Crokes and Naas to contest Leinster Club SFC final

November 20, 2023

Ardee St Mary's Jonathan Commins with Shane Walsh of Kilmacud Crokes. ©INPHO/Ciaran Culligan.

Reigning All-Ireland champions Kilmacud Crokes will face Naas in the Leinster Club SFC final at Croke Park on the weekend after next following their respective semi-final wins over Ardee St Mary’s and St Loman’s.

Paul Mannion and Shane Walsh scored 0-10 between them as Crokes moved within 60 minutes of a three-in-a-row of provincial titles with a hard-earned 1-16 to 1-11 victory in Ardee. Mannion hit five points and Darragh Dempsey found the net to help the visitors to a commanding 1-10 to 0-3 lead at the interval.

But St Mary’s stormed back into contention with an unanswered 1-5 in the third quarter, including a 40th minute goal from Ryan Rooney. However, the Dublin kingpins regained their composure just in time and outscored the hosts by 0-6 to 0-3 in the final quarter to set up a repeat of the 2021 final against Naas, who ousted St Loman’s by 1-15 to 1-10 after extra-time in TEG Cusack Park.

Shane Dempsey’s 24th minute goal had the Mullingar outfit 1-7 to 0-7 in front at half-time, but they only scored three more times in the remaining 50-plus minutes as Darragh Kirwan inspired Naas to victory with 1-7, 1-6 of which came from play.

The Kildare champions fought back to force extra-time on a 0-12 to 1-9 scoreline before Kirwan’s goal in the first period of extra-time broke St Loman’s resistance.

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