KEVIN KING FOR CROKES
O’Carroll leads Kilmacud to win
DUBLIN JFC ‘D’ FINAL
AN impressive performance from corner-forward Kevin O’Carroll was crucial for Kilmacud Crokes at Chanel on Sunday afternoon, as the Stillorgan men secured the Dublin Junior ‘D’ Football Championship title at the expense of Starlights.
O’Carroll was joined in the Crokes full-forward line by the evergreen Ken Garvey and former Dublin captain Paul Griffin – who won an All-Ireland senior club title with the southside outfit in 2009.
O’Carroll opened the scoring with a fourth-minute free, and though Starlights produced an immediate response to this score through Gavin Harris, Crokes moved back in front with quickfire efforts by midfielder, former Dublin U21 Declan Kelleher, son of 1970s Dubs hero Robbie, and O’Carroll.
Starlights kept in touch against a strong breeze with a neat Evan King score, and even though Crokes centre-forward Conor Burns split the posts with the outside of his right boot, Harris subsequently kicked his second point of the tie.
Indeed, Starlights (who were Junior ‘E’ championship winners in 2016) would eventually take the lead on 14 minutes, when wing-forward Sean Byrne coolly slotted a penalty beyond the reach of John Keville.
Swapped scores between Griffin and Stephen McAllister ensured that Starlights held onto a 1-4 to 0-5 cushion, before Griffin turned provider for an 18th-minute Crokes goal. He reacted sharply after a Garvey shot hit the woodwork, and he hand-passed across for the waiting O’Carroll to palm home.
This provided Crokes with considerable momentum, and thanks to unanswered points by O’Carroll (three) and Fergus Mangan, they brought a 1-9 to 1-4 advantage into the break. The strength of the elements meant that Starlights couldn’t be ruled out of contention, and a point by Byrne straight from the resumption cut the gap down to four points.
Crokes were in a confident mood because of their impressive end to the opening period though, and three points in as many minutes by O’Carroll, Kelleher and Garvey reinforced their superiority.
Starlights found scores hard to come by as the half developed, but they finally added to their tally through King. Their defence were struggling to curb the influence of Garvey, however, and the Crokes attacker’s second point left them with a mountain to climb in the final-quarter.
Crokes remained in control when O’Carroll cancelled out a point from opposing centre-back Bernard Riordan, but to their credit, Starlights persisted with their challenge. Richie O’Sullivan (two) and Wayne Conway were both on target, but despite threatening to secure the additional goals needed to turn the game on its head, they couldn’t prevent Kilmacud Crokes from claiming the silverware on offer.
Scorers – Kilmacud Crokes: K O’Carroll 1-7 (0-3f), D Kelleher, K Garvey 0-2 each, C Burns, F Mangan, P Griffin 0-1 each. Starlights: S Byrne 1-1 (1-0 pen), R O’Sullivan (2f), E King, G Harris 0-2 each, B Riordan, W Conway, S McAllister 0-1 each.
KILMACUD CROKES: J Keville; C Murphy, F Kennedy, O O’Carroll; M Lynskey, R Mangan, B Brennan; D Kelleher, P Devitt; C McGrath, C Burns, F Mangan; K Garvey, P Griffin, K O’Carroll.
Subs: D Kehoe for Mangan (49), D Breslin for McGrath (36), B O’Carroll for Garvey (58), A Coyle for K O’Carroll (61).
STARLIGHTS: J Kennedy; M Snow, N Donohue, G Lynch; M Power, B Riordan, D Donohue; M Hughes, E King; R Fleming, W Conway, S Byrne; S McAllister, G Harris, R O’Sullivan.
Subs: L Richardson for Snow (39), D De Burca for Fleming (43).
MENTORS – Kilmacud Crokes: John O’Loughlin, Brian McGrath. Starlights: George McAllister, Simon O’Connell.
Referee: Ger Ryan (Parnell’s).
WIDES – Kilmacud Crokes: 6 (5+1). Starlights: 7 (1+6).
CONDITIONS: Dry and bright at times, but extremely windy.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Kevin O’Carroll (Kilmacud Crokes).