Crokes’ goal-burst undoes Lucan hopes

by Gazette Reporter
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LUCAN Sarsfields’ tough AFL1 season continued against high-flying Kilmacud Crokes on Tuesday night as the club’s visit to Silver Park ended in a fairly convincing loss nevertheless marred by several layers of controversy.
Sarsfields – who’ve won only once all year – put up a decent fight without several regulars against the south Dublin high-fliers, however, with Kevin Roche making some fine saves between the sticks and Trevor Lee and Joey Byrne offering up fine performances in the middle of the park.
The key moment of the first half was a source of some confusion: with the teams tied at 0-2, a loose ball at the end of a Crokes attack took a couple of deflections and trickled over the line for a goal for the home side.
It took until half time until many realised the goal had been awarded, with the net credited to Shane O’Rourke.
Sarsfields’ attacking flair came in large part through the impressive free taking and distribution of Kevin O’Reilly, whose points included a flat monster of a puck from inside his own half, while both sides squandered attacking momentum by opting to go for points from distance.
While Crokes went in with a 1-8 to 0-8 lead, Sarsfields would have felt very much in the game come half time, but that changed quickly.
The first of Crokes two second half goals was another cause for debate, as a break ended with the sliotar smashed off the underside of the Sarsfields bar, off the ground and back out.
With it all but impossible to tell whether the line was breached, the referee awarded a goal, one that was quickly followed by a breakaway third as Sarsfields’ vocal discontent continued to simmer.
The game took on a feisty edge from then on, with tough tackling and verbals at one point causing the referee to ask a member of the Crokes coaching staff onto the pitch to calm one of his players.
The edge was fuelled in part by those two early Kilmacud goals, but also by a high, hanging nothing of a shot that dropped under the Crokes’ bar and – in the eyes of the Sarsfields players – crossed the goalline in the hand of the home side’s goalkeeper.
Despite Sarsfields protests, nothing was given.
With the clock running down, Sarsfields did get some rewards for their endeavour, with Matt McCaffrey breaking past two defenders and lashing the sliotar into the roof of the Crokes’ net with a few minutes left on the clock.
It was scant consolation, though, with Crokes running out with a 3-13 to 1-12 win, a margin notched through greater ambition and that early second half burst.

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