IT WAS A major breakthrough for Kilmacud Crokes but they didn’t bask in the glow of the success.
The October Bank Holiday weekend yielded a Dublin county senior title, the club’s first since 2010 in what was their final since 2012.
There were not many survivors from that previous success still hanging around this season yet while it was a significant feat, challenges on new horizons soon swung into view.
13 days after defeating St Judes, Kilmacud were hitting full speed in Leinster as they dismissed Meath representatives Dunboyne on Sunday afternoon.
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“It would have tainted it a bit getting knocked out first round in Leinster after winning the Dublin championship, which we all know is so difficult to win,” says their star forward Paul Mannion.
“It was a bit of an unknown as well coming down on the road for the Leinster championship. None of this team really or only a few have kind of done it before so (it was a) big challenge.
“Just delighted to get the win and into the next round. We’re here to just keep going as long as we can. Another huge game in a couple of weeks time.”
Mannion made his scoring mark again in the Páirc Tailteann tie, weighing in with 2-6. He may have been restricted in scoring from open play, notching 1-1, but was fouled for three converted frees in the first half and generally gave the Dunboyne rearguard plenty to think about.
Bí cúramach nuair atá Paul Mannion thart! @KCrokesGAAClub @DubGAAOfficial @leinstergaa pic.twitter.com/Zk4a9sqH9S
— Spórt TG4 (@SportTG4) November 13, 2018
It followed on from his blistering showing in the Dublin decider, ransacking the St Judes defence for 1-6 from play, and maintains a season of high points that featured a Sam Maguire triumph and an All-Star accolade.
A hamstring injury that hindered him in the county final and an ankle knock early in Sunday’s game have not transpired to be serious setbacks.
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Paul Mannion (left) was injured in the first-half of last Sunday’s game.
Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO
“I actually think it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. I just felt a little nick in it in the final but tests and everything proved alright. I don’t know what it was.
“I hadn’t won a championship before at all with the club so really really nice to get that. We’ll do our best to get a Leinster championship under the belt now.”
Their next assignment in Leinster on 25 November is a formidable one. Portlaoise have competed in the province in 12 of the last 15 seasons, scooping up titles in 2004 and 2009, while losing out in the 2012, 2013 and 2015 finals.
When the clubs met in 2004 Portlaoise won out, Kilmacud turned the tables in 2010.
Craig Dias in action for Kilmacud Crokes against Portlaoise in 2010.
Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO
“I remember a few big games against Portlaoise a few years ago now,” recalls Mannion.
“Definitely a team with a lot of experience in this championship. (We’ll) have to be at our absolute best definitely to win it.
“Even though we wanted to win the Dublin championship, we put a lot of our sights on bigger things as well. We’re focusing on the Leinster championship now.”
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