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Cooper goal helps Dr Crokes end 25-year wait for All-Ireland title with win over Slaughtneil

The Derry champions finished with 14 men.

Colm Cooper Colm Cooper celebrates All-Ireland club final glory. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Dr Crokes
Slaughtneil 1-7

Fintan O’Toole reports from Croke Park

IT’S TAKEN THEM 25 years but Dr Crokes finally claimed another All-Ireland senior club football title today in Croke Park, with Colm Cooper striking home the first half goal that helped propel the Killarney club to victory against Slaughtneil.

Colm Cooper scores a goal Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

For the second time in three years, the Derry club ended up on the wrong side of the result in this decider.

They fought ferociously hard but being reduced to 14 men when midfielder Padraig Cassidy struck Kieran O’Leary off the ball in first-half injury time, was a huge setback.

Indeed that time frame before the interval was crucial as Dr Crokes kicked two excellent points courtesy of Brian Looney, to go in at the break ahead by 1-6 to 1-5.

Padraig Cassidy is red carded by Maurice Deegan Referee Maurice Deegan brandishes a red card to Pádraig Cassidy.

The second half was not easy on the eye but in a dour struggle Dr Crokes got the job done, a decade after losing out at this stage after a replay to Crossmaglen Rangers.

Having also lost three All-Ireland club semi-finals in a row, Dr Crokes were determined to end their run of heartbreak in this competition and they ground a two-point win, successfully retaining possession near the end to close out the match.

Johnny Buckley celebrates with the trophy after the game Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

The first half had been a far brighter affair with Slaughtneil taking the initiatve to go in front 1-4 to 0-3 by the 19th minute. The goal had arrived courtesy of Cassidy, running clear and cleverly sidestepping goalkeeper Shane Murphy before rolling the ball to the net.

Slaughtneil looked full of confidence with Shane McGuigan and Christopher Bradley also scoring some stylish points from play.

But Dr Crokes recovered with Cooper planting the ball in the net in the 22nd minute after a superb charging run up the pitch by Daithi Casey created the opening. That helped make amends for Gavin White drilling a shot wide earlier on for Dr Crokes when through on goal.

Looney and Casey fired over some brilliant points in the opening half while captain Johnny Buckley played his part as he contributed three important marks at midfield.

Being reduced to 14 men was a major blow for Slaughtneil but players like Brendan Rodgers, Chrissy McKaigue and Bradley did their best to drive them on.

Patsy Bradley dives in front of Michael Burns

Entering the final quarter they were only a point adrift, 1-7 to 1-6, but Dr Crokes young substitutes made an impact with Mícheál Burns lobbing over a point from a tight angle and Jordan Kiely winning a free that Cooper converted.

A 54th minute Paul Bradley free for Slaughtneil reduced the deficit to two points but they couldn’t get their hands on the ball in the closing stages.

Dr Crokes ran down the clock with man-of-the-match John Payne and midfielder Ambrose O’Donovan giving towering displays as the Killarney club were crowned champions.

Colm Cooper celebrates with manager Pat O'Shea at the final whistle Colm Cooper celebrates with manager Pat O'Shea at the final whistle Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Scorers for Dr Crokes: Colm Cooper 1-2 (0-2f), Daithi Casey (0-2f), Brian Looney 0-3 each, Mícheál Burns 0-1.

Scorers for Slaughtneil: Pádraig Cassidy 1-0, Paul Bradley 0-3 (0-3f), Christopher Bradley 0-2, Francis McEldowney, Shane McGuigan 0-1 each.

Dr Crokes

1. Shane Murphy

4. Luke Quinn
2. John Payne
3. Michael Moloney

5. David O’Leary
6. Gavin White
7. Fionn Fitzgearld

8. Ambrose O’Donovan
10. Johnny Buckley

9. Alan O’Sullivan
11. Gavin O’Shea
12. Brian Looney

15. Kieran O’Leary
14. Daithi Casey
13. Colm Cooper

Subs

17. Mícheal Burns for O’Sullivan (39)
22. Jordan Kiely for O’Shea (39)
20. Shane Doolan for David O’Leary (48)
19. Tony Brosnan for Looney (57)
28. Eoin Brosnan for Casey (62)
24. Christopher Brady for Kieran O’Leary (62)

Slaughtneil

1. Antoin McMullan

3. Brendan Rodgers
5. Paul McNeill
4. Karl McKaigue

7. Keelan Feeney
6. Chrissy McKaigue
2. Francis McEldowney

8. Patsy Bradley
9. Pádraig Cassidy

12. Meehaul McGrath
13. Christopher Bradley
10. Shane McGuigan

14. Sé McGuigan
15. Cormac O’Doherty
11. Paul Bradley

Subs

25. Brian Cassidy for O’Doherty (47)
21. Ronan Bradley for McGrath (52)
17. Barry McGuigan for Feeney (52)
20. Gerard Bradley for Sé McGuigan (54)

Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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