Cooper inspires Dr Crokes to survive scare
It may not have been exactly what the doctor ordered, but Dr Crokes advanced to a Munster club final after being given a fright by Tipperary champions Loughmore-Castleiney in a hard-fought and at times over-robust semi-final in Killarney yesterday.
Dr Crokes 1-12 L'more - C'iney 0-9
Crokes selector Harry O'Neill admitted that the team had played poorly.
"We were very disappointed going in at half-time at how we had played. We were sloppy in our delivery of passes, sloppy in our attempts at goal," he said.
Loughmore-Castleiney manager Declan Laffan, meanwhile, was fuming.
"The disappointment is that we felt we had a real shot today. If you don't get your 50-50 breaks, you're not going to come out of their home patch with a victory," he said.
Loughmore-Castleiney set up at times with 13 men behind the ball and this made it difficult for the Crokes attack to penetrate, but not for Colm Cooper.
Cooper kept Crokes in the contest as his marker just could not deal with the sorcery of the Gooch.
Loughmore-Castleiney - who finished with 13 men following the second-half dismissals of Tomas McGrath and John Ryan - were troubling Crokes on the counter-attack and former Tipperary minor captain Liam McGrath gave his side the lead in the third minute, after John McGrath was fouled.
Three wides followed for the visitors before Crokes struck for their opening goal, when Daithí Casey found Kieran O'Leary and he placed Cooper, who billowed the net.
Crokes ended the half the stronger side, but their finishing left a lot to be desired before points from Cooper and Gavin White saw them lead by four.
Midfielder John McGrath then scored an injury-time point for the visitors as Crokes retired 1-5 to 0-5 in front.
Loughmore-Castleiney skipper Liam McGrath opened his side's second-half account with a converted free, but Crokes cancelled this out with four unanswered points from Eoin Brosnan, Brian Looney, Cooper and Casey (free) to take a stranglehold on proceedings.
Loughmore-Castleiney kept plugging away, but the Crokes' defence was just too difficult to break down.
Scorers - Dr Crokes: C Cooper (1-3, 1f), D Casey (0-2, 2f), G White, J Buckley, G O'Shea, B Looney, E Brosnan, J Kiely, and T Brosnan 0-1 each.
Loughmore/Castleiney: L McGrath 0-6 (6f); J Hennessy, J McGrath, L Treacy 0-1 each.
DR CROKES: S Murphy; J Payne, M Moloney, F Fitzgerald; G White, A O'Sullivan, D O'Leary; A O'Donovan, J Buckley; D Casey, G O'Shea, B Looney; C Cooper, K O'Leary, E Brosnan. Subs: M Burns for B Looney (35); L Quinn for F Fitzgerald (41 B/C); J Kiely for G O'Shea (48); M Milner for A O'Donovan (60), B O'Shea for K O'Leary (60).
LOUGHMORE-CASTLEINEY: D Brennan; L Egan, J Meagher, T McGrath; J Ryan, C McGrath, J Hennessy; N McGrath, J McGrath; B McGrath, L Treacy, A McGrath; L McGrath, E Sweeney, W Eviston. Subs: D Kennedy for L Treacy (41 b/c); E Connolly for B McGrath (52), T Maher for E Sweeney (52).
Ref: J Bermingham (Cork).