DR Crokes slipped - quite easily and quite literally - into their third successive Munster Club football final after a comfortable 11-point win over a game but limited Clonmel Commercials team at a rain-soaked Lewis Road.
As the skies opened up over Killarney and dumped misery on the few hundred hardy souls who braved the Lewis Road venue, so too did the Kerry champions heap misery on their Tipperary counterparts as they outclassed and comprehensively outscored Clonmel on a day suitable only for ducks. Sometimes in the past Dr Crokes have been accused of being a fairweather team but on this more inhospitable of days the local boys rolled up their sleeves, got down and dirty in the rain and mud, and slid into the provincial decider against Castlehaven with minimum fuss.
The occasion wasn't without its problems, most motably the concussion suffered by Daithi Casey who had to be taken off after 15 minutes after a heavy collision with an opponent. Casey had been duputising at midfield in the absence of Ambrose O'Donovan, who continues to be sidelined with a finger injury, but unlike their quarter-final struggle with KilmurryIbrickane when Dr Crokes struggled for long periods at midfield, there were no such problems last Sunday.
Central to that all round dominance was the performance of Johnny Buckley, who stepped up considerably on his patchy display in Quilty to give Crokes a solid platform in the middle of the field and be the fulcrum around which a very workmanlike and studied gameplan revolved.
Luke Quinn, too, was inspirational on the right wing, repeatedly raiding forward from his half back berth, kicking a fine point and keeping Clonmel on the back foot down that channel. Beside him Eoin Brosnan was as reliable as ever, underlining another quality contribution with the game's only goal in the 52nd minute, which ended any ever diminishing hope of a Commercials comeback.
And then there was Colm Cooper. Nothing particularly mercurial on this occasion, and no 'You Tube' goals, but then Cooper performances don't always have to be circled by lightbulbs. Here, Cooper chipped in with two points from play but his six converted free kicks - on a day to test the strongest of nerves - underlines Gooch's versatility, and as ever he brought order and calm to the Crokes attack.
Dr Crokes started with the aid of a strong downfield wind, but coupled with sodden underfoot conditions and driving rain there seemed little advantage to be gained by either side. Still, that wind did allow the home side to shoot from further out, and it is to their great credit that their first seven shots at the target all sailed over Evan Comerford's crossbar. The first came from a David Molonet clearance to Casey who put Buckley through on a solo run that ended with a fine score. Chris Brady then set up Cooper for a score and the Cooper converted a free after Buckley was fouled.
And so it continued. Cooper firsted over the bar, despite Brosnan lurking toward the Clonmel goal, then Buckley set up Casey for a point, followed by a score from Brady.
Clonmel had registered their first score from an Ian Brady free in the eighth minute and Seamus Kennedy drove through for a decent score two minutes after Casey's forced departure with that concussion ringing in his head.
As the rain continued to fall unabated so too did the Crokes points come. Brady drew a foul and Cooper converted the free; O'Leary set up Brady for a score; Quinn raided forward and flighted over a point; Cooper closed out the half with another converted free. Crokes led 0-10 to 0-2 at half time, and there was a ominous and inevitable feel to the game already.
After an early Cooper free stretched Crokes lead to nine, Clonmel had a little shell-burst of scores from Barnes, Jason Lonergan - who could have tested David Moloney with a shot on goal - and Alan Lonergan, but six point was as close as the Tipp side got in the second half.
In the 52nd minute a great move involving Kieran O'Leary, Jamie Doolan, Brian Looney and Johnny Buckley culminated with Brosnan cracking a confident shot beyond Comerford to underline Crokes dominance of this contest.
So, a comfortable win for Crokes, and even if they weren't exactly singing in the rain once more the Kerry champions called the tune perfectly. DR CROKES: D Moloney, J Payne, M Moloney, F Fitzgerald, L Quinn (0-1), E Brosnan (1-0), S Myers, D Casey (0-1), J Buckley (0-1), Kieran O'Leary, C Brady (0-3, 1f), B Looney, G O'Shea, C Cooper (0-8, 6f), J Doolan. Subs: S Doolan for D Casey (inj), A Kennelly for G O'Shea, D O'Leary for C Brady, Keith O'Leary for B Looney, K Ward for L Quinn. CLONMEL COMMERCIALS: E Comerford, F Condon, D Lynch, D Madigan, K Harney, S Kennedy (01), S Taylor, A Matassa, I Fahy, L Moore, J Lonergan (0-1), R Carroll, I Barnes (0-2, 1f), J Peters, J Harney (0-1). Subs: A Lonergan (0-1) for R Carroll, S Buckley for I Fahy, B O'Hara for L Moore, C O'Connell for J Lonergan. REFEREE: M Collins (Cork)