affair in which Chiarain slowly edged back into the game, but in blanket rain, both sides struggled to get a grip.
O’Rorke’s poor, snatched effort on the edge of the Chiarain box was indicative of the downpour, with Mahon succeeding at the other end, before Sean McGrath effectively put the game to bed with a lashed third goal for Crokes.
The game was taking on a nasty edge, with some niggly tackles and a couple of shoving matches ending with a red card each for Darren Kelly for Chiarain and Caolan Conway for Crokes, both for separate vicious slaps at opponents with their sticks.
As the game meandered towards a close, Chiarain lost the run of themselves, and – following a stamp against a Crokes player on the ground accompanied by a dig from a second player – can consider themselves fortunate to finish with even 14 players on the pitch.
O’Rorke missed a late clip on goal for Crokes, but the southsiders superiority was ultimately clear, with the final margin 3-11 to 1-6. They progress to the semi finals.

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