Thomas Davis and Ballyboden St Enda’s will contest this year’s Dublin Senior Football Championship final, after semi-final wins over Kilmacud Crokes and St Jude’s, respectively, at Parnell Park on Saturday evening.
In a massive shock, Thomas Davis overcame a sloppy start to dethrone reigning champions, Kilmacud, by 2-12 to 1-10. Second-half goals from Ciaran Farrelly and Brendan Kirby were pivotal.
Their victory was particularly impressive given their struggles, as they only confirmed their presence in this year’s championship by winning the Senior 2 equivalent last winter.
Crokes had pushed 0-4 to 0-1 ahead, thanks to points from Craig Dias, Pat Burke, Callum Pearson, and Shane Horan.
The holders, while not showing the qualities that made them such deserving winners 12 months ago, still held the upper hand, following further scores by Burke and Horan. They were 0-6 to 0-3 clear by the 27th minute.
Thomas Davis finished the half impressively, with excellent strikes from Eoin Kirby and Ryan Deegan, before an Eoin Kirby free brought the sides level, well into first-half added time.
That momentum was maintained upon the restart, as Farrelly pounced after Kilmacud goalkeeper, David Nestor, fumbled a long delivery from the influential Deegan.
Deegan fired over a superb point soon after and, in the 40th minute, the underdogs landed another body blow to Kilmacud, as midfielder Brendan Kirby timed his run well to fire past Nestor.
Kilmacud replied with a goal, when the ball went in off the fingertips of Davis’s full-back, Brian Kirby, but the Tallaght side’s work-rate and counter-attacking kept them in front until the finish.
Crokes were unable to build on that goal, with key attacker, Paul Mannion, forced off through injury in the 11th minute.
As they struggled to pierce a well-organised Thomas Davis defence, they conceded further scores to Cian Murphy, Eoin Kirby, and Seán Reilly and lost by five points.
Ballyboden St Enda’s also finished strongly, as they beat near-neighbours, St Jude’s, 2-10 to 1-10 in the first instalment of the Donnycarney double-header.
St Jude’s dominated the opening period, albeit with a strong breeze at their backs, and were full value for their six point (1-8 to 1-2) interval advantage.
However, Boden were a different proposition after the break, with a late goal from Colm Basquel sealing their first final appearance since 2015.
Last year’s beaten finalists, St Jude’s, opened brightly, with Chris Guckian’s link play and driving runs from deep a source of joy.
He rifled a third-minute goal onto Darragh Gogan’s net to give his side a 1-1 to 0-0 lead, after Kevin McManamon had opened his side’s account with a fine point after just fourteen seconds.
St Enda’s settled briefly, thanks to a Ross McGarry point and a well-taken Darren O’Reilly goal, but their struggles around the middle third allowed St Jude’s to build up a healthy advantage by the break, thanks to scores from Tom Devlin, Pádraic Clarke, McManamon, and Niall Coakley.
However, St Jude’s could only muster two points in the second-half, as the 2016 All-Ireland winners trimmed their deficit, following unanswered points by O’Reilly, Declan O’Mahony, and a brace of Colm Basquel frees.
Coakley stalled their momentum briefly, with a free, but an excellent move, involving Michael Darragh Macauley and Ryan Basquel, culminated in Colm Basquel crashing home past Paul Copeland for the match-defining score, in the 55th minute.