ONE of Dr Crokes' most prolific stalwarts has a bird's eye view on the activities of their county final opponents in Dingle this week.
This cat among the pigeons is none other than the Canon of Dingle Parish, Fr. Tom Looney, a former player, club vice-president, minor club secretary and a life member of Dr. Crokes.
Canon Looney, who came to the parish of Dingle in 2007, has even published a book dedicated to the life of Dick Fitzgerald – entitled A King in the Kingdom of Kerry – however speaking to The Kerryman this week he says that, on paper, Dingle could well take the county title if their statistics this year are anything to go by.
"I'm actually delighted that Dingle are in the county final, they are one of the best club teams out there at the moment," said the Canon.
"Dingle have scored more than Crokes in the league and that shows consistency. They have also beaten Crokes last year at home and this year in Killarney. The Dingle team is well up there and fair play to them."
This dyed in the wool Crokes man played for his club from U-16 level right up to senior level when he was ordained in 1969. Canon Looney has also played Gaelic Football in Rome, San Francisco, England and even played handball while working in Peru. However looking ahead to the clash of his club with his parish flock, he is taking a broad view.
"Dingle are a fine young side, very high scoring, the amount of goals they have scored this year is phenomenal to give them their due; I'd say it must be a record," he said.
"It is unusual to have two clubs in the final, given the strength of the divisional sides and Crokes know what it is to win and what it is to be beaten; they are experienced.
For the Canon, the meeting of Dingle and Dr Crokes in the county final will provide a fantastic finale and he has been discussing the probabilities and possibilities with Canon Jackie McKenna, the great Dingle player and one of the few surviving members of the Dingle team of the 1940s, quite recently.
"Canon Jackie McKenna is the possessor of five county championship medals which is one of the great records; he is very proud of that fact and is delighted to see the young lads doing so well," said Canon Looney.
While avoiding predications, Canon Looney is echoing the words of Dick Fitzgerald in summing up his hopes for the county final.
"In the words of the great Dick Fitzgerald, 'by all means let the better team win, but let the game be played manfully and spiritedly,'" he said. "A new page is being opened with colour, drama and melodrama filled with rivalries and loyalties. I'm looking forward to a good game; the league tables would favour Dingle but the pundits are saying Crokes as they go for their three-in-a-row. Sunday will tell a lot. If Dingle win I'll take my hat off to them because they will have beaten a good team.
"They'll have beaten the champions . . . that's the apex isn't it?"