Crokes make final their own as Kenmare struggle to cope

County SFC Final

Dr. Crokes captain Johnny Buckley lifts the Bishop Moynihan cup. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Dr. Crokes captain Johnny Buckley lifts the Bishop Moynihan cup. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Jason O'Connor, Fitzgerald Stadium

Not quite the drama of the other final meeting between the sides in 1987! Dr Crokes, however, won their fifth County Championship in seven years and an 11th in total with a pretty clinical and ruthless display over a Kenmare District side that never seemed to match the heights reached in previous weeks.

Dr Crokes 2-16 Kenmare District 1-12

It was as much about how Crokes prevented them from doing so, a great block down by Eoin Brosnan on Adrian Spillane as he bore down on goal a couple of minutes before the game's first goal a good illustration of how much the Killarney side had their homework done on the day.

With Colm Cooper and Brian Looney orchestrating the Crokes forward line, Kenmare District always appeared to be on the back foot, leading only once in proceedings when Paul O'Connor's second point put them 0-2 to 0-1 ahead after seven minutes.

Stephen O'Brien did make a decent burst goalwards four minutes later yet Adrian Spillane could not be found with an accompanying pass as many of the encounter's psychological blows were inflicted upon the district side.

Seeing goalkeeper Shane Murphy come up to convert a '45 illustrated the difference between the sides especially with the torrid day Murphy's opposite number Kieran Fitzgibbon was having from kick-outs at the other end.

Kenmare District were still in it on the scoreboard at 0-7 to 0-5 behind with five minutes of the first-half left, but Fionn Fitzgerald made the interception for the game's first goal as Kieran O'Leary finished the ball to the net for a five point lead, reduced to four (1-7 to 0-6) at the half-time whistle thanks to a free from O'Connor.

Adrian Spillane hit a fine effort from a sideline ball early in the second-half, but it failed to sufficiently lift Kenmare District as Micheál Burns scored two minutes after his half-time introduction.

Then, another All-Ireland winning Minor from the club, Gavin White, found Johnny Buckley for the game's second goal in the 34th minute for a 2-8 to 0-7 advantage.

There was one moment of complacency from the Crokes straight after as Teddy Doyle showed some determination to get through the Crokes defence and make it a four point game again with Kenmare District's solitary goal.

Five consecutive points in response showed it failed to unduly affect the Crokes, three for Looney and two from Cooper stretching the advantage out to nine approaching the three-quarter mark at 2-13 to 1-7.

A graphic illustration of how much it really wasn't Kenmare District's day came in the 47th minute when with a goal seemingly at his mercy, Paul O'Connor conspired to hit the woodwork and with that the life appeared to go out of their challenge.

While Cooper finished the game with seven points in picking up the official Man-of-the-Match honour, Jordan Kiely became the eighth different player from the winners to get his name on the scoresheet with their final score of the game.

Kenmare District finished the game with three consolation points, Paul O'Connor outscoring Cooper in the individual scoring stakes with eight (seven frees), but with only three other players in Adrian and Killian Spillane along with Teddy Doyle getting scores it illustrated how poor their forward line was in general last Sunday.

Indeed, how the Kenmare Shamrocks and Templenoe players from the district respond in the Intermediate decider at the same venue this Sunday will be interesting to see. However, on the day Dr Crokes' 1991 County Championship winning side was honoured, the present group ensured another team from the club will be honoured on County Final day in 25 years time.

Whether this team can go on and achieve what that team did the following St Patricks Day in 1992 remains to be seen. You sense for now though they will be glad to be back in possession of the Bishop Moynihan Cup and second outright in the Roll of Honour again, one behind Austin Stacks' total of 12.

Dr Crokes: Shane Murphy (0-1, 1 '45'), John Payne, Michael Moloney, Fionn Fitzgerald, Gavin White, Alan O'Sullivan, David O'Leary, Ambrose O'Donovan (0-1), Johnny Buckley (1-0), Daithí Casey, Gavin O'Shea, Brian Looney (0-4), Colm Cooper (0-7, 3f), Kieran O'Leary (1-1), Eoin Brosnan Subs: Micheál Burns (0-1) for O'Sullivan, Jordan Kiely (0-1) for O'Shea, Luke Quinn for David O'Leary, Mike Milner for Eoin Brosnan, PJ Lawlor for O'Donovan and Tony Brosnan for Kieran O'Leary

Kenmare District: Kieran Fitzgibbon (Kenmare Shamrocks), Dara Crowley (do), Gavin Crowley (Templenoe), Kieran O'Neill (do), Patrick Clifford (do), Dara O'Shea (Kenmare Shamrocks), John Spillane (Templenoe), Tadgh Morley (do), Peter O'Shea (Tuosist), Sean O'Shea (Kenmare Shamrocks), Adrian Spillane (Templenoe, 0-2), Teddy Doyle (do, 1-0), Stephen O'Brien (Kenmare Shamrocks), Paul O'Connor (do, 0-8, 7f), Killian Spillane (Templenoe, 0-2) Subs: Kevin O'Sullivan (Kenmare Shamrocks) for Clifford, Pat Spillane (Templenoe) for Sean O'Shea and Sean O'Shea for Doyle

Referee: Brendan Griffin (Clounmacon).