(Match report by Diarmuid Coogan.)

Crokes Minor C Hurlers gave easily their best performance of the season today in the Minor E Championship Quarter Final against Na Fianna. This victory was grounded on their  "never say die" spirit and team work in which the blend of u17 & u16 players combined very well.

Crokes created some early opportunities and U16 half forward Dan Sheerin was unlucky to see a long range shot which deceived the defence and goalkeeper hit the post and go wide. Na Fianna then took the lead after 5 minutes but Crokes centre half forward Scott Galvin equalised following a long free from midfielder James Hamill after hardworking U16 wing back Dan Twomey had one a free. (0-1 - 0-1)

Na Fianna looked to be more comfortable on the ball over the next few minutes and scored 2 fine points to make it 3 - 1 before Hamill struck a great point on 10 minutes. Crokes won the puck out and Hamill followed up with another fine effort from 45 metres. (0-3 to 0-3)

Crokes had a number of chances to score goals but full forward Ryan Nolan and corner forward Seán O'Hurley were somewhat unlucky after desperate scramble defence from na Fianna thwarted them.

Na Fianna edged back in front after 13 minutes before Hamill sent in a terrific line ball from the left; Nolan shot but was blocked and the ball cleared to the right of the goal where U16 corner forward James Candon gathered and scored a very important "psychological" point for Crokes to draw level at the water break. (0-4 to 0-4)


Crokes began the 2nd quarter with great determination but had a player sent off.

The Stillorgan side now faced a serious examination of their character which they answered in determined fashion. With the extra man, Na Fianna were able to launch more attacks but the full back line of Seán Coogan(U16), Adam Golden(U16) and Cathal Sullivan snuffed these out in a calm manner; anything that got through was competently dealt with by U16 goalie Cormac Hall.

The half back line of Donnacha McGinley, Diarmuid Deegan and Daniel Twomey, ably assisted by midfielders Hamill and Colm Lyndon, stopped many balls getting inside and half forward Cillian Molloy gave an exhibition in hooking and blocking and stifled several Na Fianna attacks at source.

It was testimony to the "rear guard action" of all the  Crokes players that they got to half time with the scores still level. (04 to 0-4)

2nd HALF.

Na Fianna threatened the Crokes goal early after the interval and almost scored only for a great reflex save by Hall(with his leg!).

Centre back "Dogged Diarmuid Deegan" won the ball from the clearance but was fouled just inside the Na Fianna half and Hamill hit a wonderful free to give Crokes a lead they wouldn't relinquish. (0-5 to 0-4)

Even better was to follow for Crokes when Hamill delivered a long ball into the edge of the square; sub U16 corner forward Ciaran O'Donnell latched on to it and gave the goalie no chance. (KC 1-5 NF 0-4)

After more pressure from Crokes, midfielder Colm Lyndon struck a great point "on the run" from 40 metres as he was running to the right. (KC 1-6 NF 0-4)

Through all of this time the Crokes defence dealt efficiently with any Na Fianna attaches and were assisted in the corner by sub Robert Phelan. At the 2nd half water break, it really looked as if the visitors had the extra man! (KC 1-6 NF 0-4)

The 4th quarter was punctuated by quite a few stoppages for injuries and warnings from the referee to Na Fianna players for "indiscretions". After one such stoppage, Hall launched a defensive free which Hamill latched onto before sending a long ball into O'Donnell on the left who turned and struck a sweet point from about 30 metres. (1-7 to 0-4)

Although leading by 6 points, the Crokes mentors couldn't relax as they had conceded 2 late goals in their previous match v Scoil Ui Chonnail to lose a 5 point lead. However, with about 2 minutes of normal time left, Hamill delivered another long free into the danger zone; corner forward O'Hurley did well to jab lift just to the left and hand passed inside to sub full forward Seán Coogan who, although surrounded by defenders, unleashed a powerful shot which went inches over the bar to extend the lead to 7! 

He would have preferred a goal but it meant that Na Fianna now had to score at least 3 times and Crokes were able to play out the injury time without "any panic". 


KILMACUD CROKES: C.Hall, S.Coogan,A.Golden, C.Sullivan,D.McGinley,D.Deegan,D.Twomey,J.Hamill,C.Lyndon,D.Sheerin,S.Galvin,C.Molloy,S.O'Hurley,R.Nolan,J.Candon.

Subs: R.Phelan for Coogan(H/T), C.O'Donnell for O'Hurley (H/T), Coogan for Candon(46 mins), O'Hurley for Nolan (55 min), Nolan for Deegan(60 mins).

Scorers: C.O'Donnell (1-1),J.Hamill (0-3) (2 f), S.Galvin, J.Candon, C.Lyndon, S.Coogan 0-1 each.