St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh 0-13 Kilmacud Crokes 1-10
ST OLIVER PLUNKETT’S came into this Dublin final looking to claim a first ever senior football title and they must be slightly bewildered as to why that search goes on, after a closing 10 minutes where they let chance after chance slip through their fingers.
Leading by two points with six minutes to go and the wind at their backs, Plunkett’s were reined in by two Crokes scores but would still have been winners had it not been for four wides and the width of a crossbar.
Captain Garreth Smith saw his shot cannon back off the woodwork. There were only 90 seconds left to play when ‘Nestie’ let fly from 20 yards and he will no doubt be ruing his decision not to dink his effort over the bar instead.
Crokes had a chance to nick it too. The howling wind sent Johnny Magee’s injury-time effort wide and the teams must nurse their bruises with the replay set for Monday at 7.30pm.
The night began positively for Plunkett’s with Jason Sherlock making light of fitness worries to take the pre-match parade while James Brogan, cousin of Alan and Bernard, returned in defence in place of Shane McGuinness.
Crokes failed to use the wind to their advantage in the first half and racked up eight wides. Three of those were errant passes but their attacking efforts were handicapped by a lack of numbers up front, where Plunkett’s had an advantage in bodies.
Crokes played most of the first half with just two men in the final third of the pitch. Right-corner forward Brian Kavanagh spent most of that time in midfield, and, though his deliveries were often superb, the All Star’s scoring was missed further forward.
Plunkett’s, in contrast, circumnavigated the gale cleverly. Goalkeeper Eoin Somerville ate up time with his kick-outs which were varied and effective and offered his team-mates a solid platform to move forward.
By half time they held a 0-6 to 0-5 lead. All bar one of their scores were from play.
With five minutes to go in that opening half, the Crokes brains trust was deep in conversation on the sideline, their worries peaked by Jason Sherlock’s point minutes earlier when a quick Bernard Brogan free found the entire defensive line in a slumber.
It was indicative of the side’s lacklustre display up to that point and the damage at the interval could have been far greater had Sherlock attempted a shot at the rigging or his effort midway through the half not been blocked by goalkeeper David Nestor.
Crokes needed a blistering restart and got it. A fine point by centre-back Brian McGrath levelled the game for a fourth time with 20 minutes to go before a slick passing move tore a hole in the Plunkett’s defence that left Pat Burke with a routine finish to the net.
Three points down having played most of the football, Plunkett’s’ response spoke volumes for their hunger to bring the title back to the Navan Road for the first time.
Within three minutes of Burke’s goal, the sides were level again with Alan Brogan, Ross McConnell and David Sweeney rattling off points and they retook the lead through a sizzler from distance from Bernard Brogan. That set up the closing drama as the game burst into life. More of the same on Monday will do nicely.
Scorers for St Oliver Plunkett’s: A Brogan 0-2, J Sherlock 0-2, G Smith 0-2 (1f), B Brogan 0-2, R McConnell 0-1, D Matthews 0-1, A Darcy 0-1, D Sweeney 0-1, P Brogan 0-1.
Scorers for Kilmacud Crokes: P Burke 1-2, M Vaughan 0-4f, M Davoren 0-2, B McGrath 0-1, D Magee 0-1.
ST OLIVER PLUNKETT’S: E Somerville; R O’Connor, C Evans, P Curtin; M Brides, T Browne, J Brogan; R McConnell, D Matthews; A Darcy, D Sweeney, A Brogan; J Sherlock, G Smith, B Brogan. Subs: S McGuinness for O’Connor 37, P Brogan for Darcy 42, N Murphy for Sweeney 56, K McDonnell for J Brogan 61.
KILMACUD COKES: D Nestor, K Nolan, P Griffin, N McGrath; C O’Sullivan, B McGrath, A Morrissey; D Magee, P Duggan; R O’Carroll, P Burke, N Corkery; M Vaughan, M Davoren, B Kavanagh. Subs: L Og O hEineachain for Duggan 30, J Magee for O h’Einachain 47.
Referee: M Bissett (Whitehall Colmcille).
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