Ballymun’s foundation for victory was set in a dominant opening-half display in which they built a six-point lead.
Kickhams were far brighter from the outset and some clever combination play between Ted Furman and Dean Rock allowed the latter to open the scoring in the third minute.
Within three minutes, Furman was again wreaking havoc as he turned inside Rory O’Carroll before unleashing a rising drive that clipped David Nestor’s crossbar before going over.
With Liam Óg Ó hÉineacháin enjoying plenty of possession around midfield, Kilmacud finally began to threaten and full-forward Paul Mannion finally opened their account with a classy score after eight minutes.
However, Crokes’ momentum was punctured within 60 seconds when Shane Forde rose highest to palm to the net from the edge of the square after Kevin Leahy’s audacious point attempt dropped short.
Mannion replied for Kilmacud soon after but a more direct Ballymun side extended their advantage through points from Rock, Jason Whelan and Leahy. Mannion and Rock traded scores as the half progressed but a more mobile Ballymun midfield were beginning to punch holes in the Crokes defence and Rock was afforded too much space as he kicked a cracking score in the 23rd minute.
A brief period of supremacy by Crokes was reflected in scores from Craig Dias and Kevin Nolan but Rock tagged on a brace of scores to ensure his side enjoyed a healthy 1-8 to 0-5 interval lead.
The opening stages of the second-half belonged to Crokes, and more accurately corner-forward Pat Burke who gave Enda Dolan the runaround in kicking four successive points to reduce his side’s deficit to just two points by the end of the third quarter.
Ballymun arrested that slide with a beauty of a point from Rock in the 46th minute and with James Burke and Alan Hubbard to the fore, they managed to build on their lead through another Rock effort six minutes from time.
Substitute Mark Vaughan entered the fray late on to kick three scores in quick succession and although Declan Kelleher’s injury-time point reduced Crokes’ arrears to the bare minimum, Kickhams showed sufficient composure to clinch a thrilling victory.
Scorers for Ballymun Kickhams: D Rock 0-7 (2f, 0-1 ‘45’), S Forde 1-0, J Whelan 0-3 (1f), T Furman, K Leahy 0-1 each.
Scorers for Kilmacud Crokes: P Mannion (1f), P Burke 0-4 each, M Vaughan 0-3 (2f), C Dias, K Nolan, D Kelleher 0-1 each.
BALLYMUN KICKHAMS: S Currie; Enda Dolan, P McMahon, Eoin Dolan; A Hubbard, K Connolly, J Burke; J McCarthy, David Byrne; E Reilly, K Leahy, J Whelan; T Furman, D Rock, S Forde.
Subs: Derek Byrne for Forde (half-time), J Small for Enda Dolan (45), A O’Brien for Leahy (55).
KILMACUD CROKES: D Nestor; C O’Sullivan, Rory O’Carroll, Ross O’Carroll; M Coughlan, B McGrath, K Nolan; D Magee, P Duggan; C Dias, L Óg Ó hÉineacháin, A Morrissey; S Williams, P Mannion, P Burke.
Subs: D Kelleher for Morrissey and R Ryan for Coughlan (half-time), M Vaughan for Ó hÉineacháin and B O’Rorke for Williams (48), E Culligan for McGrath (57).
Referee: Sean Gahan (Erin’s Isle).