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STILLORGAN'S Kilmacud Crokes top the hit parade in the 2014 Dublin Bus/Herald Dubs Stars Hurling nominations.

The champions have 12 players selected as they are rewarded for winning their sixth county title.

It's been quite a début season for the man from Clare, Ollie Baker.

In September, he steered Crokes to their first-ever All-Ireland Sevens crown, a favourable omen for things to come.

And in securing Dublin gold, the men from Pairc De Burca maintained a 100 per cent record.

In 2012, they captured the championship prize for the first time in a quarter of a century, but last term, Ballyboden knocked them out in the quarter-final.

This season, the Glenalbyn side reversed that result in the semi-final. They also overcame Boden in the Group stage.

fancied

They also had Pool wins over St Oliver Plunkett's/Eoghan Ruadh and St Patrick's of Palmerstown.

The hardest test they faced was in the final itself against St Jude's.

Kilmacud were heavily fancied, but many felt Jude's should have won.

It was the Templeogue team's first final. You wouldn't have thought so. They looked at home in the carpet slippers.

They had Crokes on the ropes. Almost on the canvas. On a Friday night in Donnycarney, only a Late Late Show rescued the favourites.

And in the extra-time, Kilmacud played like men who were grateful for the second chance. They showed the zest that had been missing from the previous hour.

Still, the Tymon lads had much to be proud of. Certainly, manager, Sean Fallon, was chuffed with their efforts during the campaign.

And they have now secured nine Dubs Stars nominations.

Sean was the first to say it wasn't an overnight success. Jude's just didn't find the X-factor at a Spawell talent show.

Sean stressed the contribution of the people who wore the bib before him, and all those that helped to bring the kids through over the years.

They made history even before the final. It was their first time to reach the semi-final.

They pipped O'Toole's by a point. Beating the Larriers in the Championship is seen as a right of passage.

Stout defending was a principal factor in the success. And so was the accuracy of Fionn O Riain Broin.

Fionn carried his form into the final. He hit ten points, nine from the placed ball.

Jude's also came into the final unbeaten. They had group victories over Crumlin and Ballinteer St John's, while they drew with Lucan Sarsfields.

The quarter-final pitted Jude's against their friends and neighbours, Faughs.

Jude's and Faughs are only a hand-pass away from each other. And for Faughs, reaching the last eight was an achievement in itself, and a job well done by manager, PJ Donohue.

Faughs received three Dubs Stars nominations, while the Ayrfield men come in third with eight players included.

Brendan McLoughlin is among them. How many times has Brendan been in the Dubs Stars Parade.

Following the semi-final, Sean Fallon said that O'Toole's were the role models for his young side.

They make the best of themselves. Joey Morris doesn't have to say much.

All the Blunden Boys have to do is to look across at Peadar Carton senior on the sideline to feel how privileged they are to wear the jersey.

Peerless Peadar, one of the finest hurlers of his generation. Still out there carrying the water bottles, picking up the flags and encouraging another generation.

Year after year, O'Toole's keep coming back for more. Many of their number are also senior footballers.

O'Toole's last made the final in 2011. Boden were then in their pomp, attaining the five in-a-row.

Boden bounced back last season to take glory. They had high hopes for Leinster.

Mount Leinster Rangers ended them at the first fence. Not many had predicted that.

But when the Rangers marched all the way to Croke Park, Boden's pain eased ever so slightly.

Kilmacud are now on the Leinster road. Baker's Boys are preparing to welcome the Kilkenny champions to Parnell Park.

Boden have three players on the Dubs Stars list, while the team that beat in the 2013 final, Lucan Sarsfields, have five names in the hat.

Like Jude's this season, Lucan were creating their own history as they appeared in their first final.

This term, though, they were eliminated at the quarter-final stage by O'Toole's.

On the same evening on the Parnell Park quarter-final double-bill, St Vincent's fell to Crokes.

Diarmuid Connolly is one of four Marino men that make the Dubs Stars cut. Diarmuid has been cheering the city with big ball and small.

Stuart Mullen is another acclaimed artist that is still painting the Navan Road. A prince of Plunkett's who plays like a King.

Craobh's Alan McCrabbe is the third All-Star in the Dubs Star mix, joining Danny Sutcliffe and Peter Kelly.

Mark Schutte showed his quality before injury knocked on the door. He proved his value to Anthony Daly.

Powerful, strong in the air and with a velvet touch, Mark is difficult to contain and is a manager's dream.

STRONG

The Dalkey club, finalists in 2012, had a new boss in Mattie Kenny, and they were edged out by a point by Boden in a compelling quarter-final.

Cuala have four players chosen, while another side in their Pool, Parnell's get two players on the bus, Andrew Shore and Desmond McLean.

The Coolock club had just been promoted as the Senior B champs, and they had a summer to remember.

They came within a finger-nail of Cuala and then they beat Chiarain's before losing to Vincent's.

Kieran Murphy couldn't have asked for more. And they certainly got people talking along the Malahide Road.

Crumlin continue to produce exciting young talent. Paul Winters showed his class for St Brigid's, who achieved much in the last few years under manager, Ger Ryan.

Glenn Whelan impressed for Ballinteer St John's, while the Trollier Dillon just keeps on delivering for the Bars.

St Patrick's of Palmerstown had the big boys worried. Around Glenaulin Park, the chant has long been heard - Stapo for the Dubs.

The new man in town, Ger Cunningham, will, no doubt, take note.

He's seeking new recruits to bolster the Dublin squad.

The Dubs Stars collection will help his cause.


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