Pat Burke’s fluid attacking play for Kilmacud Crokes has been one of their key assets so far this season, and the former Dublin and Clare man was vital again as Kilmacud Crokes took charge of Group 1 with a win over Na Fianna at Parnell Park on Wednesday night.
The holders’ win over the Mobhi Road side in perfect summer-evening like conditions guaranteed their place in the Dublin senior football championship knockout stages with a game to spare.
The relative comfort of Crokes progression from the group is a sign the current Dublin champions are in fine form but the scoreboard didn’t quite tell the whole story of a tight contest filled with goalmouth action.
Crokes started well with Callum Pearson and Paul Mannion pointing two tough frees from distance but Na Fianna had pulled things back.
Pearson and Burke combined shortly afterwards to score a critical goal for Crokes, with Burke firing emphatically past Stephen Murray in the Na Fianna goal.
He would finish the contest with 1-4.
Craig Dias was again proving a key man in midfield for Crokes, with Conor McHugh offering plenty of threat at the other end for Na Fianna and the Glasnevin side went in at half time 1-5 to 0-6 behind.
Burke could have added another goal just before the break if not for a fine save from Murray in the Na Fianna goal, but the Mobhi men went still closer, with James Doran beating David Nestor in the Crokes net, only to see his shot thump off the crossbar.
Crokes, though, were the better side when it came to creating and taking their points, and showed it as the second half progressed, with Shane Horan and Burke adding to the tally.
With Na Fianna falling behind, they were forced to go for goal, and fired up, Alasdair Fitzgerald forced the in-form Nestor into another fine save.
On another day, this one could have gone to the wire, and Crokes have Nestor to thank for their comfort. For Na Fianna, the outcome has a familiar ‘nearly there’ feel to it. They’ll need to beat Kickhams in late summer to progress.