O’Rahillys stun the champions
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