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Dublin: 21 °C Wednesday 15 August, 2018
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The London footballer who returned to triumph in Munster with Dr Crokes

Mike Moloney savoured Sunday’s win over Cratloe at the Gaelic Grounds.

Michael Moloney and Ambrose Donovan lift the cup for Crokes
Michael Moloney and Ambrose Donovan lift the cup for Crokes
Image: INPHO/Donall Farmer

TWO YEARS AGO the London footballers made a major breakthrough in Ruislip.

An All-Ireland qualifier win over Fermanagh granted them their first senior championship win since 1977.

Anchoring their defence that day was Michael ‘Smiler’ Moloney, an All-Ireland U21 winner with Kerry in 2008 and a player who had flirted with the Kingdom senior squad during Jack O’Connor’s reign.

The search for employment took Moloney to London and while he stayed kicking ball, there were pangs of regret as he watched his club Dr Crokes win county and Munster senior medals in 2011.

He returned home and last year was in the team when Dr Crokes retained their provincial title against Castlehaven. On Sunday he was  in action in the Gaelic Grounds as they completed the three-in-a-row, crowning a difficult season that has seen him bothered by an ankle injury.

“It’s been a tough year”, admitted Moloney. “I was out for a few months. But these are the days that you want to play in. It’s not too often you get to a Munster final with your club and it’s for days like this I came back. You have to make these days count. You don’t know what’s around the corner.”

Skipper

Moloney was the captain who lifted the cup alongside Ambrose O’Donovan after a pulsating match where Johnny Buckley’s late point nicked the spoils for Dr Crokes.

A 2013 season that began on a low note with an All-Ireland semi-final loss to Ballymun Kickhams in February finished off on Sunday in style. Now Dr Crokes are looking forward again to the prospect of scratching their itch on the national stage.

“It felt a million miles away when we lost at the start of the year to Ballymun”, admitted Moloney. “But a Munster final is where you want to be. Without jumping ahead of ourselves, that was our goal.

“We took it one game at a time and we got to where we wanted to be now. Castlebar were impressive against St Brigid’s. We didn’t look too much at it as we were focusing on Cratloe. But I’m sure over Christmas and the New Year, we’ll see plenty of them.”

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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