It’s as you were in the Dublin Senior Hurling Championship as Kilmacud Crokes and Cuala saw off the challenge of both Lucan Sarsfields and St. Vincents respectively this afternoon, to set up a repeat of the 2016 Final.

KILMACUD CROKES 1-13 LUCAN SARSFIELDS 0-13

As Ross O’Carroll pealed away with his fist clenched after sending the ball past Lucan substitute keeper David Quinn and into the net, you could sense the relief among the Crokes fans around Parnell Park. Despite Crokes leading by 0-04 at the break, Lucan really kicked on in the second to come very close, but Kilmacud just had the stronger finish.

Oisin O’Rorke, Barry O’Rourke, Seanie McGrath and Cian MacGabhann got the game going for Crokes, with a reply after the first two from Paul Crummey and the first of Tommy Sommers four dead balls for Lucan. Ross O’Carroll and Matt McCaffrey traded scores at the end of the first quarter with the score at 0-05 to 0-03 with Crokes having a narrow advantage.

Sommers got his second on around 20 minutes but it was cancelled out by a huge converted free from distance by Cian MacGabhann. Veteran Peter Kelly pointed Lucan’s last of the half from her the sideline to close the gap again, but Caolan Conway, MacGabhann and O’Carroll saw out the half strong give Crokes their four score advantage going into the second phase.

Within six minutes of the restart, Sommers (2), Johnny McCaffrey and Kevin Fitzgerald had pulled Lucan level and to their credit had Crokes on the ropes. But two wides from Sommers and two Kilmacud Substitution looked like the game would swing again. Paul Crummey pointed from play before Kevin O’Reilly replaced Sommers on the field and took over the free taking responsibilities, and converted his first on 21 minutes to give Lucan a 0-02 lead.

Two pointed frees from Oisin O’Rorke in two minutes had brought Crokes level again before O’Reilly converted another free keeping Lucan a nose in front.

But with 2 minutes of normal time remaining, Caolan Conway sent a high angled ball toward’s the uprights, only to strike one of them and fall down into the goal mouth. Ross O’Carroll was first to react and rocketed the ball past David Quinn, who had literally just replaced Kevin Roche in goals, raising the green flag and putting Crokes back in pole position.

Fergal Whitely added a score from play to put 0-03 between them as the game went into 4 additional minutes. Kevin O’Reilly narrowed it again from a free, but time was running out. And as he did at the start of the game, Oisin O’Rorke pointed a free which would be the last score of the proceedings, confirming Kilmacud Crokes as the victors, advancing to the Championship Final on October 28th.

SCORERS

Kilmacud Crokes:
Ross O’Carroll 1-02
Oison O’Rorke 0-04 (4f)
Cian MacGabhann 0-03 (3f)
Fergal Whitely 0-01
Caolan Conway 0-01
Barry O’Rorke 0-01
Seanie McGrath 0-1

Lucan Sarsfields:
Tommy Sommers 0-04 (4f)
Kevin O’Reilly 0-03 (2f, 1 ’65’)
Paul Crummey 0-02
Johnny McCaffrey 0-01
Matt McCaffrey 0-01
Peter Kelly 0-01
Kevin Fitzgerald 0-01

CUALA 4-16 ST VINCENT’S 2-16

Reigning Champions Cuala took on a very stern challenge from St. Vincents in today’s hugely entertaining second game.

But it was the All Ireland Champions who showed their big game experience in the closing stages to run out winners over a Vincent’s team who never gave up. Goals from Colm Cronin (2) Con O’Callaghan and Jake Malone for Cuala and also from John Hetherton and Rian McBride for Vincent’s made this a joy to watch for the team’s supporters and the neutrals.

Vincent’s got off to a fantastic start with Alan Moore, Diarmuid Connolly and a John Hetherton converted ’65 putting them 0-03 up within the opening 2 minutes. Hetherton’s ’65 came from a saved goal chance from the man himself, and could have made a massive difference to this one.

David Treacy pointed two frees for Cuala to get them up and running before Colm Cronin shook the net for the first time, opening the Vincent’s defence with ease. And two minutes later he reprised that run with a carbon copy to put the champions ahead by 0-05.

Malone and Mark Schutte added another 0-02 before John Hetherton converted a penalty to lift Vincent’s tails. Treacy converted another score from a free and Hetherton responded with one of his own.

With 0-04 between them Cian McBride broke from about 25 metres out and turned two backs to strike the ball right at Sean Brennan in the Cuala goal. Bremen blocked with his hurl and Cian got a second try, which got caught up before Rian McBride successfully struck the ball past Brennan to make this a one point half with around 8 minutes to go.

With all the action the half seemed endless as Cronin pointed from play and Treacy scored another from a free, but John Hetherton was equally accurate from the dead ball and Keith Connolly closed the gap again to the minimum.

Treacy converted another following a foul on O’Callaghan, Hetherton again replied with Vincent’s looking towards the break only 0-01 behind the champions, but Jake Malone had other ideas. His break and shot from a Mark Schutte lay off hit the net literally on the whistle, and just like that Cuala were 0-04 the better at half time.

Vincents replicated their first half start with the opening three scores, Connolly scoring one from play and Hetherton with a free and a superb converted sideline cut putting one between them yet again. Treacy and Hetherton traded blows as the Cuala fans found their voice.

Treacy would add two more, but John Hetherton refused to be outdone today adding two of his own, and when Cian McBride sent a sweet score over Vincent’s had drawn level again going into the final quarter.

And this section of the game belonged to Con O’Callaghan. Treacy had notched another 0-02 onto Cuala’s tally, and O’Callaghan scored one from play, that could very well have dropped just under the crossbar. But a minute later Con made up for that point, firing the ball past Damien Russell from the ground to raise Cuala fourth green flag. A six point game with 7 minutes of normal time remaining.

Hetherton and Ronan Fallon hadn’t given up just yet, adding on two more for Vincents, but it was the experience of Cuala that came into play and David Treacy and Shane Stapleton closed the game off to keep 0-06 between the sides as the referee blew the final whistle.

SCORERS:

Cuala:
David Treacy 0-11 (10f)
Colm Cronin 2-01
Con O’Callaghan 1-01
Jake Malone 1-01
Mark Schutte 0-01
Shane Stapleton 0-01

St. Vincents:
John Hetherton 1-09 (1pen, 8f)
Rian McBride 1-00
Diarmuid Connolly 0-02
Conor Burke 0-01
Alan Moore 0-01
Keith Connolly 0-01
Cian McBride 0-01
Ronan Fallon 0-01