Na Fianna 0-13
Ballymun Kickhams 0-8

NA FIANNA SENT Ballymun Kickhams packing from the Dublin SFC tonight with a well-deserved five-point victory.

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Reigning champions Kilmacud Crokes had already sealed top spot in the group, meaning this was a straight shootout to join them in the quarter-finals. 

Managed by All-Ireland winning minor and U21 boss Dessie Farrell, the Glasnevin outfit were the more clinical side up front in an extremely physical affair. They now must be considered threats to Kilmacud’s throne, but Farrell will know plenty of improvement will be required if they’re to end an 18-year wait without a county title.

Na Fianna are viewed by many as a coming force in Dublin club football with a number of talented youngsters emerging alongside an experienced core.

Their two starters on the county side, Jonny Cooper and Eoin Murchan, were employed in the full-back line and they largely nullified Ballymun’s dangermen. Cooper completely restricted Dean Rock’s influence and held him scoreless from play, with Rock responsible for just two pointed frees in the game.

Ballymun Kickhams had 0-4 on the board after 13 minutes but scored just four more points for the remainder of the game. They had serial All-Ireland winners all over the field with Dublin stars Philly McMahon, John Small, James McCarthy, Paddy Small and Rock in their ranks, but put in a disjointed display overall.

They certainly looked like a side who had been training without their big players for the majority of the season.

This was a fiery local derby that threatened to get out of hand at stages during the second period such was the ferocity of hits going in from either side.

McMahon was somewhat fortunate to remain on the field after an off-the-ball clash with Murchan that left the All-Ireland final replay goalscorer requiring attention for a head injury. The seven-time Celtic Cross winner was booked for his role in the incident, much to the frustration of the vocal Na Fianna support.

Philly McMahon receives a yellow card from referee Sean McCarthy.

Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

In attack Na Fianna possessed Conor McHugh, Aaron Byrne and James Doran – three talented forwards who caused plenty of issues for the Ballymun defence, particularly after half-time. That trio scored 0-10 of Na Fianna’s tally between them and still left a handful of opportunities behind them.

Na Fianna didn’t score from play in the first period – discounting Leon Young’s own point – but improved greatly in an attacking sense in the second-half. 

The opening half was filled with turnovers and missed chances. The first score of the game was an own point from the boot of Young as he diverted Byrne’s drilled shot across goal over the bar. That was a sign of things to come.

Ballymun Kickhams’ Paddy Small runs at James Doran of Na Fianna.

Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Rock sent three scoreable efforts wide, while Byrne missed two at the far end.

Paddy Small sprinkled some class on the proceedings with two well-taken points, yet Ballymun didn’t score for the final 17 minutes of the half and went in at the interval 0-5 to 0-4 behind.

Na Fianna surged three clear shortly after the restart before McCarthy pulled off one of his trademark shoulders to set-up a Carl Keely effort. Na Fianna were punching holes in the Ballymun rearguard with McHugh forcing a good save from Sean Currie, before Doran dragged a shot on goal wide. 

Dublin team-mates Eoin Murchan and Dean Rock after the game.

Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

The lively Dillon Keating and substitute Jason Whelan added scores for the ‘Mun, but at the far end Dublin panellist McHugh curled over a nice effort off the left and James Doran punched a point over the bar. 

Down the stretch, Na Fianna confidently held onto possession and worked scoring chances. Dean Rock’s pointed free was all Ballymun could muster as Byrne (free), Dean Ryan, Sean Caffrey and Doran added insurance scores for the winners.

Scorers for Na Fianna: Conor McHugh 0-4 (0-3f), Aaron Byrne (0-3f) and James Doran 0-3 each, Dean Ryan, Sean McCaffrey and Leon Young (own point) 0-1 each.

Scorers for Ballymun Kickhams: Dean Rock (0-2f), Paddy Small 0-2 each, Fiach Andrews, Dillon Keating, Carl Keely and Jason Whelan 0-1 each.

Na Fianna

1. David O’Hanlon

3. Jonny Cooper
17. Emile Mullen
7. Eoin Murchan

23. Niall Cooper
5. Niall McGovern 
12. Glenn O’Reilly

8. Killian Deeley
25. John Lawless

10. James Doran
21. David Quinn
26. Allisdar Fitzgerald

14. Conor McHugh
11. Aaron Byrne 
19. Brian O’Leary


15. David Lacey for Fitzgerald (40)
22. Paddy Quinn for Lawless (48)
9. Donal Ryan for Deeley (48)
6. Dean Ryan for Quinn (56)
13. Sean Caffrey for O’Leary (58)

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Ballymun Kickhams

1. Sean Currie

2. Alan Hubbard
3. Eoin Dolan
4. Philly McMahon

5. Carl Keely
6. John Small
7. Leon Young

8. James McCarthy
25. Liam O’Donovan

10. Cameron McCormack
13. Dillon Keating
9. Davy Byrne

11. Paddy Small

15. Dean Rock
14. Fiach Andrews


28. Jason Whelan for Andrews (42)
17. Brian Ashton for McCormack (42)
26. Cathal O’Tighe for George (48)
24. Andrew McCaul for Keating (53)

Referee: Sean McCarthy


In the other Group 1 tie, Kilmacud Crokes enjoyed a 2-19 to 1-10 victory against St Sylvesters in a dead-rubber tie.

Elsewhere in the Dublin SFC tonight, St Vincent’s advanced from Group 4 with a convincing 4-13 to 1-10 defeat of Ballinteer St Johns.

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