Kilmacud Crokes 1-17
Kevin O’Brien reports from Parnell Park
PORTLAOISE HAD A 61st-minute penalty from Craig Rogers saved as Kilmacud Crokes advanced to their first Leinster SFC club final in eight years.
Source: Lorraine O’Sullivan/INPHO
It was more late heartache in this competition for Portlaoise, who saw Paul Cahillane miss a late chance to draw level from a 13m free in the 2015 Leinster final against Ballyboden St Enda’s.
Kilmacud were three ahead when a penalty was awarded for a foul on Scott Lawless in stoppage-time, but Rogers saw his spot-kick well-saved by David Nestor.
The Dublin champions led by three at half-time and had to withstand a strong Portlaoise challenge in the second period before they eventually sealed the victory. They’ll take on Longford champions Mullinalaghta in the decider in two weeks.
This was a tie between two of the four most successful clubs in the province, with the sides sharing 11 titles between them.
It was a hugely enjoyable encounter given the time of year, with youngster Dara Mullin particularly impressive up front for the victors. He bagged 1-2 but might have finished with a hat-trick were it not for some fine saves from Graham Brody.
Andrew McGowan is challenged by Brian McCormack.
Source: Lorraine O’Sullivan/INPHO
Gareth Dillon, Paul Cahillane and Rogers bagged goals for Portlaoise and while David Seale did a good job defensively on Paul Mannion, the rest of the Kilmacud forwards looked dangerous throughout.
Both teams lined up with three in their full-forward lines and both sides employed man-on-man defences. It made for an open game of football, with plenty of goal chances at either end.
Mullin lit up the early part of the game with a magnificent dummy and low finish past Brody. Portlaoise responded with a goal of their own minutes later through Gareth Dillon, who saw his initial shot saved by David Holland before he slotted home the rebound.
By the ninth minute, six different Crokes players were on the scoreboard. By the 15th, they had eight different scorers and led by 1-7 to 1-2.
Cahillane’s goal midway through the first period arrived after David Nestor sent a kick-out short to Cian O’Sullivan, who was immediately set upon by three Portlaoise forwards. They turned the ball over and Cahillane put all his soccer experience to good use with a lovely finish into the bottom corner.
Mullin forced a good save from Brody and then Mannion blazed a shot over with the goal at his mercy as Kilmacud probed for a second green flag before the break. The impressive Ricky Maher, Cahillane and Conor Boyle all chipped in with scores for Portlaoise, who went in trailing 1-11 to 2-5 at the interval.
Portlaoise improved after the break and a brace from Cahillane left them within two points of Kilmacud 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 McCormack to perfection.
Mannion settled Crokes with a couple of frees and when Andrew McGowan put three between the sides Kilmacud looked almost home. But Cian O’Connor fouled Scott Lawless as he jumped for a high ball inside, handing Rogers the chance to send the game to extra-time.
Rogers’s shot was saved by Nestor and Portlaoise failed to generate another goalscoring chance before the finish.
Scorers for Kilmacud Crokes:Dara Mullin 1-2, Paul Mannion 0-5 (0-2f), Pat Burke 0-3 (0-1f) Callum Pearson 0-2, , Shane Cunningham, Cian O’Connor, Conor Casey, Andrew McGowan and Craig Dias 0-1 each.
Scorers for Portlaoise: Paul Cahillane 1-3 (0-1f), Gareth Dillon 1-0, Craig Rogers 1-0, Conor Boyle, Brian McCormack, Brian Glynn, Kieran Lillis and Ricky Maher 0-1 each.
1. David Nestor
2. Liam Flatman
3. Andrew McGowan
4. Cian O’Sullivan
5. Cian O’Connor
6. Cillian O’Shea
7. Ross McGowan
8. Craig Dias
9. Conor Casey
12. Shane Horan
11. Paul Mannion
10. Shane Cunningham
13. Pat Burke
14. Dara Mullin
15. Callum Pearson
17. Aidan Jones for McGowan (36)
27. Kevin Dyas for Horan (48)
24. Tom Fox for Cunningham (55)
20. Ronan Ryan for Mullin (62)
25. Stephen Williams for O’Connor (62, black card)
1. Graham Brody
17. Frank Flanagan
2. Gary Saunders
4. Chris Finn
6. Cahir Healy
3. David Seale
7. David Holland
8. Ciaran McEvoy
9. Kieran Lillis
27. Brian Glynn
11. Conor Boyle
10. Gareth Dillon
13. Paul Cahillane
14. Brian McCormack
15. Ricky Maher
12. Craig Rogers for Maher (36)
19. Scott Lawless for McCormack (48)
26. Aaron Rafter for Glynn (55)
5. Colin Finn for Holland (57)
Referee: David Coldrick (Meath).
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