Three key battles for Dr Crokes v St Finbarr’s
There is certainly greater depth to the Barrs’ panel this year. With Colm Scully and Eoghan Mcgreevey stepping up to become first-team regulars it means that starters from last year are now available to be sprung when required. Ray Keane was able to bring in the experienced Glen O’connor at half-time in the county final; Eoghan Finn kicked 1-1 when introduced in the second half, while another replacement Colm Barrett was also among the scorers. For all that, however, they do not have the luxury of being able to leave a player as decorated as Colm Cooper on the bench and then introduce him after half-time.
A key factor in St Finbarr’s Cork final victory was the second-half display of Ian Maguire. Tomorrow, the Barrs’ midfield general has Johnny Buckley for company, not to mind Daithí Casey and deep-sitting halfforward Brian Looney orbiting his space. If Maguire is held then Barr’s will struggle.
In the wake of Declan Murphy’s leg break, John Kerins has been very much thrown in at the deep end; this Munster semi-final represents only his third start as goalkeeper for the club’s senior team. Such is the strength of the Crokes’ middle third, Kerins’ kick-outs, and ability to find a blue shirt with each restart, will come under scrutiny. In last year’s Munster semi-final at Lewis Road, Crokes’ 15-point winning margin was heavily tied to the dominance of Ambrose O’donovan and Johnny Buckley under the Kilmurry/ibrickane kick-outs. Crokes’ goalkeeper Shane Murphy will be hoping for a somewhat better outing than last week where he struggled, at times, to find a black and amber shirt in the first-half against Moyle Rovers.
Words: Eoghan Cormican