Paul Mannion will miss the Dublin SFC final following an ankle operation that will also affect his inter-county comeback.
Shane Walsh picked up the slack in Mannion's absence as holders Crokes comfortably returned to the decider.
New recruit Walsh fired eight points in just his second start for the club following his high profile switch from Galway.
They'll face an up and coming Na Fianna side in the final and could yet rue the absence of Mannion - just like they did last February when they lost the All-Ireland club decider without him.
Mannion was absent on that occasion following knee surgery though is recovering this time from an ankle operation which he underwent last Thursday.
It's expected that he'll be out for three months which, unless Crokes retain their Leinster title, will probably end his season while he will miss a portion of Dublin's pre-season also as they are permitted to begin training from November 24.
"When they looked at the ankle, there was no stability in it so it wasn't an option to patch it up or strap it up," said Crokes manager Robbie Brennan. "We looked at that but unfortunately, no. The silver lining is that he'll get a good rehab and be ready for Dublin now in the National League hopefully."
Brennan is confident that Mannion, who has a history of ankle trouble, will bounce back strongly from the lay-off.
"I'm saying three months but look, Paul is a bit freakish in his body, he nearly got back from the knee operation last season which he had no right to do for the All-Ireland final," said Brennan. "I'd suspect he'll probably be ahead of schedule, knowing his body, but no, he'll be fine. It's just one of those things, he gets it done and he's ready to go then."
Experienced Shane Cunningham replaced Mannion in the Crokes lineup though it was Walsh that took on the free-taking responsibility.
He was at his most effective in the first half, particularly when Crokes were under the cosh after a slow start that saw them concede 1-1 in the first five minutes.
Gavin Carruth, nephew of boxing great Michael, pointed for underdogs Thomas Davis before Dublin U-20 Fionn Murray slid a low shot to the Crokes net, putting the Tallaght side 1-1 to no score ahead.
Walsh was at the centre of the Crokes fightback as they responded with eight points in a row to lead by 0-8 to 1-2 at half-time.
Walsh scored five of those eight points, set up another for Cunningham and closed out the blitz with a terrific long range effort off his left foot.
The second half was a damp squib as Crokes played a patient game of keep ball and outscored Thomas Davis by 0-4 to 0-1 to leave no doubt about the result.
Walsh provided another moment of inspiration with a point from distance, this time off his right boot, while Thomas Davis lost midfielder Ryan Deegan following a second booking in the 52nd minute.
S Walsh (0-8, 5 frees, 1 45); S Cunningham, D Mullin, D O'Brien, C O'Connor (0-1 each).
F Murray (1-0); G Carruth, C Guilfoyle, D Keogh (0-1 each).
C Ferris; D O'Brien, R McGowan, M Mullin; C O'Shea, R O'Carroll, A McGowan; B Shovlin, C Dias; A Jones, S Walsh, T Fox; H Kenny, D Mullin, S Cunningham.
C O'Connor for Kenny (30-46, blood); S Horan for Jones (48); O'Connor for Fox (51); C Casey for Kenny (52); A Quinn for Cunningham (59).
R Crilly; A Shorten, A Fallon, G Carruth; D Keogh, C Murphy, S Kennedy; R Deegan, A Waddick; S Farrelly, E Conroy, E Lambert; F Murray, E Kirby, C Guilfoyle.
O Kelly for E Lambert (37); J Lambert for Carruth (50); C Sallier for J Lambert (59).