Minor A Hurlers into Championship Final
After a close 1st half, Crokes Minor A team flexed their muscles and put this semi final to bed in a 15 minute "Blitzkrieg" after ½ time. Crokes scored first with a free from marksman Ruairi Walsh but were rocked back on their heels a minute later with a brilliantly taken goal by powerful Cuala forward Charlie McMorrow! (KC 0‑1 Cuala 1‑0)
Crokes didn't panic at this set back and kept registering the points with Walsh adding more frees, Dublin U20 Conall Ó Riain and wing forward Gearóid Flannery showing an opportunist touch after intercepting a short puck out.
Playing with the wind, Cuala's short short puck out strategy was mystifying as they were repeatedly losing possession. The folly of this tactic was clear midway through the half when corner forward Oran O'Keefe intercepted a puck out on the left and carried before hand passing into the path of Walsh who pulled on the sliothar 1st time and send it into the bottom left corner to restore a lead which Crokes never relinquished for the remainder of the match! (KC 1‑5 Cuala 1‑3)
A particular highlight of the half was a great point from Ó Riain from an acute angle close to the endline in the right corner. Walsh and Cuala half forward Patrick Egan traded points for the remainder of the half with Cuala goalie keeper Adam O’Toole keeping his side in the match when he made a marvellous save from Crokes full forward Ciarán Donovan.
Half Time (KC 1‑10 Cuala 1‑7).
From the start of the 2nd half, Crokes posted their intention to use the strong wind to strike from distance and in the 15 minutes after the break outscored Cuala by 10 points to 2 with scores from Walsh (0‑3), Ó Riain (0‑3), Flannery (0‑1) and corner forward Niall O’Mahony (0‑3).
Any hope of a Cuala fight back were reduced even further when one of defenders was red carded for striking with his hurl. To their credit they kept battling and Egan scored a fine goal and a point which reduced the gap to 9 with 7 minutes left. However Walsh’s radar was working with further long distance frees for Crokes.
Just after this, Walsh struck a long range shot towards goal but it dipped at the last second and evaded the grasp of O’Toole to round off a perfect morning for the Crokes sharp shooter! (KC 2‑22 Cuala 2‑11)
Walsh and Flannery added 2 more points before Centre Back Ben Lynch drew proceedings to a close with a monster point from just inside his own half! (KC 2‑24 Cuala 2‑12)
Crokes now await the outcome of the Lucan V St. Vincents semi-final; either way, it promises to be an exciting final as Crokes U17’s beat Lucan in a cliffhanger in the 2022 final while the Crokes U16’s beat St. Vincents after extra time in an even closer match!!
Crokes: C.SCallan, D.Twomey (T.Maher 47 mins), C.McClean, J.Dunphy, C.Crean, B.Lynch (0‑1), F.Walsh, D.Lucey, G.Egan, G.Flannery (0‑3), C.Ó Riain (0‑5), R.Walsh (2‑11), O.O’Keefe (0‑1), C.Donovan (S.McBarron 49 mins), N.O’Mahony (0‑3).
Subs: C.Coogan, R.O’Reilly, S.McBarron, T.Maher, J.Neary, O.Harnett, B.Kenny, D.Purcell.
Match report by Diarmuid Coogan. Photos by Steven Dagg.
Additional photos can be found HERE