Scuffles and Red Cards put a negative tilt on Ballymun Kickhams win over Kilmacud to advance to the Dublin Senior Football Final

Dublin Senior Football Championship

Ballymun Kickhams 1-18
Kilmacud Crokes 2-12

A bittersweet win for Ballymun Kickhams to qualify for this year’s Dublin Senior Football Final, as the game falls into disarray at the closing stages.

They’d all but won the game in this entertaining clash when all hell broke loose. Cathal O’Tighe had just scored a goal for Ballymun when a series of tustles broke out across Parnell Park. And with a lot of confusion, referee James King showed both Davey Byrne and Leon Young with red card.

With 13 men remaining on the field, Dean Rock sent a point opportunity wide. At the other end Paul Mannion found Pat Burke to get Crokes their second goal, leaving three between the sides. But Kilmacud’s scoring would end there as Dean Rock converted his eight score of the day to finish the contest, seeing Ballymun through to face reigning champions Ballyboden St. Endas in the decider.

The stark reality for Kickhams now is they are likely to be without Byrne and Young for the Championship Final. But manager Brendan Hackett indicated they would appeal Young’s red card as it was unclear why he was dismissed.

Ballymun’s superior fitness seemed to shine through in the closing stages of a game played at light speed. John Small, James MCCarthy and Cameron McCormack dominated the centre of the park. And the strength and depth of the bench came to the fore with Jason Whelan, O’Tighe and Dillon Keating all impacting the proceedings.

Dublin Stars shine in relentless competition

It was no surprise that both Dean Rock and Paul Mannion opened their personal accounts inside the first minute of play. And when Mannion was brought down by Darragh Conlon three minutes later it gave Crokes a great opportunity. But his penalty was easily saved by Evan Comerford in the Ballymun goal.

From there Ballymun took hold of the quarter after that let off. Paddy Small tormented Crokes scoring twice adding to McCormack and Keeley’s scores. But the water break seemed to invigorate Crokes, and Dan O’Brien scored an excellent three pointer on 18 minutes to lift his side. That goal was followed by scores from Mannion, Dara Mullins and Hugh Kenny, and Crokes had a three point advantage.

Kickhams chipped away at that lead and ultimately went off at the break leading by 0-10 to 1-06. John Small was at the heart of the turnaround, his third score preceded points for Rock and McCormack. Rock could have made it sweeter after James McCarthy was fouled but Conor Ferris deflected the resulting penalty over the bar.

Both sides enjoyed purple patches in the second half. Rock and Mullin kept their respective scoreboards ticking over, but it was Ballymun’s bench that did the more effective damage. Scores from Jason Whelan and Dillon Keating highlighted this perfectly.

O’Tighe’s goal at the start of added time after Andrew McCaul was initially denied should have been the end of the drama. But the ill-discipline prompted a raft of cautions and a consolation goal from Pat Burke at the death.