It was Samba football from Dr Crokes and eventual winners Kerins O’Rahillys in Castleisland on Sunday afternoon
COUNTY SENIOR CLUB FC GROUP B ROUND 1
Kerins O’Rahillys 0-23
Dr Crokes 1-16
A haul of twelve points from Jack Savage inspired Kerins O’Rahilly’s to a four-point victory over a Dr Crokes outfit that had Tony Brosnan in equally influential form as he struck for a goal and nine in glorious sunshine at Castleisland Desmonds GAA field on Sunday.
This was samba football at it’s finest between two teams that had attacking intent in their hearts and zero interest in conforming to oxygen sapping defensive structures, or even playing a ball backwards.
Like gladiators in a Roman Coliseum, the two heavyweights gave every ounce of themselves, and the large crowd were treated to bouts of brilliant football.
In between the high-flying catches, end to end ball movement, and super score taking, there was also a nice bit of needle in the game that kept everyone on their toes, although it must be said that the game was played in a very good spirit.
When you score 1-16 as Dr Crokes did you’d expect to win most games but on the day the Strand Road lads, with Gavin O’Brien, the two Savage brothers, David Moran and Tommy Walsh looking very sharp, had too much for a Crokes side that lined out without Gavin White and goalkeeper Shane Murphy.
Murphy’s loss was particularly hard felt early doors as Crokes struggled with their restarts and they raced into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead after five minutes with Jack Savage contributing all four (three frees) and Brian Looney getting a welcome score for the Killarney aristocrats.
Even at this early stage in was obvious that it was going to be end to end classic style football and on the eight minute the mercurial Tony Brosnan took it upon himself to skin the Strand Road defence and score a lovely goal.
If Brosnan was disappointed not to get an appearance in the All-Ireland final for Kerry, he certainly didn’t sulk and he showed what he was capable of on Sunday.
Brosnan and Tom Hoare traded scores, but then Strand Road struck for three points on the bounce, before Tony Brosnan hit a reply from a mark for the Crokes. With sixteen minutes gone Kerins O’Rahilly’s led by 0-8 to 1-3, and you’d dare not take your eye off of the action.
Strand Road added four more points before the half time break with Gavin O’Brien’s solo score in the 31st minute the pick of the bunch, whilst Dr Crokes, with Mark O’Shea and David Shaw becoming more influential around the middle, added three from Cillian O’Regan, and two from Brosnan to see them trail by 0-12 to 1-6 at the half-time break.
If we thought that the intensity would drop in the heat for the second half then we were gloriously mistaken. Dr Crokes started with a flourish and had two on the bounce from Burns and Brosnan (free), before Savage and Brosnan, from a placed ball, once more swapped scores.
By the 39th minute Dr Crokes were just a single point behind, 1-10 to 0-14, but Stand Road got a bit of a run on their opponents with Jack Savage showing he was as adept at kicking frees from the ground as he was from the hand with two monster efforts before his brother Gearoid showed that he was equally as good from a placed ball.
It was now Dr Crokes turn to hit a purple patch and points from a Tony Brosnan free that he earned himself, and Burns, brought them back to within two points with nine left to play.
Kerins O’Rahilly’s looked like scoring every time that they gained possession, however, and corner-back Cormac Coffey hit three wonderful points as he found an extra gear from somewhere for the last few minutes.
Dr Crokes searched desperately for a goal, but they struggled to penetrate a resolute Strand Road defence despite some long balls into the box. A brace from Tony Brosnan and another from sub Cian McMahon was all that they had to show for their efforts as Kerins O’Rahilly’s emerged as winners after a brilliant contest.
DR CROKES: Brendan Falvey; Brian Fitzgerald, Neil O’Shea, Michael Potts; Cillian O’Regan (0-1), Fionn Fitzgerald, Evan Looney; Mark O’Shea, David Shaw (0-1); Liam Randles, Micheál Burns (0-2), Brian Looney (0-1); Tony Brosnan (1-9, 4f, 1m), Tom Doyle, Mikey Casey Subs: Cian McMahon (0-2) for M Casey, half-time, Billy Courtney for L Randles, 36, John Payne for B Fitzgerald, 56
KERINS O’RAHILLYS: Shane Foley; Donagh Buckley, Ross O’Callaghan, Cormac Coffey (0-3); Darragh McElligott, Shane Brosnan, Padraig Neenan; Sean Walsh, David Moran; Tom Hoare(0-1), Jack Savage (0-12, 10f), Gavin O’Brien (0-2); Gearoid Savage (0-4, 2f), Tommy Walsh (0-1), Barry John Keane Subs: Ben Hanifan for BJ Keane (inj), 30, TJ Heaphy for S Brosnan, 36, Diarmuid O’Sullivan for D Buckley, 51, Daniel Bowler for G Savage, 61
REFEREE: Padraig O’Sullivan (Firies)