Wednesday 1 February 2023 Dublin: 6°C
Bryan Keane/INPHO Kilmacud Crokes players after their victory over Naas.
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Mullin grabs bizarre goal as Kilmacud Crokes power past Naas into Leinster semi-final
Dara Mullin’s quick thinking saw him kick the ball into an empty net as the Dublin champions prevailed.

Kilmacud Crokes 3-14

Naas 0-14

Ger McNally reports from Parnell Park

DUBLIN CHAMPIONS KILMACUD Crokes defeated Naas for the second time this year in some style today at Parnell Park.

In a repeat of the 2021 final, played in January of this year, Crokes were pretty much always on top with the two Shanes, Walsh and Cunningham, landing some eye catching scores.

There were problems for Crokes manager Robbie Brennan before the off when Conor Casey picked up an injury in the warm up and had to leave in an ambulance but once the ball was thrown in hey were handed a dream start. With the scores at 0-2 points apiece, Naas defender Cathal Daly placed the ball on the ground when penalised for too many steps inside his own 45.

However, Naas goalkeeper Luke Mullins was out of position and the quick thinking Dara Mullin was able to gleefully send the ball into the empty net.

Walsh then added two points but Naas responded superbly. Two excellent points from Alex Beirne were quickly followed by scores from Eamonn Callaghan, six days short of his 40th birthday, and Ciaran Doyle.

However, two of Naas’ opening four points they were through on goal and took the easy option of the point rather than ruthlessly going for goal. That proved costly when Craig Dias was in scoring range for Crokes in the 23rd minute and rather than looking for a point, he took the more difficult option of going for goal and brilliantly found the top corner.

Those two goals separated the teams at half time, 2-7 to 0-7, and points quickly after the restart from Walsh and Shane Horan ended any chance of a comeback.

The third goal came in the 37th when Hugh Kenny found the bottom corner of the net after Andrew McGowan picked him out.

From there, it was just about playing the game out and Crokes did it with a confident strut.

They now face Portarlington in the semi-final in two weeks, a team they beat at the same stage of the competition last season, and they looked well placed to do the same again.

Kilmacud Crokes: Conor Ferris; Michael Mullin, Theo Clancy, Dan O’Brien, Cillian O’Shea, Rory O’Carroll, Andrew McGowan; Craig Dias 1-0, Ben Shovlin; Shane Horan 0-1, Shane Cunningham 0-4 (1m), Aidan Jones 0-2, Hugh Kenny 1-0, Dara Mullin 1-1 (1m), Shane Walsh 0-4 (2fs).

Subs: Tom Fox 0-1 for Kenny, 40; Cian O’Connor 0-1 (1m) for Horan, 43; Jeff Kenny for McGowan, 52; Anthony Quinn for M Mullin, 55; B Sheehy for Cunningahm, 59.

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Naas: Luke Mullins 0-2 (2’45); Cathal Daly, Brian Byrne, Mark Maguire, Paddy McDermott, Eoin Doyle, Tom Browne 0-1; James Burke, Alex Beirne 0-3; Brian Kane, Dermot Hanafin, Paul McDermott, Eamonn Callaghan 0-2, Darragh Kirwan 0-4, Ciaran Doyle 0-1.

Subs: Jack Cleary for Paul McDermott, h/t; Jack McKevitt for Kane, 43; Kevin Cummins for C Doyle, 50; Brian Stynes 0-1 for Maguire, 50; Eoghan Prizeman for Browne, 59.

Referee: Anthony Nolan (Wicklow).

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