All-Ireland club SFC final: Kilma-could

March 17, 2009

Kilmacud Crokes' Johnny Magee and Pat Burke lift the AIB All-Ireland SF club trophy
Kilmacud Crokes were too hot for Crossmaglen as they captured the 2009 All-Ireland club football championship with a 1-9 to 0-7 win. The Dublin champions led all the way and forced Cross' to play second fiddle throughout on a tense and nervy day at Headquarters. Darren Magee produced a Man of the Match display to pave the way for Johnny Magee to collect the Andy Merrigan Cup for the convincing winners. Following St Vincents' superb victory last year, this is the second year in a row that the club football title has rested in the capital and statisticians will already have noted that Dublin went on to lift Sam the last time Crokes won this competition (in 1995). Paddy Carr's side took the battle to Crossmaglen Rangers from the beginning and they were full value for their 1-4 to 0-4 interval lead, with full forward Mark Davoren firing the goal at the midway point in the first half. Longford attacker Brian Kavanagh - who started on the 40 - opened the scoring with a fine Kilmacud point off his right boot on two minutes and Dubs star Mark Vaughan doubled the gap two minutes later with a close range free when Cross' were penalised for a late tackle on Davoren. Oisin McConville got the Armagh champions off the mark with a supreme point off his left boot from an acute angle on the left wing and Vaughan's next effort - from a difficult free at the Canal End - was pulled to the left of the posts and wide. Vaughan was in the mood, though, and he calmly floated over his next free from the turf, dissecting the posts from a central position 45 metres out to make it 0-3 to 0-1 after six minutes. Cross' full forward John Murtagh missed a chance after McConville and Aaron Kernan instigated a counter-attack. At the other end, Crokes No.14 Davoren showed the Cross' defence a clean pair of heels to send a beautiful left-footed shot past the despairing dive of Paul Hearty to the back of the net. Crossmaglen seemed to be getting to grips with the threat but missed a few chances before Tony Kernan, wearing the No.17 shirt, stroked over a 17th-minute free to reduce the gap to four, 1-3 to 0-2. The Ulster champions were deploying the more physical approach and the referee seemed determined not to allow either team use robust tactics as anything approaching a foul was punished. McConville recorded yet another Cross' wide from a free but he then pointed a 21st minute free, with Kevin Nolan picking up a yellow card for his part in that incident. Michael McNamee didn't appear to have his shooting boots on and the Crossmaglen No.10 hit another poor wide after the Leinster champions had hit a post with an attempted cross. Tony Kernan pulled another shot wide - from a 45 - and Vaughan had another miss at the other end. Crossmaglen captain John Donaldson landed one into the arms of the Kilmacud 'keeper moments before Kavanagh stretched the lead to four points, 1-4 to 0-3, with 27 minutes played. Cross' manager Donal Murtagh had seen enough and, with his side struggling, he introduced Stephen Kernan for McNamee with two minutes left in the first half. Francie Bellew - who moved in to his customary full back role to shore up the Crossmaglen defence - cleared the next Crokes attack, but it was to no avail as John McEntee sent yet another shot into the grateful arms of Kilmacud goalie David Nestor. With the last action of the first half, in the second minute of added time, McConville curled over a free to close the gap to a goal at the short whistle, 1-4 to 0-4. Upon the resumption, Kavanagh kicked wide before Nestor made a comfortable save from McConville's goal effort. Oisin's 45 was deflected out for another 45 and this time Tony Kernan took the kick, grabbing a crucial point via the left upright for a two-point game. It was all Crossmaglen in the opening exchanges of the second half, but they were guilty of another miss when Murtagh again kicked wildly. Not for the first time, Kilmacud were left ruing the absence of a left-footed place-kicker from their line-up when Vaughan was off target from a ridiculously-narrow angle Vaughan missed another difficult opportunity but Darren Magee was on hand to steady the Dublin club with an inspirational kick from distance to make it 1-5 to 0-5. On 42 minutes, McConville hit the post with a high kick from the hands from a soft free and the gap remained at three points, 1-5 to 0-5. Bellew made a thunderous tackle to stop Davoren in his tracks and - quite incredibly - Vaughan was way off target when he attempted another shot from the wrong side when it was practically impossible to score. The next score went to Vaughan, though, from another free at the start of the fourth quarter and that point left the Armagh standard-bearers in real trouble, trailing by 1-6 to 0-5 with twelve minutes of normal time remaining. Aaron Kernan - who was in an increasingly-advanced position - was the next Cross' man to miss (his free drifting wide) and it was starting to look more and more like Kilmacud Crokes' day. Stephen Kernan knocked the ball over the bar at the end of a dangerous Cross' attack and McConville converted another free to close the margin to a manageable two points with eight minutes left, 0-7 to 1-6. A minute later, Vaughan expertly despatched a long-range point from play to steady Kilmacud's nerves and the Dublin side survived a hairy moment when David McKenna charged into their goalmouth but ran out of steam. Substitute Kyle Carragher wasted a good Cross' chance after Hearty had dealt well with Vaughan's high delivery. With Ross O'Carroll performing like a demon, the Crokes were dealing manfully with everything that came in and around their goals as Cross' rallied desperately for the goal that would save their bacon. But it was Niall Corkery who pointed at the other end. That insurance point was followed by another for the impressive and thoroughly-deserving All-Ireland club football champions of 2009 - Kilmacud Crokes. Kilmacud Crokes - D Nestor; Ross O Carroll, Rory O Carroll, K Nolan; B McGrath, P Griffin, C O Sullivan; D Magee (0-1), N Corkery (0-1); L Óg Ó hÉinneacháin, B Kavanagh (0-2), A Morrissey; M Vaughan (0-4), M Davoren (1-0), P Burke. Subs: J Magee for Ó hÉinneacháin; R Cosgrove (0-1) for Kavanagh. Crossmaglen Rangers - P Hearty; B McKeown, P Kernan, P McKeown; A Kernan, F Bellew, J Donaldson; T McEntee, D McKenna; M McEntee, J McEntee, T Kernan (0-2); J Clarke, J Murtagh, O McConville (0-4). Subs: S Kernan (0-1) for M McEntee; K Carragher for Murtagh ; S Finnegan for McKeown; R Kelly for Donaldson, C Short for J McEntee. Ref - G Kinneavy (Galway)

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