Thursday 25 May 2017

Cool Crokes cull Cuala to renew Na Fianna fight

IT will be standing room only for the Dublin Minor Football 'A' Championship semi-finals. It's St Vincent's against St Sylvester's and Na Fianna versus Kilmacud Crokes.

The Na Fianna-Crokes clash is a repeat of the Division 1 final which ended in a draw at Páirc de Burca. It was a cracking spectacle. The league replay, and now this championship semi-final, have set the pulses sprinting in Glasnevin and Stillorgan.

Kilmacud won Sunday's big Southside derby against Cuala, 2-12 to 0-9. On home turf, they produced a first-class display which saw their half-back, Barry Horan, emerge as the man of the match.

It was a tale of three penalties. Daragh Mullen converted two for Crokes, while their goalkeeper, Conor Murray, saved one.

The Crokes captain, KJ McGowan, and James Murphy excelled at the back, while Neil Gorey and Matt McNicholas impressed in attack.

"We played well, and we were worth the win," reflected Kilmacud's Michael McNicholas. "We were strong in defence and we played good, attacking football."

Across the city, Sylvester's defeated Castleknock by 1-11 to 0-6 in Malahide. Syls trailed at the break, 0-6 to 0-4, but they polished the boots at half-time.

David Sexton got the goal. It concluded a quick-fire, precise movement that opened up the Castleknock castle. Full-forward, Colm Byrne, played in the decisive pass for Sexton to profit.

Sexton hit 1-3, while Mark Hazley scored 0-4 (3f). Byrne was also among the scorers. The last point of the match was the best. It came from Syls centre half-back, Kevin O'Flynn, who ran the length of the village before popping over.

"We made a slow start. Castleknock put it up to us and we weren't happy at half-time," admitted John Sexton of Sylvester's. "But in fairness to the lads, they dug it out.

"We dominated the second half. We took some excellent scores. You are always pleased with the win, but we know we have some serious improving to do for the semi-final.

"A repeat performance like that won't be good enough to beat Vincent's. We have to up it considerably, and we'll have to play for the full 60 minutes."

Vins moved into the last four when they returned from Ballinteer with a fine 1-13 to 0-11 victory. The Marino maestros will have home advantage against Syls.

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