Holders Kilmacud Crokes kept alive their ambitions of back-to-back Dublin SFC titles when accounting for 14-man Clontarf by 0-16 to 0-8 in their quarter-final at Parnell Park yesterday.
It was Clontarf that started the brighter as they raced three points clear by the ninth minute through scores from Ciaran Brennan, Declan Monaghan and Kieran McKeon.
Crokes were hugely wasteful initially but eventually found some semblance of rhythm up front as they restored parity by the 22nd minute following successive scores from Callum Pearson, Shane Cunningham and Shane Horan.
Far from buckling under some intense Kilmacud pressure, the underdogs regained the initiative and two points apiece from McKeon and the lively Kevin Lillis ensured a deserved 0-7 to 0-6 interval lead for Clontarf.
With Paul Mannion introduced at half-time, Crokes looked a different proposition upon the restart and the Dublin star made an instant impression with two points.
His inter-county teammate Jack McCaffrey didn’t fare as well, being dismissed for a high tackle in the 34th minute, after what looked a marginal call by referee Dave Aston.
From that point, it proved a procession for Kilmacud, who stretched their advantage through Cunningham, Pat Burke and Mannion and with Clontarf restricted to a solitary score from McKeon late on, the champions eased home by double-scores.
Kilmacud were joined in the semi-finals by a Thomas Davis team that edged Castleknock by 3-12 to 1-17.
Despite opening the scoring through an Eoin Kirby point, Thomas Davis were largely on the back-foot as Westmeath senior Tommy McDaniels kicked three points inside the opening quarter to augment further scores by Ciaran Kilkenny and Shane Boland.
The contest exploded into life in the 20th minute as Thomas Davis struck for two goals within 30 seconds through Ryan Deegan and Ciaran Farrelly with Castleknock replying inside a minute through an opportunistic McDaniels strike.
Leading by 2-7 to 1-8 at the break, Thomas Davis enhanced their position as Brendan Kirby netted inside 40 seconds but a patient Castleknock remained in the hunt throughout the third quarter thanks to the scoring of Gerard McDermottroe, Boland and Kilkenny.
They proved insufficient by the final whistle as former Clare senior Shane McGrath kicked two vital points to preserve his team’s advantage.
On Saturday evening, two more semi-finalists were decided as Ballyboden St Enda’s rode their luck to a degree before eventually seeing off Na Fianna by 3-15 to 1-15 after extra-time.
The clash between two attack-minded teams proved the highlight of the weekend with the 2016 All-Ireland winners keeping their ambitions alive thanks largely to three goals from Collie Basquel.
There was very little to separate the teams throughout with four points from Conor McHugh edging Na Fianna 0-8 to 0-6 ahead by half-time.
The contest resumed in a similar vein with scores from McHugh, James Doran and Aaron Byrne keeping Na Fianna marginally on top and they looked to have landed a decisive blow as Killian Deeley’s excellent 52nd-minute goal pushed the Glasnevin team four points clear.
However, Basquel showed great awareness to fire home from close range five minutes later with a ‘45’ from goalkeeper Darragh Gogan in the fifth minute of additional-time ensuring a 1-14 stalemate by full-time.
Basquel claimed his second goal in the 75th minute, following a pass from Tom Hayes, and his hat-trick was duly completed in the final minute after fine approach play from James Holland and Michael Darragh Macauley.
The first-game of the double-header proved less than inspiring as St Jude’s once again got the better of St Vincent’s, winning by 0-11 to 0-4.
Despite opening up brightly through early points from Gavin Burke and Tomás Quinn, St Vincent’s were guilty of some poor misses initially and they were made to pay for their profligacy as Jude’s entered the break with a 0-5 to 0-3 interval lead.
St Jude’s opening four points of the second period were all frees as Niall Coakley and Pádraic Clarke (three) made it 0-9 to 0-3 and when Kevin McManamon added two scores, the contest was effectively settled.
The Marino men failed to score in the second period until Joe Feeney kicked just their fourth point of the contest in the 59th minute with substitute Feeney dismissed by the final whistle to compound St Vincent’s misery.