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KILMACUD'S

Kilmacud Crokes withstood a late Ballyboden St Enda's comeback to deservedly claim the Dublin U16 Football League Divison 1 title following their thrilling one point victory at Páirc Uí Mhurchú last Saturday lunchtime.

The visitors looked set for a straightforward success as they led by five points with ten minutes remaining but the concession of two soft goals in the closing stages ensured a grandstand finish for the large crowd assembled on the Firhouse Road.

That the most equitable result was arrived upon could not be debated given the control that Kilmacud enjoyed for the large part and the cohesion in their play, despite the unfavourable conditions, reflected well on their collective abilities.

Central to their win was the imperious display of Dan O'Brien, with the centre-forward a joy to watch when creating and converting scores and his influence on the game in the final quarter could not be overestimated as he helped settled matters with some wonderful distribution into his forward line.

It was O'Brien who opened the scoring with a typically classy score in the third minute but a defensive lapse two minutes later from goalkeeper Niall Murray allowed Johnny Murphy to bundle the ball over the line after Ross McGarry's point attempt had dropped short.

Far from building on that degree of good fortune, the hosts looked decidedly subdued initially with Crokes deservedly restoring parity by the 12th minute following successive placed ball scores by O'Brien and Matt Barry.

Within a minute, they landed a crucial blow to Ballyboden's double ambitions as Evin Comerford rattled a superb shot past the despairing dive of Ross McCormack to reflect Kilmacud's early supremacy on the scoreboard.

With Nathan Nolan, Brian Carr and Paul Leonard especially prominent, Kilmacud increased their lead through points by the ubiquitous O'Brien and Nolan prior to Ryan Donnelly adding their second goal in the 26th minute after O'Brien's initial effort had been blocked.

The second-half resumed in a similar vein as Kilmacud maintained their seven point lead through a brace of excellent scores by Jack Gallagher but their advantage was gradually eroded as Boden struck scores through Mikey Dunne, McGarry and Cillian Byrne.

A point from Leonard briefly stemmed the flow towards the Kilmacud goal but after Johnny Murphy and Dylan Walsh had replied for the hosts, Aidan Mellet levelled matters as he converted a penalty five minutes from time.

To Kilmacud's credit, they regathered their composure with O'Brien the fulcrum and they regained their lead as Sean Conroy turned smartly to point in the 58th minute.

The pivotal score arrived soon after as the influential Paddy Flaherty timed his run to perfection to fire home past McCormack with Byrne's goal from a free a minute later failing to deny Kilmacud their well-merited win.

Scorers: Kilmacud Crokes: D O'Brien 0-5 (1 '45'), E Comerford, R Donnelly, P Flaherty 1-0 each, J Gallagher 0-2, N Nolan, M Barry (f), P Leonard, S Conroy 0-1 each. Ballyboden St Enda's: C Byrne 1-4 (1-3f), J Murphy 1-1, A Mellett1-0 (pen), M Dunne (1f), R McGarry 0-2 each, D Walsh 0-1.

Kilmacud Crokes: N Murray; D Dagg, R Fitzpatrick, C Ryan; P Leonard, B Carr, N Nolan; P Flaherty, S Conroy; E Comerford, D O'Brien, J Gallagher; R Donnelly, R Hayes, M Barry. Subs: R Barnwell for Fitzpatrick (27, BC), A Kilgallon for Barry (50), E Blakeley for Barnwell (56).

Ballyboden St Enda's: R McCormack; C Ryan, L Corcoran, D Byrne; K Sweeney, H Keller, A Coffey; J Holland, D Walsh; M Dunne, K Weldon, A Mellett; J Murphy, C Byrne, R McGarry. Subs: C Barton for Weldon (40),

Mentors: Kilmacud Crokes: Robbie Behan, Cuán Ó Flaithearta, John O'Callaghan. Ballyboden St Enda's: John Byrne, Brian Weldon, Donal Monahan, Liam Carter, Paul Shields.

Referee: Tommy Clinton (Croi Ró Naofa)

Wides: Kilmacud Crokes 5 (3+2) Ballyboden St Enda's: 5 (1+4)

Conditions: Atrocious. Incessant rain.

Player of the Game: Dan O'Brien (Kilmacud Crokes)


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