County SFC: It’s a Crokes and South Kerry fi­nal

The Kerryman (North Kerry) - - SPORT - JA­SON O’CON­NOR

AS a state­ment, de­fend­ing champions re­turn­ing to a County Fi­nal with a dou­ble score win and knock­ing five goals past their op­po­nents in the process is quite im­pres­sive. What’s maybe more im­pres­sive about Dr Crokes’ win last Saturday over West Kerry was how their younger con­tin­gent contributed off the bench and gave the Crokes man­age­ment some­thing to think about in their claims for places in fu­ture start­ing teams.

West Kerry were on a hid­ing to noth­ing in ad­vance con­sid­er­ing their op­po­nent’s might but they did the best they could in ask­ing a few ques­tions of Crokes at times.

Ja­son Hick­son found a way through after 23 sec­onds for the dis­trict side but it was to be the only time they led as the move for Crokes’ first goal in the ninth minute showed the dif­fer­ence be­tween the two sides. Eanna Ó Conchúir had squan­dered a promis­ing op­por­tu­nity for West Kerry two min­utes ear­lier but when Tony Bros­nan and Gavin O’Shea com­bined for Daithi Casey to power through for the game’s first goal and a lead of 1-2 to 0-1, the Kil­lar­ney side never looked back from there. Casey rat­tled the cross­bar in search of a sec­ond goal in the 21st minute but an in­jury to To­mas Ó Sé proved to be a set­back for West Kerry as Hick­son was dis­missed be­fore the break for a sec­ond yel­low card.

Crokes’ lead was 1-9 to 0-5 at the in­ter­val but any thoughts of a turn­around where dis­pelled three min­utes after the restart when a cer­tain Colm Cooper showed ex­tremely vig­i­lance and ruth­less­ness. Ob­serv­ing the fact ref­eree Bren­dan Grif­fin was bringing a free for­ward for dis­sent, Cooper sprinted to the 13 me­tre line and with only To­mas Mac an tSaoir to beat blasted past the West Kerry goal­keeper for a 10 point lead. The game lulled for a pe­riod, black cards to Fionn Fitzger­ald and Michael Moloney hardly both­ered Crokes with their dom­i­nance. How­ever the in­jec­tion of some young blood off the bench in the

form of Paul Clarke and Jor­dan Kiely in par­tic­u­lar raised their lev­els with a ‘45’ con­verted by Shane Mur­phy in the 42nd minute and the Crokes ‘keeper stop­ping West Kerry from close range at the other end.

Mac an tSaoir had done well to save from Clarke in the 48th minute but com­ing to­wards the end, the West Kerry de­fence wilted with the fresh legs of the Crokes, Clarke get­ting his goal with three min­utes of nor­mal time left. Jor­dan Kiely banged in a fur­ther two to bring Crokes’ win­ning mar­gin to 14 points on a day his fel­low 2014 All-Ire­land win­ning Mi­nor Micheal Burns im­pressed. John Payne and Gavin White had solid out­ings in the Crokes de­fence de­spite Dara Ó Sé and Sean M Ó Conchúir do­ing their best to keep West Kerry going in the face of such dom­i­nance by their op­po­nents. Crokes’ par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Mun­ster Se­nior Club Cham­pi­onship had al­ready been con­firmed in ad­vance with the de­feat of Kerins O’Rahillys by South Kerry but per­haps South Kerry it­self serves as the per­fect chal­lenge for the Crokes in ad­vance of going be­yond the county bounds.

De­spite ev­ery­thing they have achieved beat­ing South Kerry in a County Fi­nal re­mains the one thing they haven’t done and now they have the Andy Mer­ri­gan Cup in their pos­ses­sion they will feel they are in the right place now to get such a win over the side they have shared dom­i­nance of the County Cham­pi­onship with this Mil­len­nium. West Kerry mean­while had a solid out­ing this year in reach­ing the last four, more long-term as­sess­ment of their prospects can’t re­ally be how­ever un­til we see how An Gaeltacht fare out in the Intermediate Fi­nal.

DR Crokes: Shane Mur­phy (0-1, 1‘45’), John Payne, Fionn Fitzger­ald, David O’Leary, Michael Moloney, Alan O’Sul­li­van, Gavin White (0-1), Johnny Buck­ley (0-1), Daithí Casey (1-1), Micheál Burns (0-2), Gavin O’Shea, Brian Looney (0-2), Colm Cooper (1-3, 1-2f), Luke Quinn, Tony Bros­nan (0-2) Subs: Paul Clarke (1-0) for Looney, Shane Doolan for Fitzger­ald (Black Card), Am­brose O’Dono­van for Johnny Buck­ley, Ja­son Lyne for Moloney (Black Card), Jor­dan Kiely (2-0) for Cooper and David Shaw for O’Sul­li­van.

Colm Cooper scor­ing a great point against West Kerry in the County SFC semi-fi­nal in Fitzger­ald Sta­dium, Kil­lar­ney on Saturday. Photo by Michelle Cooper Galvin

West Kerry’s Cathal Ó Lúing is tack­led by Gavin White, Dr Crokes, in the County SFC semi-fi­nal in Fitzger­ald Sta­dium, Kil­lar­ney on Saturday. Photo by Michelle Cooper Galvin

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