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08th Jan 2022

Naas don’t register a single point in the second half as Kilmacud Crokes seal Leinster title

Lee Costello

Kilmacud Crokes 0-14 0-07 Naas.

At half time in the Leinster final it was all to play for as Eamonn Callaghan repeated a familiar theme throughout this championship and slotted over a free kick to bring it to a one point game.

Both teams came out in the second half with everything to play, almost nothing between the two teams, and fans sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for another exciting display of football.

Kilmacud Crokes were missing Paul Mannion through injury, and that was expected to be a big blow for the Dublin champions as he has undoubtedly been the main man for them this season.

However, it turned out to be the absence of Darragh Kirwan for Naas that proved to be the most costly, as the Kildare kingpins just couldn’t find any form in front of the posts.

To say that Crokes turned the screw would be an understatement, as Shane Cunningham led the line brilliantly, and they just didn’t let up in front of the posts, especially as Tom Fox put in a Man of the match display in the half forward position.

Naas on the other hand were very wasteful, despite having chances, and amazingly, even their usually reliable captain, Callaghan, missed a score able free from just to add to their misery.

Unbelievably the Kildare side didn’t register a single score in the second half, which was mind boggling when you consider how tight it was at half time, and how wonderful this team have been throughout the campaign.

The defence of Crokes deserves great credit, lead by Rory O’Carroll at six, but dropping in as a sweeper in the second half, they were absolutely resilient.

Not many teams can claim to keep a perfect clean sheet in a half of football, not least in a Leinster final against a team full of the talent that Naas possess.

Crokes have now clinched their fifth ever Leinster title and will no doubt be favourites as they go into the club All-Ireland series.