Junior B's draw in Semi final
Its not over ‘til ………… and so it proved at a damp O’Toole Park on Sunday 1st October 2006 when Crokes faced Scoil Ui Chonnaill in the Junior B Hurling Championship semi-final.
The Stillorgan men got off to a great start with three points from Ciaran McGrath in the opening six minutes (two from frees) to a solitary pointed free from the opposition. In the ninth minute captain Bryan O’Shaughnessy extended the Crokes lead with a good point from 55 metres. Three minutes later the Scoil right half forward put a placed ball over the bar to which Ciaran McGrath immediately replied in kind from 65 metres. The complexion of the game changed in the fifteenth minute when a Scoil free was only partially cleared and a deflected shot found the net. A minute later the northsiders were level with a pointed 40 metre free. Crokes then regained the initiative with substitute Pat Kennedy (who came on for the injured David Staunton) impressing.
In the twentieth minute a great James Byrne sideline reached the busy Mark Peacock whose goal attempt was blocked. Shortly after Muiris Loughnane was just wide from 25 metres near the right sideline. Next a James Byrne free from his own 45 metre line was cleared to Pat Kennedy whose first time shot was saved at the expense of a 65. From this the ball was dropped in. The Scoil keeper picked off the ground and Ciaran McGrath put over the resultant 21 metre free. In the twenty fifth minute a Darragh Lyndon puck out was superbly fielded by Pat Kennedy. His quick ball was expertly caught and put over by Mark Peacock. A minute later good Crokes pressure resulted in Bryan O’Shaughnessy adding another point. Scoil answered straight away with a similar score. The remainder of the half saw no further scores although Colm Maher, following a great rob, was just wide and Darragh Lyndon was called on to make a good save.
A point ahead at the interval (0-8 to 1-4) Crokes started the second half strongly and were rewarded with a Mark Peacock goal after three minutes. Three minutes on James Byrne pointed with a monster free from 95 metres. Scoil then scored a point before being denied a goal by saves in quick succession from Darragh Lyndon and corner back Seamus O’Hara. Over the next fifteen minutes Scoil were the dominant team scoring a goal and five points interrupted only by a good Ciaran McGrath minor. A feature of the second half was Scoil’s tactic of dropping long puck outs into the right corner forward area. This put the Crokes defence, which could not be faulted for effort or commitment (especially Paul Ryan), under a lot of pressure that greater length in clearances and more ball winning in the middle third might have eased.
It took a Bryan O’Shaughnessy goal in the fifty second minute, following good combination from Muiris Loughnane and Colm Maher, to bring the Kilmacud team back into the game. A Scoil point in the fifty fifth minute edged them clear again until a James Byrne 65 restored parity. In the fifty ninth minute the concession of a soft 20 metre free, that was converted, seemed to signal the end for Crokes. That was until Ciaran McGrath popped up to win a ball thirty metres out and head for goal before popping over the equaliser to keep his team in the championship hunt. The chance to fight another day was no more than his team deserved following an exciting, whole hearted and closely fought game in difficult conditions.
Darragh Lyndon, Seamus O’Hara, Gavin Hyland, Paul Ryan, David Staunton, John Scanlon, Aidan Byrne, James Byrne (0-2, f 0-1), Joe Walsh, Colin Kearney, Bryan O’Shaughnessy (1-2), Ciaran McGrath (0-7, f 0-4), Muiris Loughnane, Mark Peacock (1-1), Colm Maher. Subs: Pat Kennedy for D Staunton (injured), Mark Regan for A
Byrne, Adam Whelan for C Kearney, Stephen Russell, Ciaran Sheeran