Crokes survive Cratloe scare to make it three Munsters in a row
DR Crokes remained the Munster Club senior football champions after retaining the provincial title and making it three championships in-a-row. But it was a close run thing. Far too close for comfort, in fact, as the Killarney men were pushed all the way by Clare underdogs Cratloe in a thrilling Munster Final.
The Clare champions – speckled with several of the county's All-Ireland winning hurlers – made a mockery of the bookies 1/50 odds for a Dr Crokes win, and came closer to any team in the Kerry county championship or in Munster as they almost pulled off what would have been the shock of the entire Club Championship.
By half-time everything was going according to plan as Crokes led by 0-10 to 0-3. Then the unthinkable began to happen. Cratloe – full of confidence and ability – began to pare away at the deficit. Six, five, four... until they were level and then led the champions through Cathal McInerney, who had an inspired second half. Colm Cooper had been sent off on a second yellow card and the three-in-a-row chasing Crokes looked beaten. But from deep down in their great well of experience and resolve they mustered a response. A Daithi Casey free levelled the game and then Johnny Buckley converted the winner in a breathless finish that made this third Munster title all the sweeter.
Elsewhere in the Club Championship seven Kerry man played their part with Kingdom Kerry Gaels who lost out to Ulster champions Ballinderry in a gripping All-Ireland Club SFC quarter-final by 3-9 to 2-7 in Ruislip.
Meanwhile, Keel kept Kerry's strong winning record in the Munster Club Junior Football Championship alive when they were comfortable 0-14 to 0-4 winners over Limerick side Feohanagh/Castlemahon in a one-sided Munster Final in Mallow.
Gary Sayers gave a masterful performance at wing forward, kicking six points for Keel, who had led by 0-5 to 0-2 at half time.
The win meant Keel became the ninth Kerry club in 11 years to win the Munster Junior club title.