ULTIMATELY Dr Crokes emerged as comfortable and deserving winners of the Molyneaux Cup (Senior B Football Championship) in Caherslee last Friday evening against an Austin Stacks combination, who battled bravely but who badly lacked a cutting edge up front and their return of just one point from play confirms fully their obvious inadequacies in scoring situations.
By contrast Crokes were much more clinical, in particular, their two corner-forwards Denis Galvin and Keith O'Leary, both of whom were a constant threat combining pace, with some precision finishing to great effect. Initially, Stacks looked to be the better side and were in front (0-2 to 01) after just six minutes.
With Alan Crean, dominant in defence and Fiachna Mangan effective on the forty the Tralee side dominated the early stages. However, Crokes gradually got to grips with the situation and having levelled matters by the end of the first quarter they opened up a two point gap shortly afterwards with four different players contributing to their scoring returns.
A pointed Joey O'Connor free kept Stacks in touch, but really they were reduced to sporadic attacks for long periods of the opening half.
Crokes, by contrast, were much more industrious and resourceful even if inaccuracy from some good positions meant that they retired for the interval lead, with just a marginal three point advantage 0-6 to 0-3. It could and should have been an awful lot more at this particular juncture. A pointed free from Brian O'Shea consolidated their situation at the outset of the second half, but for a brief period thereafter Stacks came a lot more into contention, but kicked three successive wides in as many minutes.
It fairly summed, up their deficiencies in attacking situations in contrast to Crokes who combined much more effectively and two further points from Brian O'Shea and Keith O'Leary emphasised their ability to unlock,the Stacks defence with some strong incisive running and clever support play. Ahead by six points (0-9 0-3) going into the fourth and final quarter, they continued to monopolise matters territorially, but didn't really transfer their superiority into scores.
Six minutes from the finish ace opportunist Denis Galvin put the issue beyond doubt at the end of some good build-up play, when he affected a neat finish for a goal from close range. Four minutes later, the same player seemed to get the final touch to a lofted delivery for their second goal, and seal a success, which, was emphatic and impressive. DR CROKES: David Neeson; Mark Egan; Keith McMahon; Sean Coppinger; Killian Fitzgerald; Brian McMahon; Gavin Tucker; James Jones; Conor O'Neill; Shane O'Neill (0-1) Brendan Falvey (0-1); Brian O'Shea (0-3, 2f); Denis Galvin (2-1), Edmund O'Sullivan; Keith O'Leary (0-3). Subs: PJ Lawlor for G Tucker, Cian O'Neill for S O'Neill, Jonathon Clarke for B O'Shea, Stephen Brosnan (0-1) for K O'Leary, Dara Stack for B Falvey AUSTIN STACKS: Paddy Fitzgibbon; Shane Fitzgerald; Alan Crean; Conor Jordan; Ciaran O'Connell (0-1f); Seamus Bastible; Eoin Colgan; Sean Purcell; Greg Horan; Gary O'Connor; Fiachna Mangan (0-1); Theo Diggin; David Courtney; Martin Courtney; Joey O'Connor (0-2f). Subs: Andrew McAllen for S Fitzgerald, Gearoid McCann for M Courtney, Danny Carroll for J O'Connor, Anthony Shanahan for E Colgan, Kyle Fitzgibbon for F Mangan REFEREE: Cathal O Dubhda (An Ghaeltacht)