Kilmacud Crokes AHL3 team Win Promotion Playoff Away to St Maurs
Kilmacud Crokes Senior ‘B’ Hurlers had an excellent win over St. Maur’s in Rush last Saturday afternoon (21st September) to win promotion to next season’s Division 2 (AHL2). The match was keenly contested throughout but Crokes never let up on their intensity and ran out deserving winners by five points on a scoreline of 2-24 to 2-19.
The Kilmacud lads got off to a flying start when Mark O’Loughlin pointed from a free in the first minute. Although St. Maurs equalised a minute later, a well-worked goal from Dara Ó Gallchobhair, another pointed free from Mark and a well-struck point from Barry O’Rorke left Crokes leading 1-3 to 0-1 after 8 minutes. St. Maurs quickly struck back with a goal from their best forward, Eoghan Conroy, and were level at 1-3 all before Damien Kelly and Stevie O’Dwyer restored Crokes lead. A great run from Mikey Gibbons resulted in a close-in free, which Dara Ó Gallchobhair converted before St. Maurs found the net for a second time after 16 minutes to take the lead for the only time in the match on a score of 2-4 to 1-6. Lesser teams might have started to wilt at this stage but the Kilmacud lads showed great resolve by scoring the next four points through Barry O’Rorke (after a great run by Chris Hickey), frees from Dara Ó Gallchobhair and Mark O’Loughlin and another point from Barry O’Rorke. At this stage, Crokes were working the ball well and finding their men with some crisp passing. After 23 minutes, an incisive run from Damien Kelly on the right allowed Barry Horan to tap-in an all-important second goal. Between then and half-time, exchanges between the teams were even with Dara Ó Gallchobhair scoring two pointed frees sandwiched by a Mikey Gibbons point to leave Crokes leading 2-13 to 2-9 at the interval.
On the resumption, there was no let-up in the intensity and both teams continued to exchange points. By the 14th minute, Crokes had extended their lead to six points (2-19 to 2-13) mainly through four Mark O’Loughlin points (including 2 frees and a 65’) and two Barry O’Rorke points from play. Entering the last quarter, players on both teams began to tire. Nonetheless, St. Maur’s reduced the deficit to four points with about twelve minutes remaining. Once again however, Crokes showed their resolve by reeling off points from Damien Kelly, Dara O’Gallchobhair and Mark O’Loughlin (from a 65’) to leave the score 2-22 to 2-15 with five minutes of normal time remaining. St. Maur’s made every effort to close the gap but with Mark Lynskey keeping a close eye on St. Maur’s most dangerous forward, St. Maur’s never looked like scoring that elusive third goal. A wonderful long-range free from Mark O’Loughlin and a closing free from Dara O’Gallchobhair left the final score 2-24 to 2-19.
Although the entire Kilmacud Crokes team can be well satisfied with their winning performance, special mention has to be made of the performances of Mark O’Loughlin in defence, Chris Hickey at mid-field and Dara O’Gallachobhair in attack. Not only did the team run out deserving winners on the day but the entire panel can look forward with optimism to even better things in 2020.
Kilmacud Crokes:- Sean Garvey; Cian Ryan, Mark Lynskey, Eoin Sheehy; Mark O’Loughlin (0-9, 6(f), 2(65’)), Stephen Beale, Eamon Allen; Chris Hickey, Jim Gibbons; Dara Ó Gallchobhair (1-6, 5(f)), Barry O’Rorke (0-5), Barry Horan (1-0); Stevie O’Dwyer (0-1); Damien Kelly (0-2), Mikey Gibbons (0-1).
Subs:- Rob O’Loughlin, Sean Keating for Mikey Gibbons (48mins), Barra Ó Leidhin for Barry Horan (53mins), Alex Hatt, Stephen McEntee, Denis Murray, Colum Ó Sé.
Match Report: Liam Coughlan
Photo Credit : Diarmuid Ó Gallchobhair