Cosgrove says youth policy has been key for Kilmacud
KILMACUD Crokes stalwart Ray Cosgrove reckons that their management's faith in youth has propelled the club to the brink of another county title.
Despite missing players of the calibre of Paul Griffin, Darren Magee, Mark Davoren, Kevin Nolan and Mark Vaughan for most of the championship, Crokes booked their spot in another final with victory over St Vincent's last Sunday with a team containing the likes of Barry O'Rorke and Ronan Ryan -- both recent graduates of the underage structures within the club.
Cosgrove, now 33, is chasing a fifth Dublin senior championship medal and is again primed to make an appearance from the bench but reckons Crokes' victory despite their absenteeism was a major show of strength from the club.
"If you look at the guys we're missing: Paul Griffin, Darren Magee, Mark Davoren -- long term casualties," said Cosgrove. "A lot of people would have written us off at the start of the year, saying that that was the spine of our team missing.
"But in fairness to all the guys, they've put their shoulder to the wheel and produced the goods. It's a testament to the management that by blooding a few new guys, we're back in a county final."
Crokes exited last year's competition at the semi-final stage after an epic three-game saga with eventual champions, Ballyboden St Enda's. Yet having successfully negotiated a gruelling Leinster and All-Ireland club campaign over the previous 10 months, Crokes were generally felt to have run out of steam.
Cosgrove says the disappointment of that defeat has motivated the current crop to strive for more glory. However, despite Sunday's opposition, St Brigid's, plying their trade in AFL Division 2 at present, Cosgrove sees a strong pattern of form from the Blanchardstown team and has warned against complacency.
"After the disappointment of losing to Ballyboden last year after two replays, at the start of the year we set a goal to get back to a county final and compete for a county title," he said.
"(Brigid's) are unbeaten all year. They had a great result (in the semi-final) and we won't take anything for granted next Sunday. They're going to be big-time up for it and we're going to be at the top of our game to compete with them."