Rockies inflict a second defeat on Crokes in a fortnight
Division 1 Round 3: Austin Stacks 2-7 Dr Crokes 2-4
A bit like buses, Austin Stacks had been waiting a while for a victory over Dr Crokes and all of a sudden two come along at once.
It's funny the way the fixtures calendar sometimes works out. Two weeks ago the sides met in Tralee in the final of the Senior Club Championship and here they were again back in Tralee - albeit in Connolly rather than Stack Park - for a league fixture.
If you were of the Rockie persuasion you might have been anticipating something of a push-back from Dr Crokes and, while one duly arrived in the first half, the ferocity of it wasn't quite of the order one might have expected. Certainly the second half showed that it was manageable for Wayne Quillinan's side.
Having made a significant number of changes to the side - eleven - from the senior club final, the Lewis Road outfit started the first half really encouragingly. The proviso being that the Crokes had the benefit of a strong enough breeze in the first half.
The sides though were level on two apiece at the end of the first quarter - both Stacks points by Seán Quilter - as the Killarney men were left to rue a number of missed chances, they kicked seven in all in the first half.
Seventeen minutes in though the game seemed to turn in Crokes' direction when Jordan Kiely pounced upon a defensive error to score a well-taken goal. Two further Crokes points - one from a free and one from play - put them in a promising position as half-time approached.
The Rock, however finished the half with a pointed free from Darragh O'Brien - won for a foul on Quilter - to leave just four in it at the break, 1-4 to 0-3. Hardly sufficient to Crokes need one felt even at the time.
The second half was pretty much all Austin Stacks as they started the second half with four points unanswered - all through O'Brien - to level the game back up again by the forty fifth minute.
A minute later and the tenor of the game changed decisively when centre-back Ronan Shanahan found himself at end of a good move, in which Conor Jordan and Seán Quilter were prominent, to slot to the net.
Stacks then added three more points during the next four minutes - all from play - to extend their lead to six points - with Greg Horan, Darragh O'Brien and Seán Quilter on target.
Dr Crokes gave themselves something of a life-line in the 54th minute when Dáithí Casey converted a penalty, but it was to prove their only score of the half as the Rockies finished the game in the same manner in which they started the half.
A final pair of scores from - appropriately enough - the impressive Seán Quilter and second half sub Donagh McKivergan (a goal) ensured a seven point victory for Stacks on home soil and pushed them into third place in the table.
Austin Stacks: Robbie Murphy, Colin Griffin, Barry Shanahan, Jack O'Shea, Ciarán O'Connell, Ronan Shanahan (1-0), Jack Morgan, Conor Jordan (Capt), Shane Carroll, Greg Horan (0-1), Darragh O'Brien (0-6, 3f), Fiachna Mangan, Seán Quilter (0-4), Ferdia O'Brien, Shane O'Callaghan Subs: Brandon Patterson, Joseph O'Connor, Darragh Scanlon, Donagh McKivergan (1-0), John Dennis
Dr Crokes: Johnny O'Leary, David Naughton, Jason Lyne, Brian Fitzgerald, Michael Potts, Fionn Fitzgerald, Lorcan Mac Monagle , Daithi Casey, Mark O'Shea, Chris Doncil, Gavin O'Shea, Jack Griffin, Jordan Kiely, Bryan O'Shea, Mike Casey