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INPHO/Ryan Byrne Ballymun Kickhams' James McCarthy claims a high ball.
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Ballymun and Portlaoise to face off in Leinster decider
It will be a battle between Dublin and Laois in the final of this year’s Leinster Club SFC on December 9th.

IT WILL BE a battle between Dublin and Laois in the final of this year’s Leinster Club SFC on December 9th.

The champions from the capital Ballymun Kickhams will go up against the representatives from the O’Moore County in Portlaoise.

The match will be a repeat of the 1982 Leinster final between the clubs in Dr Cullen Park in Carlow where Portlaoise triumphed by 1-8 to 0-7. Indeed that was Ballymun Kickhams only previous appearance in the provincial decider.

In contrast Portlaoise have vast experience at this level after contesting 10 Leinster finals in the club’s history with seven titles to their name in 1971, 1976, 1982, 1985, 1987, 2004 and 2009.

Ten of the team that started in their semi-final win over Emmett Óg Killoe yesterday were on the team that defeated Garrycastle in the 2009 final with three other players coming on as substitutes in that success three years ago.

Ballymun Kickhams got the better of Kildare’s Sarsfields in their semi-final tie yesterday. Here’s how the games unfolded.

Ballymun Kickhams 1-8 Sarsfields 0-5
Scores were at a premium in difficult weather conditions in St Conleth’s Park in Newbridge yesterday afternoon but Ballymun Kickhams prevailed to win out against Kildare champions Sarsfields.

The critical score arrived midway through the second-half when Ballymun’s Ted Furman rattled the net for the only goal of the game. Furman had also raised a green flag in their previous round against Garrycastle and continued his rich vein of form.

That strike propelled Ballymun Kickhams into a 1-5 to 0-4 lead and despite Ray Cahill grabbing a point in reply for Sarsfields to cut the deficit to three points, it was the Paul Curran-managed outfit who finished the stronger. Dean Rock fired over a brace of splendid points, one from play and one from a free, and captain Davy Byrne hit another to seal a six-point win for Ballymun Kickhams.

Sarsfields were left to rue poor shooting in front of goal as they chalked up 15 wides during the game while they also saw star attacker Alan Smith withdrawn with a serious knee injury during the second-half.

The winners lead 0-5 to 0-2 at half-time after displaying greater economy in front of the posts. Rock (2), Kevin Leahy, James McCarthy and Karl Connolly were all on target in the first-half with Alan Smith grabbing the only two points in reply for Sarsfields.

However Sarsfields began the second-half brightly with Padraig Brennan and Cahill raising white flags but then Furman found the net for that decisive strike.

Ballymun Kickhams’ Ted Furman scores the only goal of the game. Pic: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

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Portlaoise 1-11 Emmett Óg Killoe 2-5

Portlaoise were forced to endure a serious test before getting the better of Emmett Óg Killoe in O’Moore Park in Portlaoise yesterday. The raging-hot favourites found the challenge of their Longford opponents difficult to surmount before emerging with a three-point success.

Emmett Óg Killoe were the surprise challengers at this level with their county never having managed to produce a finalist in this competition. Yet they battled admirably and after trailing by 0-3 to 0-0 after the first quarter, they got a major boost when Denis McGoldrick found the net in the 17th minute.

Portlaoise recovered to lead by 0-6 to 1-2 at the interval after Conor Boyle and Brian McCormack were amongst their point-scorers. It was Emmett Óg Killoe who started better in the second-half and Seanie McCormack popped over a free, they had managed to creep into a 1-4 to 0-6 lead.

Then there was major drama with two goals in quick succession. Firstly Brian Smith found the net for Portlaoise but then Emmett Óg hit back with a goal of their own from midfielder Simon Kiernan after a mistake by defender Cahir Healy resulted in Portlaoise coughing up possession.

The underdogs, backed by a huge travelling support, were now in front yet the greater experience of Portlaoise ultimately proved critical in enabling them to grind out a victory.

Michael Quinn, Emmet Og Killoe, is tackled by Kevin Fitzpatrick, Portlaoise. Pic: INPHO/Ken Sutton

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