Kil­macud Crokes edge past Port­laoise

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Front Page -

Dr Crokes 1-21 St Joseph’s M’town 2-9

Mun­ster masters Dr Crokes com­fort­ably kept ap­pren­tices St Joseph’s Mil­town at arm’s length to com­plete a fifth Mun­ster ti­tle this decade at the Gaelic Grounds yes­ter­day.

In what was their sev­enth fi­nal ap­pear­ance in nine years, the vast ex­pe­ri­ence of the Kil­lar­ney side was de­ci­sive in halt­ing the chal­lenge of Clare’s provin­cial fi­nal debu­tants, high­lighted by their 10 dif­fer­ent scor­ers over the hour. Mil­town Mal­bay craved a good start to put it up to the Kerry king­pins but were left chas­ing the game in vain after the Crokes blazed into a nine-point lead in­side the open­ing 12 min­utes.

De­spite the in­evitabil­ity of the re­sult long be­fore the fi­nal whis­tle, Dr Crokes se­lec­tor Vince Casey was ap­pre­cia­tive of the club’s first provin­cial crown since 2016: “It means a huge amount, I mean to win five out of seven fi­nals since 2010 is a phe­nom­e­nal achieve­ment. This bunch of play­ers have shown an in­cred­i­ble com­mit­ment and de­sire to come back any time they have faced ad­ver­sity in that pe­riod. After last year’s fi­nal de­feat to Nemo [Rangers], it would have been easy for some guys to hang up their boots but not this group so it’s great to come back and win the ti­tle to­day.”

De­ter­mi­na­tion

Their de­ter­mi­na­tion was clear from the out­set as David Shaw’s third-minute goal ini­ti­ated a 1-6 rally that saw Gavin O’Shea, Daithí Casey, goal­keeper Shane Mur­phy, Tony Bros­nan and Kieran O’Leary all get in on the scor­ing ac­tion.

St Joseph’s Mil­town fi­nally set­tled with an Oisín Looney goal in the se­cond quar­ter to lower the gap to five but de­spite that wel­come boost, the Crokes al­ways seemed able to re­spond. Kevin Keavey opened the west Clare side’s ac­count in the 13th minute but even with Looney’s goal six min­utes later, Dr Crokes stayed in con­trol. Points from Casey, Brian Looney and Bros­nan equalled scores from Clare se­niors Eoin Cleary and Kieran Mal­one to take a 1-10 to 1-4 lead at half-time.

The Kerry cham­pi­ons kicked four of the first five points of the new half through Bros­nan, Micheál Burns, Casey and a goal op­por­tu­nity for Looney that just cleared the cross­bar on their way to restor­ing a nine-point cush­ion by the 38th minute at 1-15 to 1-5. Mil­town Mal­bay never low­ered their heads but three times over the next 10 min­utes, points from his twin brother Eoin, Enda O’Gor­man and Dar­ragh McDon­agh were matched by Bros­nan, O’Leary and Johnny Buck­ley be­fore Dr Crokes turned the screw in the fi­nal quar­ter. Four of the next five points – two from Bros­nan – would carve out Crokes’ big­gest lead (1-21 to 1-9).

So while the Clare cham­pi­ons did raid for a con­so­la­tion goal through Dar­ragh McDon­agh, by that stage the Kerry cham­pi­ons were al­ready think­ing ahead to an All-Ire­land semi-fi­nal show­down with ei­ther St Columba’s Mul­li­nalaghta (Long­ford) or Kil­macud Crokes (Dublin).

David Shaw’s third-minute goal ini­ti­ated a 1-6 rally for Dr Crokes at the Gaelic Grounds

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