DUBLIN ADULT FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
By Daire Walsh
KILMACUD CROKES 0-11 ST VINCENT’S 1-14
St Vincent’s delivered a strong second half performance to defeat Kilmacud Crokes in a top-of-the-table Adult Football League Division One clash at Silver Park on Wednesday night.
Courtesy of Tomas Quinn’s clinical 12th-minute goal, Vins brought a slender 1-5 to 0-7 cushion into the break. With Adam Baxter and Cormac Diamond exerting their influence in attack, the Marino men pushed forward on the resumption.
Brian Kavanagh, Mark Vaughan and Pat Burke dovetailed effectively in the Crokes full-forward line, but it wasn’t enough to deny Brian Mullins’ charges on a warm evening in Leopardstown.
This was a ninth win of the present campaign for Vins, who hold onto top spot in the division as a result. Following Ballyboden’s comprehensive triumph over St Sylvester’s, Crokes slipped down to third in the table - three points adrift of Vincent’s.
Both teams entered this contest on the back of victories in last week’s league action. Vins edged out Ballymun Kickhams in a tense encounter at Pairc Naomh Uinsionn, while Crokes had all of 15 points to spare (2-22 to 1-10) against Lucan Sarsfields at 12th Lock.
Despite being back on home soil, the Stillorgan outfit (jointly-managed by former Dublin star Johnny Magee and Robbie Brennan) faced into an early three-point deficit. After full-forward Adam Baxter curled over inside the opening 30 seconds, Westmeath’s Lorcan Smyth quickly added his name to the scoresheet.
Quinn’s pointed free increased the gap between the teams, before Crokes finally responded through the dependable Vaughan. Indeed, thanks to a 0-2 salvo from ex-Longford marksman Kavanagh, the hosts were back on level terms by the 10-minute mark.
Crokes breathed a sigh of relief when Quinn rattled the inside of the post at a tight-angle - and this acted as a signs of what was to follow. The dynamic corner-forward (an All-Ireland winner with Dublin in 2011) was picked out close to goal by inside partner Baxter at the end of a subsequent attacking move.
Although experienced Crokes netminder David Nestor did his utmost to close down the angle, Quinn coolly fired home for a much-desired major. Their opponents immediately re-focused with a Burke point, cutting their deficit to two (1-3 to 0-4) at the end of the opening quarter.
With a heat wave continuing to spread across the county, referee Seamus Farrelly allowed a brief water break during this juncture. Kavanagh split the uprights off another placed-ball effort when the play resumed and he was also on target in response to Diamond’s maiden score of the game.
It was then the turn of Vaughan to cancel out another Diamond point, as Crokes looked to end the opening period on a high. Indeed, when Burke (who has represented both Dublin and Clare at inter-county level) found himself in a shooting position on the half-hour, they were primed to take the lead for the very first time.
However, the industrious forward’s eventual shot floated agonisingly past Michael Savage’s left-hand post. This was certainly a let-off for Vins, but it ultimately acted as a springboard for a powerful second half surge.
Diamond's third point - at the end of an outstanding solo run - was supplemented by unanswered efforts from Mayo native Enda Varley (free), Joe Feeney and Baxter (free). Ex-Galway footballer Fiachra Breathnach had already been introduced to the fray for Vincent’s and he joined on 39 minutes by Adam Giblin.
Jonathan Quinlan deputised for wing-forward Adam Kelly on the Crokes side - joining Shane Cunningham and Stephen Williams on the ’40’. Vaughan cut through at a left-hand angle to reduce their deficit in time for the third-quarter mark - which was the cue for another water interval.
It took both sides a few minutes to settle back into their groove, though Vins midfielder Eamon Fennell finally added a point after breaking free of the Crokes rearguard in the 49th-minute.
The home team were hoping the introduction of Dublin panellist Cillian O'Shea would re-ignite their challenge, but Vincent’s continued to probe for additional scores. After fielding magnificently close to goal, Baxter kicked his third point of the proceedings.
The tireless Kavanagh kept Crokes in touch, only for the in-form Baxter to match his efforts at the opposite end. Burke found the range off his left-foot at the end of normal time, before Daithi Murphy completed the scoring for Vins with a fisted point.
Next up for the victors is a local derby with Na Fianna on Sunday week (July 15), whereas Crokes will face an away trip to Ballinteer St John’s on the same day.
Scorers - St Vincent’s: Adam Baxter 0-5 (2f), Tomas Quinn 1-1 (0-1f), Cormac Diamond 0-3, Enda Varley (f), Eamon Fennell, Dáithí Murphy, Lorcan Smyth, Joe Feeney 0-1 each. Kilmacud Crokes: Brian Kavanagh 0-6 (5f), Mark Vaughan 0-3 (1f), Pat Burke 0-2.
ST VINCENT’S: Michael Savage; Kevin Bonnie, Craig Wilson, James McCusker; Seán Lambe, Brendan Egan, Michael Concarr; Eamon Fennell, Dáithí Murphy; Cormac Diamond, Lorcan Smyth, Joe Feeney; Enda Varley, Adam Baxter, Tomas Quinn. Subs: Fiachra Breathnach for Egan (25), Adam Giblin for Wilson (39), Seán O’Meara for Varley (50), Tiernan Diamond for Smyth (53), Cian O’Brien for Bonnie (56).
KILMACUD CROKES: David Nestor; Ronan Ryan, Gavin English, Ross McGowan; Cian O’Connor, Craig Dias, Karl Dias; Conor Casey, Ben Shovlin; Adam Kelly, Shane Cunningham, Stephen Williams; Pat Burke, Brian Kavanagh, Mark Vaughan. Subs: Jonathan Quinlan for Kelly (half-time), Cillian O’Shea for Horan (50), Sen O’Connor for Vaughan (59), Kelly for Ryan (63).
Referee: Seamus Farrelly (Ballinteer St John’s).