Portarlington's Ronan Coffey and Ben Shovlin of Kilmacud Crokes. Lorraine O’Sullivan/INPHO
Last Four

Kilmacud eventually come good to edge past Portarlington and seal Leinster final place

The Dublin champions will play Naas in the final.

Kilmacud Crokes 1-11

Portarlington 0-12

KILMACUD CROKES RETURNED to their second Leinster final since 2018, requiring a big second-half push to edge out a strong Portarlington outfit in Croke Park. 

The Dublin champions were off-colour in the early stages, going almost half an hour without a score as they trailed by five shortly before the break.

With Paul Mannion and Shane Cunningham influential up front, they improved their shooting in the second-half and were full value for the two-point win. Mannion had a good tussle with Robbie Piggott, who held him quiet in the first period but the former All-Star stroked over three excellent scores in the second-half. 

Portarlington ran out of steam in the second period and Crokes looked to have figured out their defensive structure as the game wore on.

The opening period didn’t go to plan for Kilmacud. They went in trailing by four at the interval, having been completely outplayed by the Laois champions. 

It was a similar sort of game to the 2018 Leinster final Crokes lost to Mullinalaghta.

Portarlington sat deep without the ball and forced their opponents to play on the outside of the arch. Their defensive pressure meant Crokes went 28 first-half minutes without a score and they were guilty of eight wides.

Kilmacud did create two goal chances but they were spurned by Andrew McGowan and Dan O’Brien.

Mannion was quiet after being tracked by Robbie Piggott. At the far end Portarlington looked extremely dangerous on the counter attack. Brothers David and Colm Murphy fired four between them in the first 35 minutes. Colm’s third effort arrived from a placed ball after he fetched a glorious pass inside by Patrick O’Sullivan and was fouled.

After going scoreless in the first-half, Mannion was moved inside by manager Robbie Brennan and he started to get more involved. He stroked over one and Callum Pearson fired a brace but Kilmacud were wasteful and shot a further seven wides in the third quarter. 

Cian O’Connor and Shane Horan were introduced during that period, two players that have recent inter-county experience with Dublin and Offaly respectively. When O’Connor rocked the Portarlington net to sent Crokes 1-7 to 0-9 ahead, the Dublin champions looked to have all the momentum. 

But to their credit, Portarlington rallied again. Sub Stephen O’Neill kicked a massive score and then Adam Ryan came the fifth forward to score moments later.

In the space of two minutes, Mannion curled over a pair of strikes from either wing – the sort of efforts he used to land at this venue regularly for the Dubs.

Shane Cunningham brought his tally to three in the 55th minute, leaving Crokes two clear. Colm Murphy pulled back a free but that was cancelled out by a fisted Dara Mullin score after a patient move. 

Kilmacud saw out the final couple of minutes to seal their progression into a final against Naas. 

Scorers for Kilmacud Crokes: Paul Mannion and Shane Cunningham 0-3 each, Cian O’Connor 1-0, Callum Pearson and Dara Mullin 0-2 each, Dan O’Brien 0-1.

Scorers for Portarlington: Colm Murphy 0-4 (0-3f), Sean Byrne and Jake Foster 0-2 each, Rioghan Murphy, Adam Ryan, Stephen O’Neill and David Murphy 0-1 each.

Kilmacud Crokes 

1. Conor Ferris

3. Ross McGowan, 6. Rory O’Carroll, 2. Michael Mullin

5. Dan O’Brien, 7. Cillian O’Shea, 4. Andrew McGowan

8. Craig Dias, 9. Ben Shovlin

21. Aidan Jones, 11. Paul Mannion, 10. Tom Fox

17. Callum Pearson, 14. Shane Cunningham, 15. Dara Mullin 


18. Cian O’Connor for Aidan Jones (39)

12. Shane Horan for Fox (39)

23. Conor Casey for Dias (43)

27. Darragh Jones for Cunningham (54)


1. Scott Osborne

2. Cathal Bennett, 3. Diarmuid Bennett, 4. Alex Mohan

5. Stuart Mulepter, 6. Robbie Pigott, 7. Patrick O’Sullivan

8. Keith Bracken, 9. Sean Byrne

10. Adam Ryan, 11. Ronan Coffey, 12. Rioghan Murphy

13. Jake Foster, 14. David Murphy, 15. Colm Murphy


18 Stephen O’Neill for Coffey (45)

20. Jordan Fitzpatrick for Bennett (51)

19. Colin Slevin for Bracken (58)

21. Sean Michael Corcoran for Byrne (64)

Referee: John Hickey (Carlow)

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