Kilmacud Crokes 0-11 Na Fianna 0-10
Galway star Shane Walsh kicked four majestic points at Parnell Park on Sunday as Kilmacud Crokes retained their Dublin Senior Football Championship crown after an intense battle with Na Fianna.
Having defeated St Jude's by the same margin in last year’s showpiece, Robbie Brennan’s side once again displayed their mettle to remain at the summit in the capital following a 0-11 to 0-10 win.
They will now have an opportunity to secure a second consecutive senior championship double when their two in-a-row chasing hurlers also lock horns with Na Fianna in next weekend’s Dublin SHC decider. Their ladies side are also into the Leinster semi-final after dethroning champions Dunboyne on Sunday.
While Na Fianna - playing in their first final at this grade since 2005 - stormed ahead with early points from Paddy Quinn and Aaron Byrne, Crokes had edged in front themselves by the 10th minute courtesy of unanswered efforts by Dara Mullin, former Dublin star Rory O’Carroll and Walsh.
Their opponents issued a swift response to the latter score with a free from David Lacey, before Crokes wing-back Andrew McGowan and Conor McHugh traded points in a lively opening quarter.
While Crokes kicked back-to-back points through Craig Dias and Mullin, it was their Glasnevin counterparts who were the happier side at the interval. Following successive contributions from Michael Day, Lacey (free) and Byrne, Na Fianna brought a slender 0-07 to 0-06 buffer into the dressing rooms.
Day's fellow Galwegian Walsh was briefly forced off with a blood injury, but he was subsequently patched up for the start of the second half.
Although Dublin defender Eoin Murchan and his inter-county colleague McHugh were both on target for Na Fianna in the third quarter, Ben Shovlin and Walsh cancelled out these efforts with points of their own.
Facing into a stiff breeze, Lar Norton’s challengers were finding scores increasingly hard to come by and left the door open for Crokes with a succession of wayward kicks at goal.
The loss of Paddy Quinn to a black card on 46 minutes was also keenly felt as Crokes made hay in his temporary absence. Supplementing a brace of Walsh points, Dias registered his second of the day to move the title holders back into the ascendancy.
Walsh split the uprights from a distance of 40 metres to give Crokes additional breathing space and despite Brian O’Leary reducing the deficit to the bare minimum in the seventh minute of stoppage time, last season’s All-Ireland finalists did enough to hold out.
Kilmacud Crokes: Conor Ferris; Micheal Mullin, Cillian O’Shea, Dan O’Brien; Rory O’Carroll (0-01), Aidan Jones, Andrew McGowan (0-01); Ben Shovlin (0-01), Craig Dias (0-02); Tom Fox, Shane Walsh (0-04), Shane Horan; Hugh Kenny, Dara Mullin (0-02, 0-01 m), Shane Cunningham.
Subs: Conor Casey for Walsh (ht blood), Cian O’Connor for Fox (39), Casey for Horan, Callum Pearson for Cunningham (Both 47), Anthony Quinn for Kenny (65).
Na Fianna: David O’Hanlon; Gus Farrell, Eoin O’Dea, Ali Fitzgerald; Jonny Cooper, Eoin Murchan (0-01), Adam Rafter; Michael Day (0-01), Paddy Quinn (0-01); David Quinn, Aaron Byrne (0-02), David Lacey (0-02, 0-02fs); Glen O’Reilly, Conor McHugh (0-02, 0-02fs), Brian O’Leary (0-01).
Subs: Sean Caffrey for O’Reilly (41), J Doran for D Quinn (52), Dean Ryan for Rafter, Donal Ryan for P Quinn (both 57).
Referee: Barry Tiernan (O’Dwyers).