Gallant Crokes pipped at the post by Pine Forest Gaels in u12 County Final!

KIlmacud Crokes Team 4 and Pine Forest Gaels played out a thrilling "County Final" in Glencullen on Saturday in which Gaels emerged victorious but it could have gone either way. Both sides had finished joint top of Division 9 after Crokes had edged a close battle in Deerpark last month and faced off again in a "winner takes all" play off.

Crokes began the game in attacking fashion but squandered quite a few early opportunities before Gaels eventually scored from a free.( 0-1 to 0) The Crokes defenders Finn Robertson, U10 Daithi Linehan, Seán Coogan, Daniel Gray and Emre Acka had been resolute in dealing with Gaels attacks and Daniel Buggy in goal added an assured touch in goal. Charlie Woodcock and Zeke Acka  were very comabtive in midfield and helped launch many attacks which forwards Peter Bradley, David Purcell, Daniel Sheerin, U10 Conor Coogan and Conor Roche worked hard to get on the end of.

(At various stage of the match Dylan Drumm, U10 Finian Donohoe, Luke Murphy, Daire Burke and Seán Creegan came on and battled hard against a physically stronger Gaels team.) 

In the early stages, the Crokes boys were frustrated by the referee penalising them for overcarrying when less than 4 steps had been taken, in particular the lion hearted David Purcell.  Midway through the 1/2, Daniel Sheerin scored from a free on 35 metres to level the scores and shortly after U10 Conor Coogan tapped over a free from the 21 metre line to edge Crokes ahead. (0-1 to 0-2)

As the game was entering the last 5 minutes of the 1st 1/2, Gaels equalised from a free. (0-2 to 0-2) There followed a high ball into the Crokes area which the defence was slow to deal with and an opportunistic Gaels forward smashed the sliothar into the net giving Buggy no chance. The home crowd smelt blood and Gaels followed up with another point to give themselves a 1-3 to 0-2 half time lead.

Despite such a reversal, the Crokes lads showed character and played with great determination from the restart.  From an early attack, they put huge pressure on the Gaels goal and Peter Bradley scrambled the ball into the net. However the Gaels umpire said it was kicked and the referee disallowed the goal. Crokes maintained the pressure and Charlie Woodcock pointed a free from a central position to reduce the lead to a goal.( 1-3 to 0-3)

Shortly after Crokes were awarded another free on the left from 45 metres. Woodcock hit a "horizontal" ball which looked as if it was going over but dipped vicously just before the post and went into the top corner of the net much to the delight of the Crokes players and supporters.  (1-3 to 1-3)

For the next 10 minutes, it was all Crokes as Woodcock added 3 more frees and Bradley and Sheerin both scored from play. (1-3 to 1-8) Sheerins point was arguably the score of the match as it began with a move up the right touchline where Zeki Acka played the sliothar up to young Finnian Donhoe who skillfully turned inside his marker before giving a quick handpass to Sheerin who came onto the ball at pace before striking over a sceamer from 30 metres on the right.

Crokes missed some chances after this purple patch while Gaels had a few frees which allowed them to claw their way back into the match and they narrowed the gap to 2 points. (1-6 to 1-8).

PFG's no.9 had been their strongest player throughout the match and with 6 minutes remaining he made a tremendous surge through the middle before offloading to a forward on the right of the Crokes goal who duly despatched the sliothar to the net to put the home side 1 point ahead. (2-6 to 1-8)

Crokes didn't panic however and Buggys puck out launched another attack into Gaels territory which resulted in another free. Woodcock continued his masterclass in free taking to level the scores. (2-6 to 1-9)

For the final few minutes, both sides threw the "kitchen sink" at it in search of a winning score but the defences were resolute. With 2 minutes left, Seán Coogan repelled an attack in his "ground hurling fashion" but as he pulled on the ball, the referee inexplicably penalised him for a "chop" on 45 metres. Gaels converted to edge them ahead again (2-7 to 1-9).

From the puck out, Gaels got possession and attacked but the ball fell to the left of the Crokes goal; Buggy comfortably controlled the sliothar and was about to clear it up the field when the referee (for reasons best known to himself) blew for a 65! The Gaels free taker hit the ball a foot wide of the right post but the Gaels umpire signalled a point while the Crokes umpire waved it wide and the referee allowed the point which was a huge call. (2-8 to 1-9)

Buggy pucked out and when Crokes failed to win possession the referee sounded the final whistle much to the delight of the home team and supporters. This was a major achievement for Pine Forest which is a combination of Stars of Erin and Wanderers and the Crokes players and supporters congratulated them on it.

Although the Crokes players were "gutted", Mentor Ray Gleeson paid tribute to them on playing their best match of the season and putting together such a good league campaign after being thrashed by a loaded Thomas Davis side in their 1st match! Group Lead Mentor of the u12's Hurling,  Diarmuid Walsh was particularly positive about what the lads had achieved. "While this team had always struggled over the years, both with numbers and training, you stuck at it and have improved with each game this seaon and have finished a great league campaign with your best game of the season in a County Final. You're a credit to yourselves, your parents and the club. As you leave the Coiste age group, the future is bright for you all and there'll be plenty of competitive hurling for you in Crokes!

Well done to the squad below, Mentors Diarmuid Coogan, Ray Gleeson and Players, Daniel Sheerin, Peter Bradley, Seán Creegan, Zeki Acka, James Gleeson, Daire Burke,,David Purcell(Capt), Conor Roche, Daniel Buggy, Seán Coogan, Dylan Drumm, Charlie Woodcock,, Daithi Linehan, Daniel Gray, Conor Coogan, Finn Robertson, Finnian Donohoe, Emre Acka, Luke Murphy, Cillian Cooney.

PINE FOREST GAELS 2-8 KILMACUD CROKES (TEAM 4) 1-9.

(Crokes scorers:Charlie Woodcock(1-5, all frees),Daniel Sheerin 0-2(1f),Conor Coogan(f),Peter Bradley(f).)

KIlmacud Crokes U12 Team4: D.Buggy,F.Robertson,D.Linehan(U10),D.Gray,S.Coogan,E.Acka,Z.Acka,C.Woodcock,P.Bradley,D.Purcell,D.Sheerin,C.Coogan(U10),C.Roche. Subs:D.Drumm,F.Donohoe(U10),D.Burke,S.Creegan,L.Murphy.

Injured players:James Gleeson, Cillian Cooney.