Crokes master class ensures no repeat of ‘87
By Murt Murphy
Dr Crokes overwhelmed Kenmare District to claim their 11th Kerry SFC crown after putting their opponents to the sword in the second half, with their attack shredding the Kenmare District defence with slick movement and some great scores.
It was typical Crokes with Colm Cooper to the fore and this is their fifth championship in seven years as they dominated throughout despite the spirited resistance of Adrian Spillane, Tadhg Morley and Paul O’Connor.
Crokes began the opening quarter well as their movement had Kenmare in difficulty as Colm Cooper converted an early free but Paul O’Connor responded for Kenmare District from a close-in free, the first of five points for the Kenmare marksman.
There were a couple of intriguing match-ups with veteran Eoin Brosnan lining up at cornerback to curb the threat of Adrian Spillane while Michael Moloney was sticking close to Kenmare District’s danger man Paul O’Connor.
Crokes were moving well from the back but after a Kieran O’Leary wide Paul O’Connor popped the ball over after John Payne had left the ball slip from his grasp.
O’Leary, who became an influential figure for the Crokes, kicked a fine point from an acute angle in the 9th minute but then wasted an easier opportunity a minute later. Kerry senior Tadhg Morley was playing the role of sweeper at the back for Kenmare District in an effort to curb the influence of Colm Cooper who was as always the conductor of the Crokes orchestra.
Cooper gave Crokes the lead in the 10th minute with a beauty but Killian Spillane scored a sublime point from the corner at the end of the opening quarter and the game was delicately poised. However, Crokes appeared to be winning all the crucial battles and with Johnny Buckley assigned to ensure that Kenmare danger man Patrick Clifford would be kept to his defensive duties, Crokes began to gain momentum and after a keeper error, Cooper restored Crokes’ lead and then keeper Shane Murphy slotted a 45 as Crokes went two points clear.
Paul O’Connor reduced it to the minimum in the 20th minute with another free after Killian Spillane was fouled off the ball but then Crokes, thanks to an Ambrose O’Donovan long range effort and another effort from Cooper himself from a free, had Kenmare in difficulty. The crucial score in the opening half came in the 26th minute when Fionn Fitzgerald raided up the right flank, found Kieran O’Leary and he in turn slipped Dara Crowley before slipping the ball to the Kenmare District net with his left foot.
Crokes were now five points clear but a late Paul O’Connor point after Kenmare District had lost Patrick Clifford with a recurrence of a shoulder injury saw the Crokes retire 1-7 to 0-6 in front but the game was not over by any means.
However Crokes assumed control in the second period as they weaved their magic in attack with Colm Cooper giving a man of the match display with some trademark scores and flawless point taking.
Michaél Burns came off the bench and kicked the first point of the second half but when Gavin White placed Johnny Buckley in the 34th minute for Crokes second goal Kenmare District had a mountain to climb.
In fairness to Kenmare Teddy Doyle struck back immediately with a goal but it was to be their last score in 8 minutes and in that period Crokes tacked on five points without reply with Kieran O’Leary and Brian Looney in particular kicking some excellent points finishing with four in the second half and with Cooper adding three and substitute Jordan Kiely adding one from the bench Kenmare’s challenge fell away.
The Crokes cruised to victory with an up-tempo performance claiming their 11th senior football crown and on this display they will be live contenders for the Munster and All-Ireland club series.
They are away to Cratloe or Kilmurray-Ibrickane of Clare on the weekend of October 30th.
Dr Crokes: C Cooper 0-7 (0-3 frees); B Looney 0-4, K O’Leary 1-1, J Buckley 1-0, S Murphy (0-1 ’45), A O’Donovan, J Kiely, M Burns 0-1 each.
Scorers for Kenmare District: P O’Connor 0-8 (0-7 frees), T Doyle (1-0), A Spillane and K Spillane (0-2 each).
DR CROKES: S Murphy ; J Payne, M Moloney , F Fitzgerald; G White , A O’Sullivan. D O’Leary; A O’Donovan, J Buckley; D Casey. G O’Shea, B Looney; C Cooper, K O’Leary, E Brosnan
Subs: M Burns for A O’Sullivan (half-time), L Quinn for D O’Leary (48), J Kiely for G O’Shea (48), M Milner for E Brosnan (56), P J Lawlor for A O’Donovan (58), and T Brosnan for K O’Leary (59).
KENMARE DISTRICT: K Fitzgibbon (Kenmare); D Crowley (Kenmare), G Crowley (Templenoe), K O’Neill ( Templenoe); P Clifford ( Templenoe), D O’Shea (Kenmare), J Spillane ( Templenoe) ; T Morley (Templenoe), P O’Shea ( Tuosist); S O’Shea (Kenmare), A Spillane (Templenoe), T Doyle (Templenoe) ; S O’Brien(Kenmare), P O’Connor ( Kenmare), K Spillane ( Templenoe).
Subs: K O’Sullivan ( Kenmare) for P Clifford ( 28), F O’Sullivan (Tousist) for P O’Shea ( h/t), M Crowley for J Spillane ( h/t),P Spillane S O’Shea (55 mins), S O’Leary for T Doyle (60 mins),
Referee: B Griffin (Clounmacon)
Dr Crokes and Kenmare District contest the Garvey’s Supervalu Senior Football Championship Final
All roads lead to Killarney’s Fitzgerald Stadium on Sunday next when Dr Crokes and Kenmare District contest the Garvey’s Supervalu Senior County Football Championship Final.
It’s a unique pairing in many ways. Dr Crokes, having contested five finals on the trot between 2009 and 2013, winning 4 in-a-row, will feel that is something of an eternity since they last contested a final while on the other hand, the District side are appearing in their first county final since 1987. Indeed if we have even half the drama of twenty seven years ago, then we are in for a treat. On that occasion the final went to a replay and extra time that had a dramatic ending when Eugen McCarthy blasted the ball to the Dr Crokes net to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
There is no doubt that Dr Crokes have been the form team throughout the year with the one bit of a blip coming at the hands of Tralee rivals Austin Stacks in the Club Championship Final. They had a good run to the final defeating West Kerry well in their opening game before just getting the better of St Kierans in Round 2. In the quarter finals against Kerins O’Rahillys they were probably more convincing winners than the five points winning margin might suggest while on Sunday last they got a good test of their well-being from Dingle before coming good in the final ten minutes or so.
Kenmare District have certainly been a breath of fresh air to this year’s championship and no doubt the current well-being of the game, particularly in Kenmare and Templenoe, is reflected in the performances of the District side. They had good wins over St Brendans and Legion in the opening rounds and then made people stand up and take notice when defeating many people’s favourites for the title, Austin Stacks, in the quarter finals. Last Sunday they got a right test of their character from Rathmore before escaping with victory by the minimum margin in a 39 point shoot-out.
The scene is set for an intriguing battle on Sunday.
Dr Crokes will bring a wealth of experience into the game with the likes on Colm Cooper, Eoin Brosnan, Brian Looney, Daithí Casey and Kieran O’Leary showing the way for young players such as Shane Murphy, Gavn White, Gavin O’Shea and Tony Brosnan. All of that adds up to a nice blend of youth and experience that any manager would be eager to be in charge of.
By contrast, Kenmare are a very young side all round who play with a youthful enthusiasm that has endeared them to many football followers throughout the county this year. Though young in years, many of them have tasted success either at county or club level in recent years and the likes of Tadhg Morley, Paul O’Connor and Stephen O’Brien have emerged as real leaders this Summer.
Sunday’s encounter promises to be an intriguing battle and when you throw in the fact that the captaincy of the Kerry team is at stake, then it surely adds up to a game that should not be missed.
A Dr Crokes victory would see them represent Kerry in the Munster Club Championship against Cratloe or Kilmurray/Ibrickane of Clare on the weekend of October 30th while a win for the Divisional side would see Austin Stacks go forward as winners of the Senior Club Championship.