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Thursday 13 December 2018

Hamstring won't keep Mannion out of final

HOPEFUL: Johnny Magee. Pic: Sportsfile
HOPEFUL: Johnny Magee. Pic: Sportsfile

The sight of Paul Mannion bent down, grimacing is the worryingly recurring counterpoint to the familiarity of the in-form Kilmacud Crokes man scoring these past few weeks.

Yesterday in Parnell Park, Mannion hit 0-5 (0-2f) yet received attention twice for the injury that has nagged him since the Dublin SFC final on October 29th but doesn't, according to Crokes' joint manager Johnny Magee, threaten his involvement for the Leinster decider with Mullinalaghta on December 9th.

"We've been trying to manage him since the county final," Magee explained.

In Crokes' previous game - a blow-out victory over St. Peter's Dunboyne - Magee took Mannion off after 54 minutes, the Dublin forward having contributed 2-6 at that stage to an already-assured result.

Yesterday, Crokes didn't have that luxury.

"Look, he didn't play as well as possibly he could have today," Magee outlined.

"And that could be down to the hamstring.

"In fairness to him, he was moving well over the last four weeks so he got through the game. He'll probably be disappointed in how it went for him but the guy has been very good for us.

"And the attention that he took today created space for the likes of Dara (Mullin) and Callum (Pearson) inside.

"And they stepped up and exploited that."

Hero

Their looming Leinster final date will be Crokes' sixth appearance in the provincial decider and their first since 2010.

Just four of yesterday's starting XV played in that game; co-captains Cian O'Sullivan and Craig Dias plus Pat Burke and penalty hero, David Nestor.

"Delighted for Davy. Massive save," Magee enthused.

"And that's his job. If he was to drop a ball into the back of the net, it would be the biggest mistake in the world.

"He stepped up in the last minute of the game and pulled off a massive save. That's what he deserves, in fairness to him. Davy's a good guy - has been around the block a long time.

"And he pulled off a massive save that got us into the Leinster final."

Given the disparity in size, membership numbers, history etc., that final will be billed as a classic from the GAA's David v Goliath genre.

"We haven't looked past today," Magee shrugged.

"I know it's a cliché. But we take every game as it comes.

"We don't know much about who we're playing the next day.

"They'll pose a threat. Like every team that's in a Leinster final. It's there to be won.

"It's 60-odd minutes and it's 15 on 15. We'll pay them the respect they deserve.

"We'll go and do our homework on them.

"We've a knocks there today," he added, "so we'll nurse them and try and get those lads back and hopefully we'll have a full squad to pick from in two weeks' time."

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