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Crokes edge out isles

KILMACUD CROKES 0-16 ERIN’S ISLE 1-11

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EYES ON THE BALL: Adam Kelly of Kilmacud Crokes (right) in action against Jack Grafton of Erin’s Isle at Silver Park last Saturday. Pic: Doug O’Connor

EYES ON THE BALL: Adam Kelly of Kilmacud Crokes (right) in action against Jack Grafton of Erin’s Isle at Silver Park last Saturday. Pic: Doug O’Connor

EYES ON THE BALL: Adam Kelly of Kilmacud Crokes (right) in action against Jack Grafton of Erin’s Isle at Silver Park last Saturday. Pic: Doug O’Connor

Memories. Misty water-coloured memories. Of the way they were.

Pauric McMenamin was up in Silver Park on Saturday evening. There was a rainbow.

His mind drifted back to the glory days when Crokes and Isles were the hottest ticket in town.

Dublin and Leinster success. And getting off the bus in Croke Park.

Nicky McGrath is on the Kilmacud management. One of the club's most successful managers.

On the far sideline was Johnny Barr. The one and only. And there was Tom Quinn, one of the most capable 'keepers in the city.

Isles manager Gary Matthews has the safest hands in town. Still number one in the Liberties. More popular than Imelda May.

All enjoyed this AFL Division 3 show. Two fit teams that played with spirit and who kept the kettle boiling right into added time.

There was purpose in every stride. In every tackle. Concrete commitment.

The odd time the engine overheated. Darren Malone was the man in the middle. He referees with the best rule of them all - common sense.

The hosts are at the summit. They won't get a harder test. Isles left for Finglas with a bagful of positives.

They couldn't have given any more. They left it all out there. And they came pretty close to nicking a point.

Pat Duggan is in charge of Crokes. He has given the club a lifetime. Young Nicky McGrath is also in the dugout. He knows what it's like to win a Dublin Championship.

Mick Greene is on the management crew as well. One of Mac's favourite footballers.

Barry O'Rorke's left peg is still trimming the hedges, while the industry of Dermot Geraghty and Sam Daly played a telling role in the win.

Conor Clinton's feet completed a couple of circuits of Leopardstown. They were singing his praises in the winners' enclosure.

In the early chapters Sean Ellis, wide on the right, was giving the home club a basket of problems. He was drifting into space. Finding a colleague or taking a punt himself.

There was a heavy shower just before the start. The ball was coming off the turf at pace. Into willing hands.

Crokes were ahead at the break, 0-6 to 0-4. They might have had a goal as Mark Coughlan's rasping left-footer just missed the glass in the hall door by inches.

Edged

Isles came near enough to a goal themselves before the interval. Ellis slipped in Cian Wheatley, whose effort edged past the far post. Wheatley put in a busy shift.

Then when Aaron Browning's shot came back off the timber, Jack Grafton was the first to react. And he wasn't far away. The teams were level on 0-4 each at the time.

Crokes had spells in charge. Going ahead by three and four points on a couple of occasions in the second half. They stretched their lead to five points coming to the close. But still Isles never switched off the lights.

That was the most impressive thing - their willingness to keep going. And that resolve produced a most exciting finish.

The game was in injury-time when Darragh Martin popped over a point. And then came a dramatic, diving goal from Robbie Walsh.

Suddenly, just a point in it. The match in deepest stoppage time. The kick-out would be prized. Crokes managed to seize the ball.

And when the skilful Neil Gorey pointed, they had seized the day.