Ballymun power into first All-Ireland final
Ballymun Kickhams advanced to the AIB All-Ireland senior club football final on St Patrick’s Day with a 1-10 to 0-09 victory against Dr Crokes at Semple Stadium.
Ted Furman’s first-half goal proved decisive for the Dubliners, who will contest the club's very first All-Ireland senior final against St Brigid’s of Roscommon on 17 March.
Chris Brady missed a second-half penalty for Dr Crokes, who trailed by 0-04 to 1-04 at half-time. Dean Rock, son of Dublin legend Barney, scored 0-05 for Kickhams.
Ballymun clung on in the second half as Crokes attempted a fightback in front of an official attendance of 2,278 in Thurles.
The Dublin side led by six points, 1-07 to 0-04, when Philly McMahon booted over a 42nd minute score but Crokes cut the gap back to two points with less than ten minutes remaining.
Ballymun rallied again with a brace of scores from Rock, one from a free, to move four points clear.
Corner back Fionn Fitzgerald surged forward for Crokes to leave just a goal between the sides but Ballymun sealed victory when sub Derek Byrne took a lovely pass from Dublin star James McCarthy to steer over a fine score at the Killinan End.
Brady’s missed penalty, in the 39th minute, proved costly but Ballymun goalkeeper Sean Currie deserves credit for a decent save.
Referee Marty Duffy awarded the penalty for a foul on Daithi Casey by McMahon but Brady’s effort was saved by Currie diving to his right.
Minutes earlier, McMahon had a real sight of goal but his effort was well saved by the diving figure of Crokes corner back John Payne.
Ballymun, who registered 11 wides, led by 1-04 to 0-04 at half-time, with Furman’s sixth goal of the championship campaign separating the sides.
It was a tasty strike from the deadly corner forward as he took a pass from Philly McMahon in the 12th minute, jinked past John Payne before drilling a right-footed effort past David Moloney from 12 yards.
The sides had been level twice before Furman’s blast, with Dean Rock fisting wide in the 15th minute after swiping at James McCarthy’s long delivery.
And Ballymun went close to a second goal in the 20th minute when Rock fisted the ball across the face of goal and Kevin Leahy’s palmed effort was superbly diverted away for a 45 by Moloney.
At the other end, Crokes were finding chances of that ilk hard to come by.
Indeed, the Kerry and Munster kingpins went 14 minutes without a score in the opening half after Chris Brady was brilliantly set up by some Colm Cooper genius for a second Crokes point.
Each member of the Crokes inside line scored a first half point but Kickhams were full value for their interval lead, and they could have been further ahead after registering seven wides before half-time.
Ballymun Kickhams: D Rock 0-05 (3f), T Furman 1-01, P McMahon, Davey Byrne, Derek Byrne & J Whelan 0-01 each.
Dr. Crokes: D Casey 0-03 (1f) C Cooper 0-02, F Fitzgerald, C Brady, J Buckley & J Doolan, 0-01 each.
Ballymun Kickhams: S Currie; E Dolan, S George, E Dolan; A Hubbard, K Connolly, J Burke; P McMahon, J McCarthy; D Byrne, K Leahy, J Whelan; C Weir, D Rock, T Furman.
Substitutes: E Reilly for Weir (46), Derek Byrne for Leahy (55), S Forde for Connolly (56), A O’Brien for Furman (60+2).
Dr Crokes: D Moloney; J Payne, M Moloney, F Fitzgerald; L Quinn, E Brosnan, S Myers; A O’Donovan, J Buckley; K O’Leary, D Casey, B Looney; C Brady, C Cooper, J Doolan.
Substitutes: S Doolan for O’Donovan (19), D O’Leary for Myers (43), K Ward for Quinn (44), G O’Shea for Brady (56),
Referee: M Duffy (Sligo).