Kilmacud Crokes banished the ghosts from last year by overcoming a stern Glen challenge today at Croke Park to land their club’s third All-Ireland senior football championship crown.
Having lost out on the same stage to Kilcoo a little less than 12 months ago, Crokes were made fight to the finish to earn the 1-11 to 1-9 victory over their Derry counterparts at headquarters.
The Ulster champions had given themselves the perfect start to this decider, with full-forward Danny Tallon finishing his wonderful individual effort to Crokes’ net after just 34 seconds.
From there, Malachy O’Rourke’s men were able to open up a 1-3 to 0-1 lead but Crokes had the right response, winning a penalty for marksman Shane Walsh to tuck away on 16 minutes.
The occasion also saw Walsh and the fit-again Paul Mannion starting alongside each other in the Stillorgan men’s attack and, after the Galway star’s spot-kick, they were able to kick on for a 1-4 to 1-3 half-time lead.
Walsh’s ‘45’ stretched the lead for his side three minutes into the resumption before Glen shot the next four points unanswered via Tallon (2, 1 free), Alex Doherty and Jack Doherty.
Mannion (free) and Shane Cunningham hit the responses for Crokes, leaving it at 1-7 apiece to ensure a fascinating closing quarter was in store.
Emmett Bradley (free) and Conleth McGuckian put the Oak Leaf men up by two again but Dara Mullin’s point and another free from Walsh had it level with 10 minutes to go.
Cian O’Connor’s point would be backed up by Walsh’s last free on the hour mark and it left Glen needing a goal at the death which never came their way, as star man Conor Glass was denied what would've been a match-winning goal thanks to Conor Ferris's turning his injury-time effort around the post.
It ensured that Crokes’ long journey back to this stage ended in the sweetest of victories to wash away the pain from last year's extra time defeat on the same stage.
60 +3 nóim@KCrokesGAAClub 1-11@WattyGrahamsGAA 1-09— Spórt TG4 (@SportTG4) January 22, 2023
Sábháil den scoth ag deireadh an cluiche ó Conor Ferris!
Fantastic save! 👌
#GAABEO @GAA_BEO | @officialgaa | @AIB_GAA
BEO/LIVE AR @TG4TV pic.twitter.com/BNoGSoLlni