Kilmacud Crokes Senior Footballers Overcome Portarlington to reach Leinster Final
Photo Credit : Eamon O' Callaghan
Dublin GAA Match Report - https://www.dublingaa.ie/news/kilmacud-crokes-stage-second-half-comeback...
RTE Match Report - https://www.rte.ie/sport/gaa/2021/1218/1267485-kilmacud-crokes-edge-past...
LEINSTER SENIOR FOOTBALL SEMI FINAL: KILMACUD CROKES 1-11 PORTARLINGTON 0-12.
(Match report by Diarmuid Coogan.)
They say that “goals win matches”… throw in an impact substitute and you’ll always have a chance in a tight match!
For a long time yesterday, Portarlington played the better football and were certainly more efficient in taking their scores but right after the 2nd half water break, Crokes sub Cian O’Connor latched onto a long ball on the right of the square and unleashed a very quick shot which beat the goalie from an acute angle at the near post.
Suddenly , Crokes were 1 point up and looking as if they were in command which threw the previous 46 minutes on it’s head!
Both team started brightly and registered 2 points each with only 3 minutes 36 seconds on the clock. Crokes corner forward Dara Mullin scored a brilliant point in the opening minute from the right hand side line and wing back Dan O’Brien hit a lovely point from 40 metres leading puneters to believe that Crokes would be scoring at will!
This optimism was short lived as Crokes then went through a 29 minute “hiatus” until their next score from full forward and captain Shane Cunningham deep in 1st half injury time.
This point turned out to be very valuable as Portarlington had built up a 0-7 to 0-2 lead going into the break with some wonderful points from corner forwards Jake Foster and Colm Murphy who were giving the Crokes defence no end of problems.
This could have been even worse for Crokes as Goalkeeper Conor Ferris dealt with a few very dangerous balls into the square that could have ended up in the net.
HALF TIME KC 0-3 PORTARLINGTON 0-7.
Portarlington began the 2nd half as if they really meant business when midfielder Seán Byrne struck from 35 metres after 2 minutes.
However 2 minutes later, Crokes intercepted a misdirected kick out and the “predatory” Callum Pearson punished the error. (KC 0-4 PORT 0-8)
Crokes confidence got a major boost a minute later when star Dublin forward Paul Mannion got his 1st score. (KC 0-5 PORT 0-8)
Pearson followed up with another on 40 minutes and then Cunningham hit a great “captains point” from the left on 45 minutes to make it a 1 point game. (KC 0-7 Port 0-8)
Just to let Crokes know that Portarlington “hadn’t gone away”, Foster hit a nice point to restore a 2 point advantage on the stroke of the water break. (KC 0-7 Port 0-9)
After O’Connor turned the match on it’s head with the goal, Crokes had a chance to really twist the knife when they hit the left post; Pearson was quickest to react and threaded a ball from an acute angle through a few defenders but it went inches wide of the right post!
Portarlington faced a stern examination of their character and to their credit, they rose to it as they went down the pitch and scored 2 points in a row on by the 52nd minute to get back into the lead. (KC 1-7 Port 0-11)
In the next few minutes, Crokes superior strength in depth and fitness paid off and Mannion hit his 2nd point to level matters again.
The Crokes midfield managed to win the subsequent kick out and fed the ball into Cunningham who put his side back into the lead. Mannion followed up with a “trademark point” from the right touch line – the type we’ve often seen him score in front of 80,000 people in Crokes! (KC 1-10 Port 0-11)
Portarlington attacked desperately in an attempt to save the match and were awarded a free with the game going into injury time. With 4 minutes injury time signalled, Murphy held his nerve to score a free from 40 metres to make it a 1 point game again.
However, Crokes managed to gain possession from the kick out and worked the ball into the left corner where the Dara Mullin came onto it and intelligently fisted over the bar to make it a 2 point game again.
Thereafter Crokes were happy to soak up whatever Portarlington had left to throw at them. Despite hitting 17 wides and a host of missed chances, they showed their character when it counted and the sharp shooters had the composure to “seize the day” when the match was in the melting pot. (KC 1-11 Port 0-12)
This was a poignant match for the Kilmacud Crokes Community as they observed “a minute’s applause” for recently former juvenile secretary Tony O’Shaughnessy and Daisy Magee (mother of Jonny & Darren and grandmother of Lauren and stalwart club volunteer.) before the match.
It was appropriate that the efforts of Tony and Daisy was acknowledged in Croke Park and they would be delighted to see that Crokes will be returning to Croker in January!
Kilmacud Crokes: C.Ferris,M.Mullin,R.McGowan,A.McGowan,D.O’Brien,R.O’Carroll,C.O’Shea,C.Dias,B.Shovlin,T.Fox,P.Mannion,A.Jones,
Subs:S.Horan f Fox, C.O’Connor f Jones, C.Casy f Dias, D.Jones f Cunningham.
Scorers: C.O’Connor 1-0, S.Cunningham,P.Mannion,0-3 each, C.Pearson, D.Mullin 0-2 each, D.O’Brien 0-1.