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Cooper cameo helps Crokes to hard-fought title as South Kerry rue missed chances

The Killarney side came out on top in an entertaining decider.

Dr Crokes' Dáithí Casey with the cup after the game.
Dr Crokes' Dáithí Casey with the cup after the game.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Kerry SFC Final

Dr Crokes 0-17

South Kerry 1-12

Paul Brennan reports from Austin Stack Park, Tralee

DR CROKES WERE pushed to every sinew of their collective fibre to retain their Kerry SFC title with a two-point win over South Kerry, themselves looking to regain the title they last won just two years ago.

The drama in Tralee started before the throw-in with news of Colm Cooper’s late withdrawal from the Dr Crokes team through injury, and the excitement never abated from there to the 64th minute when Kieran O’Leary punched over the insurance score to claim a 12th county title for the Killarney club.

South Kerry battled gamely throughout – and would have fancied their chances of victory when Johnny Buckley was sent off in the 48th minute for a black card offence on top of an earlier yellow.

Dr Crokes led by a point at that stage but South Kerry were building momentum, with Bryan Sheehan and Brendan O’Sullivan driving them on from midfield. However, the divisional team squandered chance after chance throughout, and will ultimately rue too many wides and a wasted scoring opportunities.

There were early signs of the ding-dong battle ahead when Brendan O’Sullivan drew a flying save from Crokes keeper Shane Murphy after just 25 seconds, and the tempo never dipped thereafter. Bryan Sheehan converted a 45 to give South Kerry the early lead, but two great points under pressure from O’Leary put Crokes in front and they held that lead all the way to the half-time break.

Cooper’s replacement, Tony Brosnan, saw his 15th minute shot deflected over the bar to put Crokes 0-5 to 0-2 ahead, and South Kerry keeper Padraig O’Sullivan had to be alert to tip Daithi Casey’s shot over the bar in the 19th minute as the champions edged 0-6 to 0-3 ahead.

Man-of-the-match winner Gavin White stormed forward to kick Dr Crokes into a four-point lead but then a defensive error from Crokes saw substitute Ian Galvin score the half’s only goal to bring the divisional side right back into the game.

Dr Crokes scored four of the last seven points of the half to get to the break 0-11 to 1-6 ahead but it was clear they were up against their toughest opponent and biggest test of the championship thus far.

Colm Cooper shakes hands with Mark Griffin Colm Cooper shakes hands with Mark Griffin of South Kerry. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Buckley’s dismissal shifted the initiative toward South Kerry for the final quarter but they could never get their noses in front on the scoreboard; indeed, they never led after O’Leary had cancelled out Sheehan’s opener in the fifth minute.

Cooper and Jordan Kiely joined the Crokes attack in the 42nd minute, and while Cooper’s contribution was subdued, Kiely kicked a fine point in the 56th minute to keep Crokes 0-15 to 1-10 ahead. Late scores from Ronan Hussey and Sheehan (free) kept South Kerry in the hunt but Crokes held on to retain their title despite a late black card for Mike Moloney.

The champions have little time to rest on this win as they start the defence of their Munster Club title against Clonmel Commercials next Sunday in Tipperary.

Scorers

Dr Crokes: Dáithí Casey 0-5 (2f), Micheal Burns 0-4, Kieran O’Leary 0-4, Tony Brosnan 0-2, Gavin White 0-1, Jordan Kiely 0-1

South Kerry: Bryan Sheehan 0-7 (2f, 1’45′), Ian Galvin 1-0, Paul O’Donoghue 0-2,  Brendan O’Sullivan 0-1, Conor O’Shea 0-1, Ronan Hussey 0-1

Dr Crokes

1. Shane Murphy

2. John Payne

3. Michael Moloney

4. Luke Quinn

5. David O’Leary

6. Fionn Fitzgerald

7. Gavin White

8. Johnny Buckley

9. Alan O’Sullivan

10. Micheal Burns

11. Gavin O’Shea

12. Brian Looney

22. Tony Brosnan

14. Daithi Casey

15. Kieran O’Leary

Subs

13. Colm Cooper for G O’Shea (42)

26. Jordan Kiely for T Brosnan (42)

20. Shane Doolan for D O’Leary (53)

24. Paul Clarke for M Burns (57)

18. Ambrose O’Donovan for M Moloney (b/c, 61)

27. Eoin Brosnan for B Looney (64)

South Kerry

1. Pádraig O’Sullivan (Skellig Rangers)

2. Brian Sugrue (Renard)

3. Mark Griffin (St Michaels/Foilmore)

4. Fionan Clifford (Waterville)

5. Paul O’Sullivan (Valentia)

6. John Curran (Valentia)

7. Robert Wharton (Renard)

8. Bryan Sheehan (St Marys)

9. Brendan O’Sullivan (Valentia)

10. Conor O’Shea (St Marys)

11. Paul O’Donoghue (St Marys)

12. Graham O’Sullivan (Dromid Pearses)

17. Niall O’Shea (Dromid Pearses)

14. Matthew O’Sullivan (St Michaels/Foilmore)

15. Daniel Daly (St Marys)

Subs

19. Ian Galvin (Sneem/Derrynane) for D Daly (inj, 13)

25. Denis Daly (St Marys) for N O’Shea (34)

18. Oran Clifford (Waterville) for J Curran (37)

13. Ronan Hussey (Sneem/Derrynane) for M O’Sullivan (46)

21. Chris Farley (Dromid Pearses) for I Galvin (61)

Referee: Brendan Griffin (Clounmacon)

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About the author:

Paul Brennan

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