Kilmacud Crokes had a chance of an historic double, with their donning the purple and gold footballers out from 4.30 in their Leinster final. Can Kilmacud achieve the unimaginable and win a Leinster double? or could Shamrocks grab their fourth consecutive title?
Carlows Paud O’Dwyer threw the ball in to begin proceedings with his hands no doubt freezing.
Dead straight in front of the sticks Oisin O’Rourke grabbed the first point of the game from a 65, after his brilliant performance in the semi final, it would be no doubt he would be the Dublin teams danger man. Shamrocks tried to reply immediately but registered two wides from the off, very unlike them, but there was plenty of time to rectify that. TJ Reid started his clubs on five minutes with a pin point free before Adrian Mullen then capitalised on a mistake to put them up. Alex Considine drew the game for the Dubs before Fergal Whitely went on a lovely run to put Kilmacud ahead once again. There was quick fire double then for Shamrocks to get them in the lead after ten minutes. Fierce start from both teams
Unfortunately though, the game went into a bit of a lull for next five minutes in terms of scoring, however there was still plenty of physicality. Adrien Mullen put on end to that lull for the Shamrocks after Colin Fennelly put in all the work to force an error. A free into the Hill 16 end seen Oisin O’Rourke smashing the ball wide. Against the Shamrocks you cannot afford to be missing these chances, and he was punished for it by TJ Reid. Can Crokes hang in, if not, they would be in big trouble despite only three points separating the sides. TJ made it a two score game from a free before Adrien Mullen used his big frame to win the ball back on the next play and help get another point over the bar.
Crokes puckouts were absolutely killing them with Shamrocks hunting down every ball, forcing mistakes. Now, the Kilkenny champions were definately making mistakes of their own, hitting eight wides in the first 20 minutes. Reminiscent of Naas in the semi-final. Unlike the Kildare champions though, Shamrocks were not ruing those missed chances. As Tommy Cooper would say “Just like that”, we had the ball in the back of the onion net. TJ Reid caught the ball out of thin-air, burst it into Eoin Cody with the goal beckoning. Colin Fennellys resulting shot was saved before he gobbled up the rebound. Fennelly now had 1-01, Richie Reid got one for himself and Shamrocks were up by ten.
From his own half of the park, at his ease, Adrien Mullen made it an 11 point gap approaching half time. Oisin O’Rourke finally broke the duct for Crokes ,after near 20 minutes, from a free. Fergal Whitely then went on a tremendous run controlling the ball with his stick in the air, before putting the ball in the air and over the bar. TJ was at hand to stop any doubt of a comeback bringing the game back to ten points. Adrien Mullen got himself an unnecessary yellow, with Oisin O’Rourke more then obliging to get himself get a point. Each side shared another point a piece, before Colin made it 1-03 for himself as the ref blew the half time whistle.
Shamrocks 1-15 Kilmacud Crokes 0-07
Paddy Mullen compounded the misery straight from the off of the second half, exactly the start Crokes did not need. Mullen made it a double, and it looked like if Kilmacud Crokes did not up their game, we could be looking at a landslide. Shamrocks then got a third, but soon Kilmacud Crokes hit a purple (and gold) patch. A fourteen point lead turned into a six point game.
It started with brilliantly worked goal from Caolan Conway before dara Purcell and Oisin O’Rourke busted over some points. The game was on, the wind was behind them. Oisin O’Rourke nailed a free from his his own half , as Pat Hoban was shouting instructions at his Shamrocks team. Dara Purcell once again showed up when it mattered and suddenly we had a four point game. TJ settled the ship getting his clubs first score in ten minutes, despite this the game was well and truly in the melting pot.
Dean Mason was called into action, making a fantastic save to deny Alex Considine, before putting the ball out for a 65 that was converted. Giving Kilkenny manager Derek Lyng something to think about especially considering his performance against Naas. However Alex was not to be denied twice, tt was a goal for Crokes, and now there was only a single point separating the side. The blood was up, confidence was high.
Shamrocks grabbed another score but it was the next score that put a dent in any comeback aspirations. Eoin Kenneally hit the ball in the air and it sailed over the keeper and into the net. Dara Purcell had a never say die attitude and went down the other end to bring the game to four points. TJ showed his individual brilliance to make it 2-21 to 2-16. Oisin O’Rourke made the most of his next free, and this writer can barely keep up with all the action.
A run right passed the defence by Brian Hayes looked like it may result in Dean Mason being called into action once again. Fortunately for him Hayes took his point. Shamrocks had a chance to put some breathing space put Eoin Cody and Joey Cuddihy registered two more wides, to bring their total to 12 with 5 minutes of normal time remaining and only three points in it.
TJ Reid grabbed a vital point coming from a free, to make it a two score game. He had a chance to make it a five point game, but dropped his free short. Can Crokes find something as we go into injury time. Memories of Ballygunnar in the All ireland final are still fresh, St. Thomas losing out to Shamrocks in the semi-final with a last minute TJ goal, anything could happen. Especially considering Crokes made it a one score game, now with a minute remaining they need to go for a goal.
Paddy Mullen took one for the parish and gave a free away. Would they go for goal? They had to, but shockingly they didn’t and Shamrocks cleared the defence. Before Paud O’Dwyer put the whistle to his lips to bring an end to this dramatic final.
Shamrocks are once again Leinster champions, but jaysus hurling is some game.
Shamrocks 2-22 Kilmacud Crokes 2-19