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Friday 3 February 2023 Dublin: 10°C
INPHO/Donall Farmer Colm Cooper of Crokes is sent off by referee Conor Lane.
# Champions
Cooper sent-off as Dr Crokes survive Cratloe challenge to win Munster crown
Johnny Buckley hit the match-winning point at the Gaelic Grounds as Dr Crokes completed a provincial three-in-a-row.

Dr Crokes 0-13
Cratloe 0-12

JOHNNY BUCKLEY WAS the hero with the match-winning point in today’s AIB Munster SFC club final as Dr Crokes overcame the sending-off of Colm Cooper and a second-half Cratloe revival at the Gaelic Grounds.

Dr Crokes made history in collecting their third successive provincial title – only the second club after Cork’s Nemo Rangers to do so – but only after surviving a huge scare against their Banner opponents. The favorites at the staggering odds of 1/33 before the game, Dr Crokes were seven points up at half-time but were outplayed in the second-half.

Their star man Colm Cooper was sent-off with six minutes left after a tackle on Clare hurler Conor McGrath saw him shown a second yellow card by referee Conor Lane. At that stage Dr Crokes looked in serious trouble.

A minute later Cratloe looked to have completed their second-half fight back as they went ahead by 0-12 to 0-11 after Cathal McInerney tapped over a close-range free when Brian Looney was judged to have picked the ball off the ground. Cratloe, who only won their first Clare senior title this year, looked to be on the brink of history but 14-man Dr Crokes showed serious nerve in the finale.

Daithi Casey kept calm to nail a free that tied the teams before a patient passing movement in injury-time across the pitch lead to Ambrose O’Donovan feeding Johnny Buckley and the Kerry senior swept over the winning point.

There was one late scoring chance for Cratloe but McInerney, under serious defensive pressure, saw his point effort from the wing drop short and Dr Crokes were able to clear to safety. The final whistle sounded soon after and the Killarney club were celebrating as they looked forward to an All-Ireland semi-final meeting with Mayo’s Castlebar Mitchels next February.

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The Dr Crokes team celebrate with supporters
Pic: INPHO/Donall Farmer

Heartbreak

It was heartbreak for Cratloe after their terrific second-half play. With seven members of Clare’s All-Ireland winning squad in their ranks, they almost crowned a memorable 2013 season for the Banner but just fell short.

Managed by new Clare senior boss Colm Collins, it was Cratloe who started brightest as they lead by 0-2 to 0-0 after 4 minutes thanks to points from Enda Boyce and Sean Chaplin. But they didn’t score for another 26 minutes in the opening period with Liam Markham pointing just before the interval.

That was to prove costly as Dr Crokes gained control and dominated the game. They reeled off ten points without reply with Colm Cooper, Alan O’Sullivan and Kieran O’Leary in excellent form in attack while Fionn Fitzgerald came up from defence to knock over a quality score.

Dr Crokes lead by 0-10 to 0-3 at the break and their route to a third successive Munster crown looked straightforward. But Cratloe emerged a changed side in the second-half with Cathal McInerney and Conor McGrath showing signs of their threat as they shared three points between them.

Brian Looney made it 0-11 to 0-6 in Dr Crokes favour in the 42nd minute but with Cillian Duggan, Conor Ryan and Fergal Lynch giving Cratloe a grip around the middle and Podge Collins, McGrath and McInerney sparkling in attack, the game turned the way of the Clare champions.

Lynch pointed, McInerney notched a brace from play and then Sean Collins tied the game. Cooper was sent-off, McInerney put Cratloe ahead and a massive shock looked on the cards at the Limerick venue.

But Dr Crokes showed what they are worth to chisel out a triumph with Casey and Buckley popping up with those priceless points. Their All-Ireland club dreams remain intact as they are the Munster kingpins again.

Scorers for Dr Crokes: Colm Cooper 0-4 (0-1f), Daithi Casey (0-1f), Brian Looney, Alan O’Sullivan 0-2 each, Fionn Fitzgerald, Kieran O’Leary, Johnny Buckley 0-1 each.

Scorers for Cratloe: Cathal McInerney 0-5 (0-2f), Conor McGrath 0-2, Enda Boyce (0-1f), Sean Chaplin, Liam Markham, Fergal Lynch, Sean Collins 0-1 each.

DR CROKES: David Moloney; Kieran Ward, Fionn Fitzgerald, John Payne; Luke Quinn, Eoin Brosnan, Mike Moloney; Ambrose O’Donovan, Johnny Buckley; Alan O’Sullivan, Daithi Casey, Brian Looney; Kieran O’Leary, Colm Cooper, Gavin O’Shea.

Subs: Micheal Burns for O’Shea (45), David O’Leary for Ward (48), Shane Doolan for Quinn (58).

CRATLOE: Pierce De Loughery, David Ryan, Barry Duggan, Sean Chaplin; Martin Óg Murphy, Michael Hawes, Enda Boyce; Fergal Lynch, Conor Ryan; Sean Collins, Podge Collins, Liam Markham; Cathal McInerney, Cillian Duggan, Conor McGrath.

Referee: Conor Lane (Cork)

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