CROKES EASE PAST LUCAN TO GO SECOND IN AFL DIVISION 1
ADULT FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
KILMACUD CROKES 5-16
LUCAN SARSFIELDS 1-8
By Daire Walsh
Kilmacud Crokes moved up to second in the Adult Football League Division One table courtesy of an emphatic victory against Lucan Sarsfields at Silver Park on Wednesday night.
Following a recent defeat to Naomh Maur – which was preceded by a home draw with Templeogue Synge Street – the reigning county champions got their top-flight campaign back on track. Their elevation to the runner-up spot may proved to be short-lived, but the southsiders issued a significant message of intent nonetheless.
The full-forward line of Dara Mullin, Dan O’Brien and Stephen Williams were in top form throughout, finishing with a combined tally of 4-9. Though the central attacking axis of Emmet O’Conghaile and Brian Collopy stood out, Lucan couldn’t add to the four wins they accumulated in the opening seven rounds of the competition.
The 12th Lock men had begun the contest in a positive vein – midfielder Sean Newcombe firing them in front with a second-minute point. They had already survived a scare when Ben Shovlin hit the side-netting at the end of a Crokes attack, however, and the host inevitably found their feet in Leopardstown.
Williams’ superb curled effort levelled matters, before O’Brien and centre-forward Shane Cunningham enabled them to create early daylight. There was some wayward shooting from both teams in the first-quarter and the greasy surface saw a number of players losing their footing at various times.
Either side of a Mullin free, O’Conghaile and Jack Carey found the target to keep Lucan in touch. Yet once Crokes got on the top of the Sarsfields kick-out, they started to gather serious momentum.
After O’Brien discovered a gap to kick his second point of the half, Mullin converted a free at a tight-angle. Daragh Jones added his own name to the scoresheet on 24 minutes and this heralded another dominant purple patch for Crokes.
Supplementing O’Brien’s quick-fire brace, Mullin split the posts after he had been fouled on the left-hand side. Indeed, it was a blistering run from the latter they led to the opening goal on the half-hour mark.
Having forced the Lucan defence on the back-foot, Mullin released raiding half-back Aidan Jones. Despite the best efforts of netminder Liam Byrne, he calmly stroked home to give Crokes a commanding 10-point lead (1-10 to 0-3).
There was enough time for Lucan to claim a fourth point through O’Conghaile and they gave themselves a fighting chance when the action resumed. The introduction of Conor Toolan provided fresh impetus to the Lucan half-back line, while the direct ball into target man Collopy caused problems for the Crokes rearguard.
The towering Collopy knocked a long delivery into John McGarvey’s path straight after the resumption and he shot clinically beyond the reach of David Nestor. They suddenly found themselves back into the reckoning, although Crokes also had an ace up their sleeve in Callum Pearson.
He restored order with an outstanding point – his first touch of the game – and Hugh Kenny rounded off a patient move to keep them firmly in the ascendancy. Lucan persevered with their challenge, though, and Carey raised a white flag with the outside of his left boot.
In a scrappy third-quarter, Crokes worked hard to fend off the threat posed by Collopy. At the same time, they continued to inflict damage at the opposite end – Daragh Jones and Pearson (free) both grabbing their second points of the tie.
Capitalising on hesitancy within the Lucan defence, Mullin combined brilliantly with inside partner O’Brien for Crokes’ second goal. The floodgates were opened as a result and in the space of seven minutes, Williams completed a stunning hat-trick to leave the outcome beyond any doubt.
Pearson’s stunning build-up play left Williams with a routine finish for his third and another second half replacement – Fionn O Ceallaigh – became the ninth Crokes man to score on the evening with a 54th-minute point.
To Lucan’s eternal credit, they continued to search for scores as the final whistle approached. Carey pointed a free to end a lengthy spell without a point and Collopy did likewise with a 0-2 salvo in stoppage-time.
They will now aim to bounce back from this defeat when they host Na Fianna on Wednesday week (June 19). Kilmacud on the other hand will face a tough examination of their credentials against defending league champions St Vincent’s at Pairc Naomh Uinsionn.
Scorers – Kilmacud Crokes: Stephen Williams 3-2, Dara Mullin 1-3 (0-3f), Dan O’Brien 0-4, Aidan Jones 1-0, Callum Pearson (f), Daragh Jones 0-2, Shane Cunningham, Hugh Kenny, Fionn O Ceallaigh 0-1 each. Lucan Sarsfields: Jack Carey 0-3 (1f), John McGarvey 1-0, Brian Collopy (2f), Emmet O’Conghaile 0-2 each, Sean Newcombe 0-1.
KILMACUD CROKES: David Nestor; Nathan Nolan, Gavin English, Michael Mullin; Aidan Jones, Ross O’Carroll, Ross McGowan; Ben Shovlin, Craig Dias; Daragh Jones, Shane Cunningham, Hugh Kenny; Dara Mullin, Dan O’Brien, Stephen Williams. Subs: Callum Pearson for Cunningham (33), Anthony Quinn for Kenny (44), Brian Sheehy for C Dias (45), Denis Murray for O’Carroll, Fionn O Ceallaigh for D Mullin (both 48), Karl Dias for McGowan (51).
LUCAN SARSFIELDS: Liam Byrne; Robert Ennis, Alan Murphy, Daniel Gallagher; Luke Murphy, Sean Cleary, Dan Forde; Brian Creed, Sean Newcombe; Donal Smith, Emmet O’Conghaile, Emmet Allen; Jack Carey, Brian Collopy, John McGarvey. Subs: Conor Toolan for L Murphy (half-time), Rory Kelly for Smith (51), Jason Kenny for Forde (53), L Murphy for Allen (58).
Referee: Darren Malone (St Mary’s, Saggart).