Crokes hold off O’Rahillys to retain County SFL title
COUNTY SFL DIVISION 1 FINAL
MAYBE almost processional encounters in this decider in recent years made us unenthused in advance. However, both Dr Crokes and Kerins O’Rahillys certainly did much to add some value to this fixture last Sunday in Lewis Road as the identity of the team County Treasurer Weeshie Lynch would be presenting the rather large Division One Shield to needed extra-time before it was eventually known.
A lot of what made this game appealing was the way Strand Road approached it. They genuinely went at Crokes in their home ground and maybe the lack of a competitive fixture since they beat Stacks in the Tralee Board Final at the start of number was the only thing that came against them in the end. The game had elements of the two County Championship encounters between the sides this year, the strong start O’Rahillys made to the Semi-Final and the strong and surprise finish to the Round 2A game they won. Gavin O’Brien tore through for an early goal again, this time after his initial shot had been blocked as the visitors opened with 1-3 before Daithi Casey got Crokes on the board in the 12th minute.
Prior to that there were some ructions. Crokes captain John Payne shown a straight red card by Jonathon Griffin in the sixth minute following consultation with his umpire Sean Joy after an incident with Jack Savage. The decision was the precursor to Crokes manager Pat O’Shea losing his cool as two minutes later when play was over at the other side of the pitch, Griffin sent O’Shea into the terrace behind the Crokes dugout after Crokes were eventually awarded a free by the referee. Despite these setbacks, Crokes regrouped in the 19th minute when they were awarded a penalty for a foul on
Colm Cooper which
Casey converted at the second time of asking past Gary Kissane for a deficit of 1-4 to 1-2.
Both Casey and Micheal Burns had Crokes level at 1-5 apiece after 27 minutes. Tony Brosnan would put them ahead for the first time in the second minute of additional time as a sweeping move involving Johnny Buckley and Kieran O’Leary led to a goal for Burns that appeared to give Crokes a four-point lead at half-time. Cormac Coffey played a high ball into Tommy Walsh however and the Strand Road full-forward slotted home to make it 2-6 to 2-5 at the end of an amazing opening period. The Tralee side came out with the same vigour as their start to the first period as Shane Murphy needed to make a double save to stop O’Rahillys starting off another period strongly. A Jack Savage free in the 38th minute was their only score until the last 10 minutes however as their selector Mark Fitzgerald was also banished to the terrace by Griffin. Crokes started slotting over points despite their numerical disadvantage, substitute Jordan
Kiely putting them ahead by
2-13 to 2-6 after 51 minutes. Then, from seemingly nowhere like back in September came another Strand Road flurry!
Savage and Barry John Keane had points before Strand Road were awarded a penalty that seemed inevitable but uncertain until it was given. Savage slotted the ball past Shane Murphy to make it 2-13 to 3-8 after 58 minutes with Crokes punished for trying to play possession football by Coffey and eventually Keane in third minute of injury time in levelling the scores up. Tony Brosnan still had a chance to win if for Crokes but the free went wide as extra-time would somehow be needed to decide the outcome. The hosts rejigged their forward line in going back up to the full 15 as points for O’Leary, Casey and Brian Looney (his second) made it 2-16 to 3-10 after the first period. Two Jack Savage frees, bringing his total to 1-8 in all, were all Strand Road could score in extra-time as a calming point from substitute Mark O’Shea did much to send Crokes on to a five-point win.
The otherwise impressive Jason Lyne was black carded midway through the second additional period, but his side had still done enough to win the County League title for the fourth consecutive year and sixth time this decade.
DR CROKES: Shane Murphy; John Payne, Eoin Brosnan, Michael Potts; David O’Leary, Gavin White, Jason Lyne; Johnny Buckley, Daithi Casey (1-4, 3f); Micheal Burns (1-4), Gavin O’Shea (0-1), Brian Looney (0-2); Colm Cooper (0-2), Kieran O’Leary (0-1), T Brosnan (0-4, 1f). Subs: Brian Fitzgerald for David O’Leary, Jordan Kiely (0-1) for Kieran O’Leary, Shane Doolan for O’Shea, Alan O’Sullivan for Burns, Kieran O’Leary for Cooper, Micheal Burns for Doolan, Gavin O’Shea for Payne, Mark O’Shea (0-1) for Gavin O’Shea, Shane Doolan for Eoin Brosnan, David Naughton for Lyne (black card).
KERINS O’RAHILLYS: Gary Kissane; Danny O’Sullivan, Ross O’Callaghan, David Murphy; Rory Carroll, Cormac Coffey (0-1), Darragh McElligott; Gavin O’Brien (1-0), David Moran; Karl Mullins, Tommy Walsh (1-0), BJ Keane (0-3); Jack Savage (1-8; 0-6f), Tom Hoare, John Ferguson. Subs: Gearóid Savage for Ferguson, Gearóid Dillane for Mullins, Karl Mullins for Carroll, Jason O’Leary for McElligott.
REF: Jonathon Griffin (Glenbeigh/Glencar)
Weeshie Lynch, left, presenting the Division One Shield to Dr Crokes captain Johnny Buckley with Ger Galvin, on behalf of the Credit Union, presenting with the Man of the Match award after the County SFL Division 1 final at Lewis Road, Killarney on Sunday. Photo by Michelle Cooper Galvin