Three key bat­tles for Dr Crokes v St Fin­barr’s

Irish Examiner - Sport - - GAA -

The bench

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.

Mid­field

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.

Res­tarts

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

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