ALL IRELAND HURLING FÉILE – BRAVE CROKES GO OUT AT SEMI FINAL STAGE!
ALL IRELAND FÉILE – BRAVE CROKES GO OUT AT SEMI FINAL STAGE!
(Féile Report by Diarmuid Coogan.)
Kilmacud U15’s were the 1st Crokes team to represent Dublin in the National Féile since 2014 and they served up some great hurling before bowing out at semi final stage to Limerick champions Ahane.
1st MATCH: KILMACUD 2-12 BALLINASTRAGH GAELS (WEXFORD) 1-4.
Playing against a strong wind in the 1st half, Crokes began brightly when wing forward Connie O’Sullivan hit a lovely point from the right after 30 seconds. Left wing forward Ronan McNamara followed up with another a minute later before Ballinastragh opened their account with a 20 metre free after 4 minutes. (KC 0-2 B/G 0-1)
Goalkeeper Conor Coogan then found O’Sullivan in space with the puck out and he passed to midfielder Finnian Donohoe who ran powerfully at the defence before being fouled on the 20 metre line. Corner forward Conall Criostoir tapped over. (KC 0-3 B/G 0-1)
Criostoir and Gaels wing forward Ciarán Gethings then exchanged points. (KC 0-4 B/G 0-2)
MOMENT OF THE MATCH!
O’Sullivan latched onto a ball in the centre and passed to centre forward Fintan Lydon who carried on the left before showing great vision to play a cross field ball over to right corner forward Cian Moriarty in space on the edge of the large square. Moriarty showed great composure in “taking his steps” before driving the ball into the left corner. (KC 1-4 B/G 0-3)
Crokes were guilty of giving away some unnecessary frees and from one such misdemeanour on the 20 metre line just before ½ time, Gethings drove the free into the top corner giving the goalkeeper and defenders no chance! (KC 1-4 B/G 1-3)
Coogan pucked out quickly to the left where the ball was quickly worked up to Criostoir who carried well before scoring from 20 metres on the stroke of half time. (KC 1-5 B/G 1-3)
Crokes picked up where they’d left off and in the 1st minute of the second ½ were awarded a free on the left side line 20 metres out. Criostoir showed great skill to bisect the posts from a very acute angle. (KC 1-6 B/G 1-3)
Ballinastragh then applied some pressure but centre back Rory Flannery put in a marvellous clearance which found O’Sullivan who hit another from 50 metres. (KC 1-7 B/G 1-3)
McNamara & Lydon followed up with points to make it 1-9 to 1-3 before corner back Thomas Ambrose put in a good clearance which was fielded well by sub corner forward Matthew O’Rafferty who cleverly fed Criostoir who hit the “highest point of the day” from 45 metres! (KC 1-10 B/G 1-3)
Crokes had an anxious moment when Gaels centre back ran through the defence like the “parting of the Red Sea” before unleashing a powerful shot which went inches over the bar. (KC 1-10 B/G 1-4)
Lydon then made a great catch from the puck out and passed to O’Sullivan who scored another fine point with 5 minutes left. Flannery then hit a “trade mark free” from his own 65 before following up with another long free which sub full forward Ross Gargan pulled on 1st time for Crokes 2nd goal.
(FT KC 2-12 B/G 1-4)
2ND MATCH: KILCMACUD 0-12 MOUNT SION (WATERFORD) 0-5
Crokes were 1st out of the blocks again in this game when Moriarty hit a neat point from the right after great work from midfielder Eoghan O’Donovan and Lydon in winning possession.
Flannery added a free from 45 metres before Mount Sion corner forward Donnacha Meaney showed considerable speed to score a point when a goal was definitely on. (KC 0-2 MtS 0-1)
Meaney was a constant threat and equalised with a free after 2 minutes before Criostoir restored Crokes lead on 8 minutes. (KC 0-3 MtS 0-2)
2 minutes later, Criostoir put a lovely ball into O’Sullivan and he extended the lead before Meaney hit his 3rd. (KC 0-4 MtS 0-3)
After great battling in midfield by Donohoe and O’Donovan, Lydon hit a lovely point.
Mount Sion upped the ante before half time and Meaney put in another very dangerous run which drew a foul (and a yellow card) from Ambrose on the 20 metre line. Meaney tapped over. (KC 0-5 MtS 0-4)
Mount Sion had a goal chance when a line ball was sent into the square from the right – it bounced dangerously before Coogan cleared it out to the right where Donohoe was on hand to drive the sliothar up the pitch to the sound of the ½ time whistle.
Crokes again got off to a good start when Flannery hit a free from halfway in the 1st minute. O’Donovan then played a great pass into full forward Tom Curtin who turned and hit a lovely point “over the shoulder” from 20 metres. (KC 0-7 MtS 0-4)
Mount Sion rallied and sent a high ball in which was heading for the top right corner but Coogan did well to catch and clear under pressure.
With 8 minutes left corner back Daithi Linehan made a great defensive clearance which Moriarty gathered and struck an excellent point from 35 metres. (KC 0-8 MtS 0-4)
The defence was very soild throughout the tournament with full back Lochlainn “The Horse” Kennedy very secure and corner back Linehan, Conor Kennedy, Ambrose and Hugh Brosnan very reliable while the half backs of Rian Robertson, Flannery & captain James Ryan all played with their usual determination.
Crokes were now playing with great control and Flannery added 2 more long range frees before Meaney gave Mount Sion a glimmer of hope with 2 minutes left. (KC 0-10 MtS 0-6)
Flannery eased any Crokes nerves with another free. (KC 0-12 MtS 0-5)
SEMI FINAL: KILMACUD 1-4 AHANE(LIMERICK) 1-8.
Crokes had to wait for 2 hours before playing their semi final against Ahane (who had beaten hotly fancied Athenry an hour earlier). In contrast to the group matches of 30 minutes, the semi final was only 24 minutes.
Perhaps the long wait didn’t suit Crokes but Ahane hit the ground running and went 2 points up in the 1st 3 minutes. Coogan found Criostoir with a good puck out to the left and he quickly transferred to Lydon who soloed through the heart of the defence before driving it into the net for the goal that should have shifted the balance in Crokes favour. (KC 1-0 A/H 0-2)
Ahane didn’t panic and when they forced a turn over on Crokes in midfield they equalised before Flannery put Crokes back into the lead with a wonderful free from the right side line on 65 metres following a foul on O’Donovan. (KC 1-1 A/H 0-3)
Ahane finished the 1st 12 minutes the stronger with a free from wing forward Cian Hannon and one from play from centre forward Eoin Hannon.
Lydon won the ball from the throw in and hit a great point to level matters before midfielder Mark Byrne hit a free from 50 metres. (KC 1-2 A/H 0-6)
3 minutes into the ½, O’Sullivan pulled on a ball around the middle which Criostoir ran onto and hit a tidy score from the left. (KC 1-3 A/H 0-6)
Eoin Hannon then ran through the middle of the Crokes defence before being fouled on the 20 metre line and Byrne restored the lead. (KC 1-3 A/H 0-7)
With 6 minutes remaining, Ahane sent a high ball in towards the goal which Coogan had covered but it slipped through his fingers into the top corner to give them a 4 point advantage. (KC 1-3 A/H 1-7)
Coogan hit a great puck out to the left which O’Donovan played down the wing to Criostoir; Criostoir ran at the defence but then had to cut inside and, having already handled the sliothar twice, he had to control it on the hurl (DJ Carey style!) and strike the best point of the day from 40 metres. (KC 1-4 A/H 1-7)
Crokes had much of the play for the remaining 4/5 minutes but sent several speculative shots in which either went wide or the defence dealt with while Ahane availed of the one opportunity they got to push the margin back to 4 points. To their credit, Crokes battled to the bitter end but the scoring touch they’d demonstrated in the group games deserted them in the final minutes.
CROKES SCORERS(Over 3 games):
C.Criostoir (2 f) 0-9, R.Flannery 0-7(4 f, 2 65), F.Lydon 1-3, C.Moriarty 1-2, C.O’Sullivan 0-4, R.Gargan 1-0, R.McNamara 0-2, T.Curtin 0-1.
KILMACUD CROKES: C.Coogan, D.Linehan, L.Kennedy, T.Ambrose, R.Robertson,R.Flannery, J.Ryan(Capt), E.O’Donovan, F.Donnohoe,C.O’Sullivan,F.Lydon,R.McNamara,C.Moriarty,T.Curtin, C.Criostoir, E.Kenny, H.Brosnan, M.O’Rafferty, J.Axelsson, C.Kennedy,J.Tuliani, R,Gargan,R.Crowley, J.Friel, A.Boniel, M.Beggins.