Crokes keep fingers crossed in hope of clocking championship double


GAELIC GAMES:KILMACUD CROKES will be hoping to complete the Dublin county championship double this evening, having recently captured the hurling title after a 27-year hiatus.

Ballymun are returning to old ground themselves; it’s 23 years since they last graced the football decider. The regeneration of the northside club has been impressive over the last decade, but the proof is also evident from the type of player they are currently offering up to intercounty level.

Philly McMahon has made himself a key figure in the last line of Dublin defending, an area where Crokes’s Rory O’Carroll and Cian O’Sullivan have also plied their trade. McMahon has the massive task of putting out multiple fires against this quality Crokes attack. But fires will break out elsewhere.

As ever, the war for possession around the middle third will dictate matters all across the field. Ballymun use James McCarthy in midfield alongside Davy Byrne, rather than the wing back slot he fills so competently for Dublin.

In Darren Magee, Crokes have the equivalent of a new player as the former Dublin stalwart recently returned to fitness after a two-year recovery process from a horrific leg injury.

But it is other, less-known names that may well have a significant bearing here. Sure, Mark Vaughan is still around but Kilmacud’s go-to man for scores nowadays is Paul Mannion. A serious underage soccer talent, like Vaughan, Mannion looked the part when posting 0-6, three from play, in the semi-final victory over defending champions St Brigid’s.

That thrilling encounter was equally significant for the run -around given to the O’Carroll brothers, Ross and Rory, by Paddy Andrews and Kevin Bonner.

Dublin under-21 graduates Ted Furman and Dean Rock (son of Barney) will seek to do something similar although the O’Carrolls will be more motivated than anyone to clinch the double. Both played a significant role in the hurling success. Other dual panellists are Barry O’Rorke, Brian Hanamy and Dublin convert Ryan O’Dwyer.

The list of Crokes men that should influence proceedings goes on: Cian O’Sullivan will be everywhere, Kevin Nolan will be at centre back, while Craig Dias should prosper in a half-forward line that also contains veterans Liam Óg Ó hÉineacháin and Wexford’s Adrian Morrissey.

When that wave of serious footballing talent breaks tonight, Kickhams will be doing well to stay in the fight.

Kilmacud then to capture their eighth title.

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