Friday 15 December 2017

Just a cruise for Kilmacud

Crokes east past neighbours to confirm berth in quarter-finals

Cuala’s Colm Cronin (left) in action against Rian McBride of St Vincent’s during the Dublin Senior Hurling Championship match at Parnell Park. Pic: Caroline Quinn. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Cuala’s Colm Cronin (left) in action against Rian McBride of St Vincent’s during the Dublin Senior Hurling Championship match at Parnell Park. Pic: Caroline Quinn. Picture: Caroline Quinn

Kilmacud Crokes delivered an accomplished performance when comprehensively overcoming local rivals Ballinteer St John's by 26 points in their Dublin Senior 'A' Hurling Championship Group 1 encounter at O'Toole Park on Saturday afternoon.

There was an air of inevitability about the result from the early exchanges in which the 2014 champions assumed control and they rarely dropped their standards, especially in defence, which was typically solid throughout.

For St John's, Saturday's result was the culmination of a desperately disappointing year with these three heavy beatings in the championship to Cuala, St Vincent's and Kilmacud coming on the back of their relegation from Division 1 of the Adult Hurling League.

A period of rebuilding will be required in Marley Park as Ballinteer were second best throughout with just four of their scores coming from open play reflecting their difficulties all over the field.

The paltry attendance reflected not only the terrible weather that permeated the county but also the contrasting expectations from both sides.

Despite opening the scoring through an Aodhán Clabby free in the first minute, Ballinteer's set-up suggested an exercise in damage limitation with Donal Gormley positioned as a sweeper in front of his full-back line.

That tactic may have proved a relative success in terms of reducing goal chances but his relocation deprived St John's of numbers in attack leaving both Rob Aherne and Daniel McCarthy with a thankless task in terms of generating scores.

This allowed Crokes to focus primarily on their attacking duties and after midfielder Cian Mac Gabhann had levelled matters with a typically stylish point in the fifth minute, Kilmacud pushed on through scores by Caolan Conway and Oisin O'Rorke.

Ballinteer may have been reasonably happy with the opening ten minutes but their received a massive blow in the 11th minute as Sean McGrath gathered possession before feeding Conway for an emphatic finish past the helpless Sean Lane.

It proved one-way traffic to a large degree as Crokes stretched their lead thanks to scores from O'Rorke, Ross O'Carroll and Fergal Whitely with Joe Maher spurning a goal chance at the opposite end, firing wide after a Clabby '65' had dropped short.

Aodhán Clabby and Fionan Clabby managed to tag on points as the half progressed but with Whitely and O'Rorke replying in kind for Kilmacud, the latter's opportunism from a twenty metre free propelled his side into a 2-9 to 0-5 interval lead.

Any hopes of what would have been a miraculous Ballinteer comeback were quickly dispelled upon the restart as Kilmacud added six points without reply in the opening ten minutes with McGrath gaining reward for a strong performance from full-forward.

Whitely added two points on the bounce either side of the third quarter with St John's unfortunate to be reduced to fourteen men in the 49th minute as Fionan Clabby harshly received a second booking after an altercation involving numerous players.

Ryan O'Dwyer took advantage of the expanding holes in the Ballinteer defence to net with St John's misery complete as Lane was deceived by a Matt Collins free seven minutes from time

Scorers: Kilmacud Crokes: O O'Rorke 1-8 (1-3f, 0-1 '65'), R O'Dwyer 1-2, C Conway 1-1, F Whitely 0-4, M Collins 1-0 (1-0f), S McGrath 0-2, C Mac Gabhann, N Ó Riordáin, R O'Carroll, A Considine, D Kelly 0-1 each. Ballinteer St John's: A Clabby 0-6 (0-4f), F Clabby, D McCarthy 0-1 each.

Kilmacud Crokes: M Collins; N Corcoran, R Walsh, J Clinton; B O'Carroll, J Doughan, R Murphy; C Mac Gabhann, N Ó Riordáin; R O'Carroll, R O'Dwyer, F Whitely; C Conway, S McGrath, O O'Rorke. Subs: B O'Rorke for R O'Carroll and R O'Loughlin for Ó Riordáin (40), A Considine for Whitely (49), L McMullan for B O'Carroll (53), D Kelly for Conway (59).

Ballinteer St John's: S Lane; R Collins, C O'Brien, J Donovan; E Coffey, F Clabby, J Gilligan; F Chambers, K Nolan; J Maher, A Clabby, C Lane; D McCarthy, D Gormley, R Aherne. Subs: C Dolan for Coffey (47).

REF: Finbarr Gaffney (Na Fianna)

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