U15 Hurling Feile Div.1 Semi Final
KILMACUD CROKES EDGE OUT ST.JUDES IN CLIFFHANGER FÉILE SEMI FINAL!
U15 HURLING FÉILE DIVISION 1 SEMI FINAL: KILMACUD CROKES 2-12 ST.JUDES 2-8
(Match Report by Diarmuid Coogan.)
Kilmacud Crokes and St. Judes played out a thrilling semi final that ebbed and flowed for both sides but in the end Crokes managed to shade it due to a very strong finish on Tuesday 26th April 2022>
Crokes began brightly when goalkeeper Conor Coogan fielded a dangerous ball and pucked out right where half forward Ronan McNamara made a great catch before transferring to infuential centre forward Fintan Lydon who was duly fouled on his own 65. Crokes centre back Rory Flannery stepped up and nailed the free after 2 minutes (0-1 to 0-0).
Having won the Féile Division 1 Football Final 2 days previously, Judes didn’t come along “to make up the numbers and Crokes found this out within minutes!
Corner forward Cathal Martin hit a long free which was fielded by the Crokes defence, but they tried to pass the ball out and were dispossessed on the right; Judes quickly moved the ball across to corner forward Ryan Laing who was free on the 14 metre line and he rifled to the net on 4 minutes. (KC 0-1 St J 1-0)
2 minutes later, Crokes midfielder Finnian Donohoe hit a lovely point “over the shoulder” from 45 metres following a good interchange of passes between corner forward Cian Moriarty and ½ forward Connie O’Sullivan. (KC 0-2 St J 1-0)
Martin followed up with 2 more points and then Judes played a high ball into the goal area which Coogan could only bat out as he was “dazzled” by the evening sun and the opportunistic Laing finished for his 2nd goal . (KC 0-2 St J 2-2)
While Crokes were still recovering from this, Judes attacked again and half forward Paddy Keighran scored a fine point to extend the lead to 7 after 14 minutes. (KC 0-2 St J 2-3)
Crokes now faced a stern mental challenge and from the puck out set up a dangerous attack which almost yielded a goal after Crokes full forward Tom Curtin had put huge pressure on goalie Rory Falvey and although Judes scrambled the ball clear, Moriarty hit a lovely point from an acute angle on the right. (KC 0-3 St J 2-3)
Flannery chipped in with a “signature 65” on 17 minutes and following great play by left wing back and captain James Ryan in winning dirty ball on the left side, corner forward Conal Criostoir showed great composure to score a free from the side line. (KC 0-5 St J 2-3)
Flannery added another free on 26 minutes and then Lydon hit the score of the ½ from 40 metres after great defensive work by Flannery and right wing back Rian Robertson. ( KC 0-7 St J 2-3)
Just before half time Martin ended a 16 minute “drought” for Judes with a free from 20 metres. (KC 0-7 St J 2-4)
Having gone 7 points down so early in the game, the Crokes defence battled really well to restrict Judes to one point for the remainder of the ½, with the full back line Daithi Linehan, Lochlainn “the Horse” Kennedy and Thomas Ambrose in uncompromising form and well supported by ½ backs Robertson, Flannery, Ryan as well as the dynamic midfield duo of Donohoe and Eoghan O’Donovan.
Crokes attacked with determination after the interval. On 34 minutes O’Sullivan put a lovely side line into the danger zone and Criostoir made a spectacular catch before striking over and then Donohoe added an excellent 50 metre point on 39 minutes to make it a 1 point game.(KC 0-9 St J 2-4)
Crokes were then desperately unlucky not to take the lead; Robertson carried deep into Jude’s territory before playing a great ball into sub corner forward Ryan Crowley who caught on the right of the square, rounded his man and unleashed a “pile driver” which hit the cross bar.
Judes managed to scramble the sliothar upfield where midfielder Hugh O’Neill restored the gap to 2 with their 1st score of the 2nd half after 43 minutes. (KC 0-9 St J 2-5)
2 minutes later, Criostoir managed to “get free” on the left and mis hit his shot for goal and Falvey dealt with it but McNamara put huge pressure on and he only cleared a few yards out to his right where Criostoir was following up and drove it into the bottom right corner! (KC 1-9 St J 2-5)
Crokes should have extended this lead in the following five minutes and were somewhat frustrated at not been awarded frees following some very heavy challenges on their players. However on 50 minutes, Criostoir extended the lead to 2 with a free from the right side line. (1-10 St J 2-5)
The Crokes mentors must have thought that this was “business as usual” but Martin closed the gap to 1 with a free on 54 minutes and then Judes equalised on 56 minutes following a failed clearance. (KC 1-10 St J 2-7)
With the match now on a knife edge, it was there for whoever wanted it the most and who could show most composure. On 58 minutes, Flannery got the ball in space on his own 65 and soloed powerfully into the Jude’s ½ - it seemed as if the Red Sea had parted as he arrived inside the 20 metre line before shooting but Falvey batted the ball out and Judes survived.
In the 60th minute, Jude’s full back Tadhg O’Connor sent a long free into the Crokes area; it broke out to the right where U14 sub Ciarán Fitzgerald gathered and struck a very efficient point for what looked to be the match winner. (KC 1-10 St J 2-8)
Coogan pucked out to the right and Crokes worked the sliothar back into the scoring zone where Criostoir won possession on the left in the “large square”; however he was surrounded by Jude’s defenders and had no chance of a clear shot but he showed great composure to carry to the right before giving a deft hand pass to O’Sullivan on the edge of the square. O’Sullivan buried it in the left corner much to the relief of his team mates and supporters! (KC 2-10 St J 2-8)
2 points is a very dangerous lead in hurling but Crokes managed to win the resultant puck out and Crowley hit a shot from the left which just crept over the bar. (KC 2-11 St J 2-8)
Although Judes rallied bravely to rescue the game, Crokes were now in no mood for reprieves and Flannery added the “Insurance Point” with another 65 metre free in the 3rd minute of injury time! (KC 2-12 St J 2-8)
Kilmacud Crokes: C.Criostoir 1-3(2 f), R.Flannery 0-4(3 f, 65), C.O’Sullivan 1-0, F.Donnohoe 0-2, C.Moriarty,F.Lydon,R.Crowley 0-1 each.
St.Judes: R.Laing 2-0, C.Martin 0-5(4 f),C.Fitzgerald, P.Keighran, H.O’Neill 0-1 each.
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.
Subs: Jonathan Axelsson, Joe Tuliani, Ryan Crowley (for C.Moriarty 34 mins), Matthew O’Rafferty(for F.Lydon 50 mins), Ross Gargan(for T.Curtin 52 mins),Hugh Brosnan, Conor Kennedy.
St.JUDES: R.Falvey,R.Meade,T.O’Connor,C.McLaughlin,T.Grace,O.Gough,L.Carruth,H.O’Neill,R.Bagnall, J.Plunkett, B.Shouldice,P.Keighran,C.Martin,S.Thornton,R.Laing.
KILMACUD CROKES Ard Bainisteoir Ros Criostoir:
“We’re very proud of the lads for the courage and resilience they showed to recover from a very nervous start and 7 point deficit. Judes were outstanding tonight but our lads never give up! They are a credit to the club and I’m delighted that they’ll be joining our U15B’s in their Féile Finals this Saturday!”
Photo Credit : Steven Dagg