Classy Kilmacud Crokes kil' off Ballyboden
Dublin SHC Semi-final
A 37th-minute goal by Seán McGrath propelled Kilmacud Crokes to a deserved seven-point victory over local rivals Ballyboden St Enda's in their Dublin Senior Hurling Championship semi-final at Parnell Park last Saturday teatime.
The victory offered a degree of revenge for Kilmacud following their defeat at the hands of St Enda's at the quarter-final stage last year with the foundation for their success built on another excellent defensive effort.
With Rory O'Carroll missing through a hamstring injury, Rob O'Loughlin excelled as his replacement at full-back while Cian Mac Gabhann and Jack Doughan were others to feature prominently as Crokes once again enjoyed the comfort and benefit of a clean sheet.
Further up the field, Damien Kelly proved hugely instrumental in ensuring Kilmacud's initial dominance in the middle third and the continued progression of Caolán Conway was another positive for manager Ollie Baker (left) to derive from the contest.
St Enda's enjoyed an early lead thanks to successive scores from Paul Ryan and Simon Lambert but Crokes gradually found their rhythm following successive points by Conway and Ryan O'Dwyer as they took control of affairs.
Oisín O'Rorke highlighted his threat with two superb points as the half progressed but a wonderful turn past Conor Robinson in the 21st minute was not matched by the ensuing strike as he shot wildly wide with just Gary Maguire to beat.
Dillon Mulligan's long-distance point maintained Crokes' momentum and although Collie O'Neill replied for the holders, a late point by Niall Corcoran ensured a well-merited 0-9 to 0-5 interval lead for Kilmacud.
As expected, Ballyboden improved significantly upon the restart and they halved their deficit by the 36th minute after unanswered points by Ryan and Niall McMorrow.
However, their efforts were punctured a minute later as a clever pass by Mac Gabhann opened their defence with McGrath firing splendidly across Maguire from Kelly's well-timed pass.
A brace of superb points from Conal Keaney hinted at another possible resurgence by St Enda's but the goal required to ignite their comeback never looked likely to materialise, and their fate was sealed in the closing 10 minutes as Kilmacud eased home following late scores by Conway and the tireless Kelly.
Scorers - Kilmacud Crokes: C Conway 0-6 (2f); S McGrath 1-2; D Kelly 0-3; O O'Rorke 0-2; R O'Dwyer, D Mulligan, N Corcoran 0-1 each. Ballyboden St Enda's: P Ryan 0-5 (4f, 1 '65'); C O'Neill, C Keaney 0-2 each; S Lambert, N McMorrow, C McCormack 0-1 each.
Kilmacud Crokes: M Collins; N Corcoran, R O'Loughlin, J Clinton; C Mac Gabhann, J Doughan, B O'Carroll; D Mulligan, D Kelly; R O'Carroll, S McGrath, C Conway; O O'Rorke, R O'Dwyer, B O'Rorke. Subs: B Mulligan for B O'Carroll (41), J Sweeney for B O'Rorke (46), J Burke for O O'Rorke (52), B Ó Leidhin for McGrath (59).
Ballyboden St Enda's: G Maguire; J Madden, S Hiney, C Robinson; S Durlin, D Curran, S O'Connor; F McGarry, N McMorrow; C Keaney, D Curtin, D O'Connor; P Ryan, S Lambert, C O'Neill. Subs: M Weldon for McGarry (28), T Sweeney for Curtin (half-time), C McCormack for O'Connor (38), G Corrigan for O'Neill (46), J Roche for Lambert (59).
REF: Peadar Behan (Trinity Gaels).