O’Rahillys stun the cham­pi­ons

The Kerryman (Tralee Edition) - - SPORT - PAUL BREN­NAN

Kerins O’Rahillys 3-18 Dr Crokes 2-17

UN­QUES­TION­ABLY the shock re­sult of the week­end, and even more so given the man­ner in which Kerins O’Rahilly beat but cru­cially not de­throned - the county cham­pi­ons in a re­mark­able come from way be­hind win on Sun­day. With 50 of the reg­u­la­tion 60 min­utes elapsed one would have mort­gaged Fitzger­ald Sta­dium it­self and staked it on Dr Crokes to win this Round 2A con­test as they led by nine points. Af­ter all, there’s hardly a club team in the coun­try bet­ter than Crokes at hold­ing on to a lead and see­ing out a match with their clin­i­cal pos­ses­sion game. And with all due re­spect to O’Rahillys, even though they had played well up to that point, they hardly looked like the team that was go­ing to make an real dent into a nine­point team against a team such as Crokes.

But in just seven minute the Tralee club had wiped out Dr Crokes 2-15 to 0-12 lead to make it 2-16 apiece by the 59th minute, and four min­utes later they were three points ahead thanks to Karl Mullins 63rd minute goal that hit Crokes like a hay-maker as the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons reeled and rocked and fi­nally hit the can­vas. Of course, they are down but not out - they play An Ghaeltacht in Round 3 this Sun­day back at the same venue - but now ev­ery other team left in the cham­pi­onship know Dr Crokes are fal­li­ble and beat­able and stung.

In the week that Kieran Don­aghy an­nounced his re­tire­ment from in­ter-county foot­ball it was his former ‘twin tower’ part­ner, Tommy Walsh, who wreaked havoc on the Dr Crokes de­fence, hit­ting them for two goals in as many min­utes to get the come­back un­der­way.

The cham­pi­ons had stunned O’Rahillys for two goals mid­way through the first half, which threat­ened to re­duce this con­test to a pro­ces­sion for the Kil­lar­ney team, and with a ten-point half time lead it would have taken a brave - or stupid per­son to pre­dict any­thing other than a com­fort­able Crokes win.

O’Rahillys had played well in the first quar­ter, with David Moran, Barry John Keane and Jack Sav­age show­ing their in­ter-county pedi­gree, and af­ter 14 min­utes the teams were level, 0-4 each.

Young David Shaw was the star turn in the Dr Crokes at­tack at that stage, and af­ter scor­ing two points he then set up Kieran O’Leary and John Buck­ley to point Crokes into a 0-6 to 0-4 lead. Brian Looney then fin­ished off a slick Crokes move to score a goal and barely sixth sec­onds later Looney set up Shaw for a sec­ond goal and sud­denly and omi­nously the cham­pi­ons were 2-6 to 0-4 clear and coast­ing.

Shane Mur­phy had to be alert to touch a Keane shot on the post but there was lit­tle to sug­gest that O’Rahillys could over­turn the 2-10 to 0-6 lead Crokes en­joyed at the in­ter­val.

A cou­ple of early scores from Keane and Sav­age gave O’Rahillys a glim­mer of hope, with

Walsh mov­ing into the full for­ward po­si­tion to give the Tralee men a fo­cal point and tar­get closer to the goal. Sav­age and Keane traded scores with Colm Cooper and O’Leary, but when Micheal Burns’ point made it 2-15 to 0-12 in the 50th min­utes any O’Rahillys sup­port­ers head­ing for an early exit back to Tralee couldn’t re­ally have been blamed. If they did, how­ever, they missed the come­back of the sea­son.

Sub­sti­tute Tom Hoare teed up Walsh for a close-range goal and two min­utes later the former AFL foot­baller re­acted quick­est to Sav­age’s free kick com­ing down off the post to smash the ball past Mur­phy and make it a four-point game. From there on it was a blue tsunami that hit the cham­pi­ons. Points from Sav­age, Keane (2) and Ross O’Cal­laghan made it 2-16 apiece as the game slipped past the 60th minute mark be­fore Mullins stole for­ward to palm the ball over the line for his team’s third goal.

Daithi Casey got a point back and John Payne slashed the ball wide the O’Rahillys goal as O’Rahillys lost Sav­age to a yel­low/black card dis­missal, but the Tralee side fin­ished strong with scores from Cor­mac Cof­fey and Walsh to com­plete a re­mark­able 13-point turn­around in the last 15 min­utes and send O’Rahilly straight to the quar­ter-fi­nals.

KERINS O’RAHILLYS: Gary Kis­sane, Danny O’Sul­li­van, Ross O’Cal­laghan (0-1), Dar­ragh McEl­lig­ott, Cor­mac Cof­fey (0-1), Ryan Car­roll, Karl Mullins (1-0), David Moran, Con Bar­rett, Gavin O’Brien (0-1), Tommy Walsh (2-2), Cian Say­ers, Barry John Keane (0-6), Jack Sav­age (0-6; 4f, 1 ‘45’), John Ferguson. Subs: Shane Bros­nan for D McEl­lig­ott (25), Tom Hoare for C Say­ers (48), Gearoid Sav­age for J Ferguson (50), David Mur­phy for D O’Sul­li­van (53), John C O’Con­nor for C Bar­rett (55).

DR CROKES: Shane Mur­phy, John Payne, Michael Moloney, Fionn Fitzger­ald, David O’Leary, Alan O’Sul­li­van, Shane Doolan, Johnny Buck­ley (0-1), Daithi Casey (0-2; 1f), Micheal Burns (0-4), Gavin O’Shea, Brian Looney (1-1), Colm Cooper (0-3f), Kieran O’Leary (0-4), David Shaw (1-2). Subs: Gavin White for D O’Leary (43), Michael Potts for G O’Shea (50), Paul Clarke for D Shaw (55).

REF­EREE: Jonathan Grif­fin (Glen­beigh-Glen­car)

Colm Cooper, Dr Crokes, is chased by Con Bar­rett and Cian Say­ers Kerins O’Rahilly’s in the County SFC in Fitzger­ald Sta­dium, Kil­lar­ney. Photo by Michelle Cooper Galvin

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