Crokes set up to progress after comfortable victory over Craobh
KILMACUD CROKES 1-22
CRAOBH CHIARAIN 0-13
KILMACUD Crokes enhanced their Dublin SHC title credentials with an emphatic win at the expense of Craobh Chiarain in a blustery Clonshaugh last night.
With Mark Howard, Ronan Hayes and Alex Considine all in excellent form, Aodan De Paor’s men look assured their spot in the knock-out rounds.
Being on home soil was a bonus for Ger Ryan’s men but with the elements working against them, they were under pressure from the very early moments of the contest. Fionn O Ceallaigh was deputising in the Crokes attack for the suspended Oisin O Rorke and he got the ball rolling with a first-minute point.
This was swiftly followed by unanswered scores courtesy of Howard, Sean McGrath and Caolan Conway to give the visitors a firm stranglehold on the action.
Howard (three), Fergal Whitely, Conway subsequently found the target to propel the rampant Stillorgan troops into a nine-point cushion. Craobh finally opened their account when Stephen Kelly fired over an 19th-minute and an ensuing water break did present the home team with an opportunity to re-shape their focus.
Stephen Kelly and Cian Derwin did increase the Craobh tally when the action resumed, but Crokes continued to play with the greater urgency in attack. Supplementing O Ceallaigh, Howard (two) and Hayes singles, Considine rattled the back of the net to move Kilmacud into an unassailable 1-13 to 0-13 interval cushion.
They remained the dominant force on the restart, despite a noticeable improvement from a determined Craobh. An outstanding Conor Ryan sideline had raised the spirits of the Chiarain faithful and Stephen Kelly also found the range in a decent spell.
Nevertheless, Crokes were in no mood to let up. Whitely split the posts on the run, while Hayes was on hand to cancel out a similar effort by his opposing number Paul Kelly. Indeed, the table-toppers kicked into maximum overdrive for the remainder of the third-quarter.
O Ceallaigh, Whitely and Hayes were once more amongst the scorers as Kilmacud pulled all of 16 points clear. Craobh displayed a commendable spirit as the final whistle approached – four scores in quick succession via the sticks of Stephen Kelly (three) and Derwin significantly reducing their deficit.
However, with O Ceallaigh, Hayes and substitute Seamie Leahy raising white flags, Crokes wrapped up the two points in fine style.
Scorers – Kilmacud Crokes: M Howard 0-6 (3f), R Hayes, F O Ceallaigh 0-4 each, F Whitely 0-3, A Considine 1-0, C Conway 0-2, N O Riordain, S McGrath, S Leahy 0-1 each. Craobh Chiarain: S Kelly 0-6 (4f, 1 ’65), C Derwin 0-3, J Sammon 0-2, C Ryan (s/line), P Kelly 0-1 each.
KILMACUD CROKES: M Collins; B Sheehy, B O’Carroll, S Clinton; N O Riordain, M Grogan, C Mac Gabhann; F Whitely, D Mulligan; M Howard, S McGrath, C Conway; F O Ceallaigh, R Hayes, A Considine. Subs: E Gibbons for O Riordain (9-13), S Kinsella for Conway (44), R O’Carroll for McGrath (55), S Leahy for Whitely (60).
CRAOBH CHIARAIN: S Chester; S O’Brien, E Farrell, Damien O’Reilly; M Hayes, Derek O’Reilly, G Kelly; C Ryan, C Sammon; R Mahon, D Kelly, C Derwin; J Finn, P Kelly, S Kelly.
Subs: F Usanga for D Kelly (40), A Kenny for Derek O’Reilly (41), D Cullen for Damien O’Reilly, J Sammon for Mahon (both 54), S Finnegan for Hayes (55).
Referee: C Mooney (St Patrick’s, Palmerstown).