Crokes keeper David Nestor made the vital penalty save in stoppage time to see his side take a three point win over Portlaoise
Kilmacud Crokes 1-17
Sunday, November 25th. Parnell Park
It’s been eight years but Dublin Senior Football Champions Kilmacud Crokes have again reached the Leinster Championship Final following an action packed game against Laois Champions Portlaoise this afternoon. And it was down to Crokes keeper David Nestor to make a crucial save which could have seen the game go to extra time.
Dara Mullin was on top form for the county champions, scoring 1-02. And only for the net minding from Portlaoise keeper Graham Brody, Mullin could have walked away with a hat trick today. Gareth Dillon, Paul Cahillane and Craig Rogers all found the net for Portlaoise, and their defence did a fine job keeping Paul Mannion quiet this afternoon. That being said the rest of the Crokes forward line looked dangerous throughout the game.
Mullin was the shining light in the early going, pulling off a spectacular dummy to send the ball low past Brody. But to their credit Portlaoise’s response for emphatic as Gareth Dillon saw his first shot saved, and eventually found the net.
Crokes control the lead
By the start of the second quarter, Crokes were ahead by 1-07 to 1-02, with as many as right difference names on the scorecard. But the Laois champions pounced on a short kick out from Nestor to Cian O’Sullivan to turn the ball over. All Paul Cahillane had to do was finish into the bottom corner to close the gap to 0-02. Dara Mullin made Brody force another save, and Paul Mannion saw a goal chance blaze over as the half came to a close. With Portlaoise scores from Ricky Maher, Cahillane and Conor Boyle, the visitors would have been disappointed going into the dressing rooms down 0-03 at half time.
But Portlaoise definitely improved in the second phase. A couple of scores from Cahillane left them within two points of Crokes after the third quarter. Then substitute Craig Rogers struck for Portlaoise’s third goal, which arrived after he timed a run off the shoulder of Brian McCormack to perfection.
Paul Mannion settled Crokes with a couple of frees. Andrew McGowan put three between the sides, giving Kilmacud the edge and looking comfortable for the win. But Cian O’Connor fouled Scott Lawless as he jumped for a high ball, giving Rogers the penalty chance to send the game to extra-time.
Rogers’s shot was saved by Nestor and the away side couldn’t create another score to save the game.
Scorers for Kilmacud Crokes:
Dara Mullin 1-02
Paul Mannion 0-05 (2f)
Pat Burke 0-03 (1f)
Callum Pearson 0-02
Shane Cunningham 0-01
Cian O’Connor 0-01
Conor Casey 0-01
Andrew McGowan 0-01
Craig Dias 0-01
Scorers for Portlaoise:
Paul Cahillane 1-03 (1f)
Gareth Dillon 1-00
Craig Rogers 1-00
Conor Boyle 0-01
Brian McCormack 0-01
Brian Glynn 0-01
Kieran Lillis 0-01
Ricky Maher 0-01
Kilmacud Crokes Subs:
Aidan Jones for Andrew McGowan (36)
Kevin Dyas for Shane Horan (48)
Tom Fox for Shane Cunningham (55)
Ronan Ryan for Dara Mullin (62)
Stephen Williams for Cian O’Connor (62, black card)
Craig Rogers for Ricky Maher (36)
Scott Lawless for Brian McCormack (48)
Aaron Rafter for Brian Glynn (55)
Colin Finn for David Holland (57)
(video clip: GAANow via Facebook)