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Dean Rock gets a shot underway as Conor Casey attempts to block it.
Dean Rock gets a shot underway as Conor Casey attempts to block it.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Rory O'Carroll makes return as Kilmacud open title defence with impressive defeat of Ballymun

Dean Rock scored 0-7 for the losing team.
Apr 13th 2019, 8:39 PM 13,890 2

Kilmacud Crokes 2-13

Ballymun Kickhams 0-14

Kevin O’Brien reports from Parnell Park

KILMACUD CROKES OPENED up the defence of their Dublin SFC crown with a five-point Group 1 victory against Ballymun Kickhams this evening.  

Goals from Paul Mannion and Stephen Williams in either half saw the Leinster finalists over the line against a strong Ballymun outfit. They led by four at half-time and while Ballymun twice moved within a point in the second-half, Kilmacud pulled away each time.

Williams arrived off the bench in the 50th minute and scored a vital 1-1 for the reigning champions to help them over the line.

The big talking point was O’Carroll making his first championship appearance for Kilmacud since he left for New Zealand at the end of 2015. He was a late addition to Johnny Magee’s team, lining out on the edge of the square with marking duties on Dean Rock in the first-half. 

Rock was repositioned to centre-forward at the interval with Ted Furman replacing him at full-forward in the second period. 

O’Carroll was solid at the back, conceding three points from play to his direct opponents in the 60 minutes. He looked in decent nick and there was no reason for Jim Gavin to suspect the 29-year-old isn’t up to the task of returning to inter-county football. 

Kilmacud started without Cian O’Sullivan – most likely through injury – while John Small was missing for Ballymun, who also left Dublin’s Evan Comerford on the bench in favour of Sean Currie.

Currie was a county panellist in the past and presumably has been able to work on kick-out routines while Comerford has been busy in the Dublin set-up.

James McCarthy reacts to a penalty James McCarthy reacts to Killmacud being awarded a penalty. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

There was another interesting match-up between county team-mates James McCarthy and Paul Mannion. Kilmacud wisely moved Mannion into corner-forward, leaving McCarthy in an unfamiliar corner-back role for the majority of the game.

Mannion looked lively and slotted home a first-half penalty but his shooting was a bit erratic, kicking three first-half wides although he finished with 1-2. He went down and received some treatment after an off-the-ball incident with McCarthy near half-time but the referee chose not to take any action against the defender.

Philly McMahon pushed Shane Cunningham in the back to give away a seventh-minute penalty for Mannion to dispatch into the bottom corner. Callum Pearson and Pat Burke added scores as Kilmacud moved five clear after the opening quarter. 

Rock curled over a brace of frees and Anton Swann added one in Ballymun’s best spell of the first-half, but efforts from Andy McGowan and Shane Cunningham sent Kilmacud into the interval 1-6 to 0-5 in front.

Pat Burke reacts to a missed chance Pat Burke scored three points for Kilmacud. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Ballymun improved hugely after half-time and managed to gain a foothold in the middle third. Aided by a strong breeze, they posted seven points in the 15 minutes after the restart to move within a point of Crokes, who were wasteful at the far end.

Mannion and Pearson restored Kilmacud’s three-point advantage but Furman and Rock (free) responded for the 2012 champions. McGowan scored his third of the night and substitute Stephen Williams kicked a point as Crokes pushed for home.

Williams then finished a good Kilmacud move into the net and they withstood some late pressure to seal the victory.  

Scorers for Kilmacud Crokes: Paul Mannion 1-2 (1-0 pen), Stephen Williams 1-1, Andy McGowan and Pat Burke 0-3 (0-3f), Callum Pearson 0-2, Shane Cunningham and Cillian O’Shea 0-1 each.

Scorers for Ballymun Kickhams: Dean Rock 0-7 (0-5f), Ted Furman 0-2, Alan Hubbard, Jason Whelan, Anton Swann, Liam O’Donovan and Paddy Small 0-1 each.

Kilmacud Crokes

1. David Nestor

7. Ross McGowan
18. Rory O’Carroll
22. Nathan Nolan

5. Cian O’Connor
4. Cillian O’Shea
3. Andrew McGowan

8. Craig Dias
9. Conor Casey

12. Shane Horan
10. Shane Cunningham
13. Callum Pearson

11. Paul Mannion
26. Dara Mullin
15. Pat Burke

Subs 

28. Dan O’Brien for Pearson (43)
14. Stephen Williams for Burke (50)
25. Tom Fox for Horan (58)
20. Ciaran Russell for Dias (59)

Ballymun Kickhams 

1. Evan Comerford

3. Eoin Dolan
4. Philly McMahon
8. James McCarthy

2. Darragh Conlon
5. Carl Keeley
6. Leon Young

9.  Aaron Elliot
10. Jason Whelan

7. Alan Hubbard
15. Davey Byrne
12. Aaron Swann

13. Liam O’Donovan
11. Dean Rock
14. Paddy Small

Subs  

30. Ted Furman for Keeley (ht)
22. Alan George for Young (ht)
25. Dillon Keating for Conlon (48)
19. David Bolger for Swann (57) 

Referee: Barry Tiernan

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Kevin O'Brien

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