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Dublin: 7°C Sunday 29 November 2020
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Underdogs Thomas Davis stun champions Kilmacud Crokes to reach first Dublin final in 28 years

Kilmacud lost All-Star forward Paul Mannion to an early injury.

The Thomas Davis players celebrate after the game.
The Thomas Davis players celebrate after the game.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Thomas Davis 2-12

Kilmacud Crokes 1-10

THOMAS DAVIS PULLED off the shock of the Dublin SFC by dumping out champions Kilmacud Crokes in the semi-final to reach their first final since 1991. 

They’ll take on Ballyboden St Enda’s in the decider after this stunning victory over a Crokes side that reached the provincial final less than a year ago. 

Thomas Davis defeated Castleknock in the previous round but not many gave them much of a chance of taking out the Stillorgan outfit tonight.

Kilmacud were three ahead after 26 minutes but found themselves in a serious spot of bother as second-half goals from Ciaran Farrelly (31 minutes) and Brendan Kirby (40 minutes) powered them underdogs into a five-point lead which turned out to be their winning margin. 

Crokes were not helped by the loss of Paul Mannion and former Dublin panellist Craig Dias to injury in the first period, while current Sky Blues squad member Cian O’Connor was withdrawn after 44 minutes.

cian-murphy-and-pat-burke Thomas Davis' Cian Murphy and Pat Burke of Kilmacud. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Thomas Davis had a very efficient kick-out strategy and a strong running game that tore the reigning champions to shreds at times.

Mannion helped turn the quarter-final into Kilmacud’s favour after his half-time introduction and his injury-enforced withdrawal here after just 11 minutes seemed to drain energy from his team. 

Thomas Davis won promotion from the second tier in 2018 and progressed from the group stage this season on scoring difference – edging out a Raheny side that featured All-Stars Brian Howard and Brian Fenton.

They sealed a magnificent last-eight victory over Ciaran Kilkenny’s Castleknock to reach this stage. They’re a well-drilled outfit without any star names but are led by forwards Eoin Kirby and Dublin U20 hurler David Keogh, while midfielder Ryan Deegan is of inter-county standard. 

Nerves might have been an issue for Thomas Davis as they fell 0-4 to 0-1 behind after 13 minutes, but once they settled into the game they were more than a match for the champions.

A brace from Eoin Kirby helped Thomas Davis to within one before Crokes moved three clear again as the break approached. Yet the sides went in level after a strong surge by Thomas Davis with efforts from Deegan and Eoin Kirby (two). 

If Crokes were expecting for normal service to resume in the second-half they were badly mistaken. David Nestor didn’t cover himself in glory for Farrelly’s goal 14 seconds after the restart and then midfielder Brendan Kirby broke forward for his second goal in as many games. 

Pat Burke kept things ticking over for Kilmacud with a brace and then flicked Cian O’Connor’s under-hit shot into the net.

But Thomas Davis hit three of the next four scores and powered to victory down the home straight.

Scorers for Thomas Davis: Eoin Kirby 0-5 (0-4f), Ciaran Farrelly 1-1, Brendan Kirgby 1-0, Ryan Deegan 0-2, Cian Murphy, Shane McGrath, Sean Reilly and Oisin Kelly 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kilmacud Crokes: Pat Burke 1-4 (0-3f), Shane Horan 0-2 (0-1f), Andrew McGowan, Callum Pearson, Craig Dias and Dara Mullin 0-1 each.

Thomas Davis 

1. Robbie Crilly

2. Sean Kennedy
6. Brian Kirby
3. Peter Quinn

4. Cian Murphy 
7. Aaron Shorten
5. Adam Fallon

11. Ryan Deegan
9. Brendan Kirby

18. Eoin Lambert
8. Eoin Kirby
12. Oisin Kelly

10. Shane McGrath
14. Ciaran Farrelly
13. David Keogh

Subs

15. Eanna O’Toole for Kelly (37)
21. Sean Reilly for McGrath (53)
25. Mark Nolan for Farrelly (65)

Kilmacud Crokes 

1. David Nestor

2. Andy McGowen
3. Rory O’Carroll
4. Ross McGowan

5. Cian O’Connor
6. Cillian O’Shea
7. Ciaran Russell

8. Craig Dias
9. Ben Shovlin

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

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

Subs

24. Tom Fox for Mannion (12)
19. Niall O’Leary for Dias (32)
25. Hugh Kenny for Cunningham (44)
17. Aidan Jones for O’Connor (44)
27. Darragh Jones for Pearson (48)
26. Stephen Williams for Mullin (53)

Referee: Ronnie Malone

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien  / reports from Parnell Park

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