kilmacud edge balally belter
kilmacud crokes 0-13 naomh olaf 0-12
DERBY night at Páirc Uí Bhriain. A table-topper. The crowds came. The pitch was roped off.
There was a bounce in the turf. And expectation in the air.
Shane Smith is doing a fine job as manager of Olaf's. He was a free-scoring forward with Thomas Davis.
Mick Jones is in charge of Crokes. A high calibre goalkeeper when he wore the gloves.
It was a terrific contest.
Its tempo, fitness and skill spoke well of both teams, and the AFL 3. The referee, Darren Malone, kept the music going better than Andre Rieu.
Crokes led for most of the way. It was level twice late on. Olaf's led by two points with ten minutes left.
"The lads had to dig deep to get the result. We did well to come through. Olaf's gave us a big test," reflected Mick Jones.
The hosts had Daragh Maxwell at full-forward. He caught some good ball, and opened a few drawers.
The home captain, Colin Doyle, an accomplished right half-back, led the way, especially in the second half when he scored three charming points.
He sent the first one over with his left boot.
Olaf's had forward aces in Eoin Kinsella and Fearghal McCann. Kinsella landed a beauty from wide on the left in the second period at the Beacon Hospital End.
People were being punished for giving a hospital pass. The opposition pounced sharply on any stray crumbs.
McCann has quite a dash about him. He hit a nugget of a point, also from wide on the left, ten minutes from time.
But it required a visit up-stairs to the TMO as one umpire gave it and the other didn't! It was an important moment because it put Olaf's two points up.
The visitors had carved out an electric start. Quick hands and quick feet saw them lead by three points to no score inside the opening ten minutes.
On target were Cian O'Connor, Andy O'Malley and Danny McGale.
Olaf's did settle, but at half-time it was Kilmacud in front by five points to four.
The Stillorgan side possess a cultured full-back in Gavin English. Their right half-back, Eddie Mullins, also made a generous donation.
The free-taking of O'Malley became more vital as the hour hummed on, and, when it mattered most, Declan Kelleher, showed vision and drive from centre half-forward.
There was also noble movement in the Crokes full-forward line of Alex Mulvey, O'Connor and McGale. Mulvey showed speed and daring.
The action just zipped along after the oranges. Crokes still ahead, but never leading by more than two points.
Then, midway through the half, Olaf's hit a golden patch, and four points without reply. They came from Doyle (2), Daragh Byrne and McCann's malteser. Crokes had levelled with four minutes left - 0-11 each.
Then two telling Mulvey frees pushed them two clear.
Doyle produced another tasty point for Olaf's. Three added minutes on the watch now.
In the growing excitement, Olaf's still managed to engineer a couple of hopeful moments.
All eyes on the stage. The Crokes defence were the coolest men in the house.
Many were saying a draw would have done justice to such a marvellous spectacle.
The neighbours had plenty to talk about over the supper.
SCORERS - KILMACUD CROKES: A O'Malley (3f), D McGale, A Mulvey (2f) 0-3 each, C O'Connor (1f) 0-2, D Kelleher, K O'Carroll 0-1 each. NAOMH OLAF: E Kinsella 0-5 (4f), F McCann, C Doyle 0-3 each, D Byrne 0-1.
KILMACUD CROKES: J Mooney; B Logan, G English, D Kennedy; E Mullins, B McCann, S Murphy; A O'Malley, C Casey; C O'Neill, D Kelleher, P Devitt; C O'Connor, D McGale, A Mulvey. SUBS: K O'Carroll for Devitt; R Burns for Kennedy.
NAOMH OLAF: B Redmond; C Watters, K Birrane, R Miley; C Doyle, D O'Flaherty, S Whyte; C Haskins, P O'Connor; T O'Donoghue, G Wilkins, F McCann; M Doyle, D Maxwell, E Kinsella. SUBS: Daragh Byrne for Birrane; M McDonagh for Maxwell.
MENTORS - KILMACUD CROKES: Mick Jones, Liam Dunne, Mark Davoren. NAOMH OLAF: Shane Smith, Ger O'Malley, Des Noonan, David Burke.
REFEREE: Darren Malone (St Mary's)
WIDES - KILMACUD CROKES: 11 (7+4); NAOMH OLAF: 7 (4+3).
CONDITIONS: Sunny evening. Mild. Cross-field wind. Firm sod. Plenty of bounce in the ball. Pitch well prepared. Flagged and lined. And a roped enclosure for the spectators.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Colin Doyle (Naomh Olaf).