Tuesday 21 November 2017

Crokes defence to propel them into final

Liam Ryan’s strength and guile are a plus for O’Toole’s. Pic: Sportsfile
Liam Ryan’s strength and guile are a plus for O’Toole’s. Pic: Sportsfile
Kilmacud Crokes influential Cian Mac Gabhann. Pic: Sportsfile

Kilmacud Crokes will look to take another progressive step towards regaining the last SHC title they won in 2014 when they face a resurgent O'Toole's tomorrow afternoon.

Kilmacud have impressed en route to the last-four with their defence their strongest facet once again as epitomised by the solidity provided by Ronan Walsh and Jack Doughan at full-back and centre-back respectively.

Jamie Clinton is continuously under-rated at corner-back while Bill O'Carroll and Robert Murphy are obdurate presences either side of Doughan and will attempt to exert their own levels of physicality on the O'Toole's forward line.

Their presence has allowed Cian Mac Gabhann to exert a more profound influence further up the field with Naomhán Ó Riordáin coping well in the engine room in the continued absence of Dillon Mulligan from the starting 15.

Oisín O'Rorke appears back to his predatory best with three goals in their last two wins against Ballinteer St John's and Craobh Chiaráin highlighting his threat to the Larriers full-back line.

While not scoring massively, Seán McGrath has been superb in terms of creating chances from full-forward with his repertoire in full show in that first-half against Chiaráin's and how O'Toole's copy with his blend of physique and guile could prove instructive by the final whistle.

The Larriers impressed in their quarter-final win over Crumlin with Peadar Carton showing a welcome return to form to complement the more consistent scoring contributions of both Ger Arthur and Niall Arthur.

The former Clare U21 players have been a vital acquisition in terms of re-invigorating up a side that had become slightly predictable in terms of its set-up.

There are few teams as popular or talented in the county as O'Toole's with the likes of Brendan McLoughlin, Liam Ryan, Michael Carton and Ger O'Meara wonderful servants to the club and a win tomorrow is far from beyond the realms of possibility.

One senses they'll need goals for that eventuality to happen, as what occurred in their quarter-final success last Sunday week, and there will be pressure on their forward line to deliver and ensure that the bulk of opportunities that come their way are converted.

They still look a touch short in that department however with Kilmacud Crokes' defence likely to do enough to see them home by a narrow margin.

VERDICT: Kilmacud Crokes


(Parnell Park, Tomorrow, 2.15)


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