Awesome Crokes seal third Dublin title on the spin

by Aaron Dunne
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Kilmacud Crokes 1-14

Ballyboden St Enda’s 0-9

Kilmacud Crokes secured their third successive Go Ahead Dublin Senior 1 Football Championship title when getting the better of Ballyboden St Enda’s by eight points at Parnell Park on Sunday afternoon.

This was as impressive and as dominant a performance as we have witnessed from the Stillorgan outfit in their hat-trick of county title wins as they seized complete control in the second-half to complete a resounding success.

Their struggles to get over the line against Raheny a fortnight previously proved a distant memory with the likes of Theo Clancy, Dan O’Brien and Brian Sheehy setting the tone for their defensive solidity while the defining moment arrived in the 40th minute as Shane Walsh scored a goal of equal beauty and significance.

There was a suitably enterprising start to proceedings on a near perfect day for football with Mark O’Leary once again highlighting his eye for a score from midfield when opening the scoring in the 3rd minute.

Ross McGarry levelled matters two minutes later with the evenness of the opening quarter reflected as Shane Walsh and Colm Basquel traded points within a minute of each other.

The holders were slightly more economical at this stage, despite two shots that dropped short, and they edged two points clear by the 11th minute following successive scores from Shane Horan and Aidan Jones.

Despite enjoying plenty of possession, St Enda’s took some poor options in front of goal, unnecessarily rushing the pass on occasion, but they halved their deficit through Colm Basquel towards the end of the first quarter.

A sublime Paul Mannion point and an equally classy effort from Dan O’Brien pushed Crokes three points clear by the 20th minute but Ryan Basquel began to influence matters as he kicked two points on the bounce to leave the contest delicately poised.

With Crokes having replaced regular goalkeeper Conor Ferris with David Higgins prior to throw-in, that decision hardly vindicated as Céin D’Arcy, and to a lesser extent, Michael Darragh Macauley controlled the aerial restarts.

Mannion kicked another sumptuous score in the 26th minute to restore Kilmacud’s two-point margin and they could have entered the break in a more commanding position but Horan, with the goal at his mercy, saw his low shot blocked by Darragh Gogan.

Leading by 0-7 to 0-5 at the interval, Kilmacud looked to extend that advantage upon the restart with a fine run from O’Brien in the 34th minute allowing Crokes captain Shane Cunningham to open his personal account.

Colm Basquel and Cunningham exchanged points soon after before Kilmacud put further daylight between the teams in spectacular fashion in the 40th minute.

he origin was a turnover from Hugh Kenny as he dispossessed Brian Bobbett around centrefield and the subsequent pass allowed Walsh to run at the retreating St Enda’s defence and his subsequent finish across Gogan into the top corner of the net was fit to grace any occasion.

Ballyboden, who hit a similar flat spot in their semi-final win over St Jude’s, were struggling to match the sharpness of their opponents, as they fell further behind thanks to scores by Mannion, Dara Mullin and Cunningham.

The contest petered out from that point as Kilmacud coped comfortably with sporadic bouts of Boden pressure and while Crokes failed to score for the final ten minutes, nothing could mask their excellence on the day.

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