Thursday 17 January 2019

Crokes can go in for kil'

In-form Kilmacud the biggest threat to Boden's crown

With the Dublin Senior Hurling Championship quarter-finalists decided last weekend, now is as good a time as any to run the rule on the remaining eight survivors.

Current holders Ballyboden St Enda's showed aparent signs of weakness when being outplayed by local rivals Kilmacud Crokes last Thursday although what degree of shadow-boxing was involved - given both teams had confirmed their progression back in June - remains to be seen.

Can Crokes push on from arguably the most convincing display of any of the protagonists to date and regain the title they won back in 2012, or can a youthful Cuala bring the county title back to Dalkey?


Crokes appear to be playing with the confidence and defensive security that was a feature of their successful championship run two years ago.

Rory O'Carroll provides massive leadership along with brother Bill, and Jack Doughan looked particularly solid at centre-back against Ballyboden last Thursday in a physically imposing Kilmacud team.

The forward line is prone to stutter at times but Oisín O'Rorke's excellence gives Crokes a viable goal threat while Dillon Mulligan looks to have rediscovered his 2012 form at centrefield.

Record to date: Beat St Oliver Plunkett's/ER (0-24 to 0-9); Beat St Patrick's Palmerstown (2-17 to 1-15); Beat Ballyboden St Enda's (2-16 to 0-12).

Last winners: 2012

Talisman: Rory O'Carroll

Herald Ranking: 1


The Dalkey club finished the group stages on a high as they comfortably accounted for Craobh Chiaráin last Saturday and Mattie Kenny's first season as manager appears to have raised the confidence levels within a youthful Cuala side.

Colm Cronin highlighted his influence on the team when accruing 1-4 three days ago and if David Treacy can maintain his fine recent form, then the absence of Mark Schutte with a shoulder injury can be partially offset.

Record to date: Beat Parnell's (0-16 to 1-12); Beat St Vincent's (2-18 to 2-14); Beat Craobh Chiaráin (2-16 to 1-8)

Last winners: 1994

Talisman: David Treacy

Herald Ranking: 2


The big question surrounding Ballyboden's ambitions of defending their title is whether the poverty of their display against Kilmacud Crokes was merely a bad day at the office or were there signs of terminal decline within their ranks.

Certainly, Boden's traditional physicality was marked absent five days ago and some of their leading players are showing understandable signs of fatigue.

The conveyor belt of talent up to senior status may have stalled somewhat but the likes of Stephen O'Connor, Conor Robinson and Gavin Corrigan possess sufficient ability to offer a degree of optimism to their title chances.

Record to date: Beat St Patrick's Palmerstown (2-16 to 2-12); Beat St Oliver Plunkett's/ER (3-20 to 0-9); Lost to Kilmacud Crokes (2-16 to 0-12).

Last winners: 2013

Talisman: Shane Durkin

Herald Ranking: 3


Despite remaining undefeated through their group, last year's beaten finalists haven't provided enough evidence to date to suggest than can go one better this year.

The defence seems solid enough with David Quinn between the sticks and Peter Kelly has shown well from centre-back with Matthew McCaffrey enjoying a stellar campaign at wing-back.

However, in attack, Sarsfields remain infuriatingly inconsistent but if Aidan Roche, Chris Crummey and the returning Emmet Ó Conghaile can maximise their potential, Lucan could prove a handful for any side they face.

Record to date: Drew with Ballinteer St John's (2-15 to 1-18); Beat Crumlin (1-19 to 1-10); Drew with St Jude's (0-17 to 0-17)

Last winners: Never

Talisman: Peter Kelly

Herald Ranking: 4


Without overly convincing, St Jude's have reached the quarter-final stage with the minimum of fuss and having Faughs as their quarter-final opponents will ensure motivation is not an issue as the championship evolves.

It would be wrong to classify the Tymon Park club as a "one-man team" but Danny Sutcliffe's wellbeing is pivotal to their chances with the Dublin star in fine fettle against Lucan Sarsfields last week.

His side have enjoyed a strong league campaign too so confidence should be high and with Robert Hardy, Ciarán Mangan and Tom Devlin showing well, St Jude's would expect to overcome their neighbours.

Record to date: Beat Crumlin (1-18 to 1-16); Beat Ballinteer St John's (3-18 to 2-16); Drew with Lucan Sarsfields (0-17 to 0-17).

Last winners: Never

Talisman: Danny Sutcliffe

Herald Ranking: 5


How well O'Toole's are going is hard to assess, given they qualified from arguably the easiest of the groups, but they highlighted their attacking potential when hitting Na Fianna for 1-27 last weekend.

Peadar Carton remains one of the finest inside forwards in the county and it is vital he receives attacking support from Graeme Morris and Conor Carton if the Larriers are to make an impression on a tight Lucan defence.

Record to date: Drew with St Brigid's (1-15 to 1-15); Beat Faughs (0-21 to 2-11); Beat Na Fianna (1-27 to 2-15).

Last winners: 2002

Talisman: Michael Carton

Herald Ranking: 6


Will be pleased to have reached last eight after failing to do so last year and their attack moved well with pace and guile offered by the likes of Diarmuid Connolly, Alan Moore, Tomás McGrane and Cian McBride.

John Hetherton's redeployment to centre-back is an intriguing switch for a Vinnies team that will quietly fancy their chances against Kilmacud Crokes.

Record to date: Drew with Craobh Chiaráin (1-13 to 2-10); Lost to Cuala (2-14 to 2-18); Beat Parnell's (6-21 to 0-13).

Last winners: 1993

Talisman: John Hetherton

Herald Ranking: 7


A welcome return for the record holders, who have amassed 31 senior titles but perhaps more relevantly, they haven't secured the championship since 1999.

Players of the calibre of Fergal Heavey and Emmet McKenna are beginning to mature now and offer leadership to the team, while Chris Bennett provides pace and scoring potential despite his minor status.

Record to date: Beat Na Fianna (0-14 to 1-10); Lost to O'Toole's (2-11 to 0-21); Beat St Brigid's (1-24 to 2-12).

Last winners: 1999

Talisman: Maurice O'Brien

Herald Ranking: 8

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