Crokes coronation is black and White after late goal sinks dogged Dingle
County Senior Football Championship Final - Dr Crokes 1-15 Dingle 0-12
With six county titles already won this decade Dr Crokes didn't need a seventh to frank their status as the team of the decade, but they've added a seventh anyway. And who would argue that they won't make it a second four-timer next year and make it eight titles in 10 years. The record will show a six-point win for Dr Crokes in this latest county final win - the third narrowest of their seven wins - but they were made to work hard for it by a Dingle team that had lit up this Championship in more ways than they might have dreamed of.
In the end it took a typical counter-attacking move from Dr Crokes, which culminated with Gavin White slapping the ball in for the game's only goal in the 57th minute, for the defending champions to firmly and finally shake off a resolute Dingle team that was playing catch-up on the scoreboard from the tenth minute on.
White's goal made it 1-14 to 0-12 at a time when it was Dingle that desperately needed to raise the green flag, and while Crokes' vaunted forwards - and man of the match defender White - will take plenty of credit for this victory, the contribution of the defence cannot be overstated.
The champions primary objective from the start, clearly, was to curb the goal threat of Paul Geaney - he had scored 9-12 in the Championship coming into this final - and a combination of Michael Moloney, John Payne and Fionn Fitzgerald (in rotation and collectively) held Geaney to just one point from play and one really decent goal chance, which Shane Murphy saved smartly at the start of the second half.
Once Geaney was locked down Dr Crokes were well on their way to retaining their title. After that it was down to those forwards to rack up the scores, which they did with their usual aplomb. David Shaw - who started in place of the named Colm Cooper - mined four from play, young Tony Brosnan kicked two from play and White came forward for a point and that goal.
It wasn't vintage Dr Crokes - Kieran O'Leary and Micheál Burns failed to score - as they went an 18-minute period either side of the half time interval without a score. And until White's goal in the 57th minute Gavin Curran in the Dingle goal had little more to do than make a couple of routine stops. But when Crokes were hot they were hot.
Paul Geaney's early free put Dingle into an early lead and they led 0-2 to 0-1 after five minutes, but then Dr Crokes did what Crokes do so well and reeled off the next seven points without reply. It catapulted them into a 0-8 to 0-2 lead by the 21st minute and, briefly, it seemed as if this would be another procession for Crokes.
Kerry defender Tom O'Sullivan, who along with Paul Geaney has been Dingle's most effective player in this competition, raided forward to kick a point and kick-start Dingle's best spell when three more points followed in the last five minutes to bring them back into contention at 0-8 to 0-6 at half time.
Paul Geaney drew that fine save from Murphy early in the second half and then Matthew Flaherty's point cut the margin to one, but Crokes never really looked rattled. Cooper made his entrance, clearly to bring even more composure to Crokes game, and points from Shaw, White, Johnny Buckley and Dáithí Casey had them 0-13 to 0-9 ahead after 48 minutes. They were still ahead, 0-14 to 0-11, after 51 minutes when Dingle had corner back Pádraig O'Connor sent off for a second yellow.
Few teams thrive better with an extra man than Dr Crokes, and with Dingle stretched in their search for that now crucial goal, it was inevitable that Crokes would capitalise.
And so they did. Moments later Dr Crokes broke down-field and White and O'Leary combined for the former to slap the ball to an empty Dingle goal and put this final to bed.
A record setting seventh title in a decade that also shoots the Killarney club to the top of the roll of honour - out on their own now with 13 titles.
And the sense that this new-ish looking Crokes team is only getting started.
Dr Crokes: Shane Murphy, John Payne, Michael Moloney, Fionn Fitzgerald, David O'Leary, Gavin White 1-1, Shane Doolan, Johnny Buckley 0-1, Dáithí Casey 0-4 (3f), Micheál Burns, Gavin O'Shea 0-1, Brian Looney 0-1, David Shaw 0-4, Kieran O'Leary, Tony Brosnan 0-2 Subs: Colm Cooper for G O'Shea (38), Alan O'Sullivan for D O'Leary (45), Jordan Kiely 0-1 for T Brosnan (50), Michael Potts for D Shaw (55), Eoin Brosnan for M Burns (62), Paul Clarke for K O'Leary (63)
Dingle: Gavin Curran, Michael Flannery, Tom Leo O'Sullivan, Padraig O'Connor, Michael Begley, Tom O'Sullivan 0-2, Aidan O'Connor, Billy O'Connor, Barry O'Sullivan 0-1, Brian O'Connor, Michael Geaney 0-1, Paul Devane, Tomas Sheehy 0-1, Paul Geaney 0-6 (5f), Matthew Flaherty 0-1 Subs: Eoin Murphy for P Devane (42), Brendan Kelliher for M Flannery (57), Conor Geaney for T Sheehy (63)
Referee: Seamus Mulvihill (St Senans)