Diarmuid Connolly makes his return as St Vincent’s earn semi-final slot

Dublin SFC round-up: Kimacud Crokes see off spirited Sylvester’s; St Jude’s and Ballyboden through

 

Diarmuid Connolly made his long-awaited return to club duty on Sunday afternoon at Parnell Park, where defending champions St Vincent’s advanced to the Dublin SFC semi-final with a comprehensive 1-21 to 1-9 win over Castleknock.

Following his high-profile summer sojourn in Boston – which ruled him out of Dublin’s latest All-Ireland success – Connolly appeared as a second-half substitute for the Marino men.

This will increase speculation about a potential recall to Jim Gavin’s county panel, but he could only watch as Vins fell behind to Tommy McDaniel’s opening minute goal.

Brian Mullins’s charges eventually restored order through the evergreen Mossy Quinn, who ended the contest with an outstanding personal haul of 1-6. Castleknock remained in contention courtesy of smart play in attack by McDaniel and Sky Blues star Ciarán Kilkenny but with Eamonn Fennell in fine form, Vins brought a 1-9 to 1-6 advantage into the break.

Six points without reply on the resumption placed them into a seemingly unassailable lead and they were able to examine their reserve options as a result. Connolly set up a fine score for Enda Varley in the 54th minute and the Mayo native contributed another brace of points as the holders cruised to a convincing triumph.

In the day’s curtain-raiser, a late scoring blitz helped Kilmacud Crokes to eventually see off the spirited challenge of St Sylvester’s.

The Stillorgan outfit enjoyed a whirlwind start to the contest – moving into a six-point lead (0-7 to 0-1) by the end of the opening quarter. They had seven different scorers in this juncture, including Dublin forward Paul Mannion and former county panellist Pat Burke.

Despite the best efforts of Ed Walsh and Michael McCarthy (who amassed a combined haul of 0-13) for Syls, Crokes established a 0-10 to 0-4 interval cushion.

Shane Cunningham, Callum Pearson (two) and Shane Horan kept Crokes in the ascendancy on the restart, before the influence of Syls full forward Jack Hazley began to take hold. He caused a host of problems for Crokes’ defence, while the influential duo of Walsh and McCarthy helped them to cut the gap to two points on 55 minutes.

Yet, Crokes maintained their composure under increased pressure – and late goals by Mannion (penalty) and Pearson sealed their 2-17 to 0-15 success.

Meanwhile, Kieran Doherty’s stoppage-time point helped St Jude’s to secure a surprise 2-9 to 1-11 victory over Ballymun Kickhams at the same venue on Saturday.

With six Dublin panellists within their ranks, ‘Mun were expected to progress. However, after Doherty supplemented earlier goals from Niall Coakley and Chris Guckian, the Templeogue outfit booked a semi-final date with Vincent’s.

Ballyboden St Enda’s comfortably overcame Na Fianna in the day’s earlier clash on a scoreline of 3-13 to 0-15. Despite losing Michael Darragh MacAuley to a second yellow card, a combined haul of 3-6 by the Basquel brothers – Ryan and Colm – eased Boden into a penultimate round meeting with Kilmacud.

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