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Mannion stars as Kilmacud Crokes march on to Leinster semi-final

The three-time All-Star hit six-points as the Dublin champions defeated Wolfe Tones.

Paul Mannion on the ball for Kilmacud Crokes.
Paul Mannion on the ball for Kilmacud Crokes.
Image: Tom Maher/INPHO

Kilmacud Crokes (Dublin) 1-13
Wolfe Tones (Meath) 1-9

Paul Keane reports from Pairc Tailteann

THE CLASS OF Paul Mannion was apparent once again as Kilmacud Crokes shook off the determined challenge of Wolfe Tones in Navan to qualify for the AIB Leinster club SFC semi-finals.

Six points from the former Dublin player, including three of his team’s last four scores, proved a significant haul and it was the three-time All-Star who also threaded through the precise pass in the lead up to Ben Shovlin’s first quarter goal.

Mannion will return to familiar surroundings next Saturday week when Crokes play Portarlington at Croke Park, one part of a double header of provincial semi-finals taking place at GAA headquarters that day.

Cian Ward’s dismissal shortly after the second water break was a big moment in the game, robbing Tones of their talisman former county man.

He pleaded his case after receiving a second booking for a heavy hit on Micheal Mullin while in the process of winning back possession but referee Patrick Maguire stood by his decision.

Mannion might have made doubly sure of Crokes’ win in stoppage time when clean through but drove his shot over the bar when a goal was a possibility.

It was a strange afternoon for Crokes manager Robbie Brennan whose parents live in the Kilberry area where Tones draw their players from. His father, Paddy, is a former Tones player.

Tones came into the contest looking to arrest a terrible run of form for Meath clubs in Leinster, just three wins from a dozen outings in the previous decade.

They got the worst possible start when Crokes flew into a 1-3 to 0-1 lead thanks partly to Shovlin’s fortuitous 15th minute goal. Mannion’s defence splitting pass down the right was a touch of class but Shovlin got lucky when his initial shot was saved and rebounded back off his heel and into the net.

Tones looked in real trouble but fought back to level terms by the 28th minute with Cian O’Neill’s palmed goal a morale boosting score that was set up by Ward on the right.

Points from Tom Fox and Mannion nudged Crokes 1-5 to 1-3 clear at half-time and three more after the restart left clear daylight between the teams again.

Tones refused to relent though and with Thomas O’Reilly an influential figure they got the margin back down to three points, 1-9 to 1-6, when Ward was shown red.

It was a big blow and they were powerless to prevent Mannion from capitalising with his three late scores which went a long way to sealing victory for the four-time provincial winners.

Kilmacud Crokes scorers: Paul Mannion 0-6 (0-1f), Ben Shovlin 1-0, Tom Fox 0-2 (0-2f), Dara Mullin 0-1, Conor Ferris 0-1 (0-1 45), Craig Dias 0-1, Shane Cunningham 0-1, Dan O’Brien 0-1.

Wolfe Tones scorers: Cian O’Neill 1-0, Cian Ward 0-3 (0-3f), Padraic Diamond 0-2, Thomas O’Reilly 0-2 (0-1f), Saran O Fionnagain 0-1 (0-1m), Tom Gavigan 0-1.

Kilmacud Crokes

1. Conor Ferris

5. Dan O’Brien
6. Rory O’Carroll
2. Micheal Mullin

18. Cian O’Connor
7. Cillian O’Shea
4. Andrew McGowan

8. Craig Dias
9. Ben Shovlin

12. Shane Horan
11. Paul Mannion
10. Tom Fox

15. Dara Mullin
14. Shane Cunningham
13. Hugh Kenny

Subs
3. Ross McGowan for A McGowan (2)
21. Aidan Jones for Horan (41)
17. Callum Pearson for Kenny (45)
24. Conor Casey for Dias (48)
19. Conor Kinsella for Fox (55)

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Wolfe Tones

1. Cian Farnan

2. Brughach O Fionnagain
3. Adam O’Neill
6. Shane Glynn

5. Niall O’Reilly
7. Daniel O’Neill
4. Conor Sheppard

8. Padraic Diamond
9. Alan Callaghan

10. Stephen Sheppard
11. Cian Ward
18. Oisin Martin

12. Thomas O’Reilly
14. Cian O’Neill
15. Saran O Fionnagain

Subs:
25. Fiachra Ward for Callaghan (48)
13. Caolan Ward for C O’Neill (49)
17. Tom Gavigan for Martin (56)
28. Eanna O’Kelly-Lynch for N O’Reilly (58)

Referee: Patrick Maguire (Longford).

BTL 5

About the author:

Paul Keane

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