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Colm Cooper leads from the front as Dr Crokes book Munster final date

Crokes are back in the provincial decider after seeing off Loughmore-Castleiney in a heated clash.

Cooper set his side on the way with a first-half goal.
Cooper set his side on the way with a first-half goal.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Dr Crokes 1-12
Loughmore-Castleiney 0-9

Paul Brennan reports from Killarney 

THREE YEARS AFTER they last appeared in it, Dr Crokes are back in the Munster club championship final after seeing off the stern challenge of Tipperary champions Loughmore-Castleiney in benign conditions in Killarney.

The Kerry side hardly justified their overwhelming pre-match favouritism as they struggled to impose their greater talents on the contest, with Colm Cooper’s seventh minute goal all there was to separate the teams at half time.

That sublime score, set up by Kieran O’Leary’s perfect pass and executed with typical Cooper precision, made it 1-5 to 0-5 at the interval, but neither side would have been overly pleased with their opening 30 minutes.

Loughmore-Castleiney opted for a fairly packed defence and counter-attacking on the break in the first half, and it paid reasonable dividends, but a couple of decent goal chances went a begging while Crokes were that little bit more economical in front of goal, even though they registered five first-half wides.

Johnny Buckley and John Ryan Johnny Buckley grapples for possession with John Ryan. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

It was 1-0 to 0-3 after 12 minutes and 1-3 to 0-3 after 24 minutes when stand-in referee James Bermingham didn’t play an advantage to Loughmore-Castleiney when Brian McGrath was put through one on one with Shane Murphy.

Liam McGrath converted the free, before Cooper and Gavin White hit Crokes points and John McGrath’s score made it a three-point game at the break.

Liam Treacy’s point from the throw-in settled the visitors, but five minutes later – at 1-7 to 0-7 – Treacy picked up a black card for a harsh looking body collision with White.

Six minutes later Fionn Fitzgerald’s black card was much more clear-cut, a needless body-check on Noel McGrath saw the Kerry county man walk.

It was symptomatic of Crokes’ growing frustration with their own lack of fluency and accuracy as much as with Loughmore-Castleiney’s defiance.

Cooper and Daithi Casey (free) stretched Crokes’ lead to five points and it was clear that the Tipp champions needed a goal to rescue a result.

It never materialised as the game became more fractured and niggly, with Tomás McGrath getting a second yellow and red card in the 57th minute.

Pat O’Shea Dr Crokes manager Pat O'Shea. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

The visitors were then reduced to 13 in additional time when John Ryan was booked a second time and he too was sent off.

Heated post-match discussion, then, in the Dr Crokes huddle as they picked over the deficiencies in this performance, but they will regroup for a Munster final in two weeks against Waterford’s The Nire.

Dr Crokes scorers: Colm Cooper (1-3, 0-1f), Daithi Casey (0-2f), Gavin White (0-1), Johnny Buckley (0-1), Gavin O’Shea (0-1), Brian Looney (0-1), Eoin Brosnan (0-1), Jordan Kiely (0-1), Tony Brosnan (0-1).

Loughmore-Castleiney scorers: Liam McGrath (0-6f), Joseph Hennessy (0-1), John McGrath (0-1), Liam Treacy (0-1).

Dr Crokes

1. Shane Murphy

2. John Payne
3. Michael Moloney
4. Fionn Fitzgerald

5. Gavin White
6. Alan O’Sullivan
7. David O’Leary

8. Ambrose O’Donovan
9. Johnny Buckley

10. Daithi Casey
11. Gavin O’Shea
12. Brian Looney

13. Colm Cooper
14. Kieran O’Leary
15. Eoin Brosnan

Dr Crokes supporters cheer on their team Dr Crokes supporters cheer on their team. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Subs

Micheal Burns for B Looney (35, black card)
Luke Quinn for F Fitzgerald (42, black card)
Jordan Kiely for G O’Shea (49)
Tony Brosnan for J Buckley (54)
Mike Milner for A O’Donovan (59)
Bryan O’Shea for K O’Leary (60)

Loughmore-Castleiney

1. Dominic Brennan

2. Lorcan Egan
3. John Meagher
4. Tomás McGrath

5. John Ryan
6. Ciaran McGrath
7. Joseph Hennessy

8. Noel McGrath
9. John McGrath

10. Brian McGrath
11. Liam Treacy
12. Aidan McGrath

13. Liam McGrath
14. Evan Sweeney
15. Willie Eviston

Subs

David Kennedy for L Treacy (36, black card)
Eamon Connolly for B McGrath (57)
Tommy Maher for E Sweeney (57)

Referee: James Bermingham (Cork)

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About the author:

Paul Brennan

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