Four DCU men were involved in creating history on Saturday, as they helped Ballymun Kickhams advance to a first ever All-Ireland Club final.
The North Dublin club were hugely impressive as they marched on with their fine season, defeating Dr. Crokes of Kerry 1-10 to 0-09.
Captained by David Byrne and managed by Ken Robinson, head of DCU sport, the Dublin and Leinster club champions also boast the talent of DCU’s Dean Rock and James McCarthy in their green and red jerseys.
With a crowd of just under 3000 watching, Ballymun took control in the early stages thanks in the main to the contribution from the DCU men.
Rock and McCarthy were involved in the action from very early on, and the pair linked up in the 15th minute when McCarthy’s long range delivery met the fist of Dean Rock, but it dribbled wide.
David Moloney was kept busy in the Crokes goal by Ballymun, and was called into action again just five minutes later when Rock fisted the ball across the goal, and Kevin Leahy palmed it straight at him.
They may have led at the break by 1-04 to 0-04, but the scoreline didn’t reflect Ballymun’s dominance. Indeed, Dean Rock was undoubtedly a key figure for the Dubs on the day, kicking a total of five points.
It was obvious that Ballymun would need to put their authority to good use and Rock was at the heart of their second-half push. He kicked a free and a point from play soon after the restart.
Crokes were awarded a second-half penalty when Daithi Casey was fouled by Philip McMahon but Chris Brady’s kick was saved by Sean Currie in the Ballymun goal, and captain David Byrne’s clearance brought the ball to safety.
The Kerry champions attempted a late comeback, and did look like they pull off a revival mission with their four-point scoring sequence in the second-half. With less than ten minutes remaining, the gap was reduced to just two points.
Ballymun continued to attack, and Rock converted two placed ball efforts to move them four points clear. Crokes would not be beaten yet, and Fionn Fitzgerald’s point made for a nail-biting ending, with just a goal separating the two.
But, James McCarthy instigated the move which sealed Ballymun’s final berth. He powered up the field in the dying minutes and played the ball to Derek Byrne, who dissected the posts to ensure their place in Croke Park on St. Patrick’s day.