Friday 15 December 2017

Classy Looney runs riot as Dr Crokes prescribe dose of harsh medicine

Dr Crokes 3-16 Loughmore-Castleiney 1-5

In the end it was all to easy for champions Dr Crokes but Loughmore had plenty of opportunities early on to make it a real battle. When they changed tack in the second half and tried to physically ruffle Crokes feathers, it turned out to be a major mistake.

In the end it was all to easy for champions Dr Crokes but Loughmore had plenty of opportunities early on to make it a real battle. When they changed tack in the second half and tried to physically ruffle Crokes feathers, it turned out to be a major mistake.

Five minutes into the second period, Loughmore centre-back Ciaran McGrath surged deep into Crokes territory to kick the only point not scored by John McGrath, and the deficit lay at a mere four points (1-9 to 1-5).

However, two things happened that were to change the course of this game and, in less than five minutes, it was over as a contest.

First, the visitors had for some reason abandoned their first-half policy of attack and instead tried to upset the Crokes with an over-physical approach; and when Cian Hennessy left a trailing leg that came in contact with John Payne, he received a second yellow so that it became 14 versus 15.

Second, Crokes switched Colm Cooper to the '40' and, like the conductor of an orchestra that had previously been out of tune, he was soon weaving his magic. In a three-minute spell the lights went out for Loughmore when Cooper set up Brian Looney and Kieran O'Leary for goals, while Cooper, Jamie Doolan (2) and three more from man-of-the-match Looney ensured Crokes cruised to victory.

The Tipp side failed to score for the final 24 minutes of the game. They had no answer to the defending of Eoin Brosnan, John Payne and Luke Quinn, or to the powerful fetching of Kerry midfielder Johnny Buckley, who had eight clean catches.

Loughmore also had to deal with a rampant forward sextet, with everybody on the scoresheet as Looney produced his winning display with 1-6, while the inside line of O'Leary, Cooper and Doolan scored 2-8 between them.

Loughmore began this game in whirlwind fashion, kicking two early points from John McGrath, but he also missed two scoreable frees and then in the eighth minute Hennessy had his goal-bound shot taken off the line by Crokes defender Luke Quinn.

But points from Looney, Daithi Casey (free) and Kieran O'Leary settled a nervy-looking Crokes side, who appeared to not expect the visitors to take them on man to man and attack at every opportunity.

CONCEDE

Then in typical Crokes fashion, they carved open the Tipp side's defence as Kieran O'Leary and Alan O'Sullivan found Jamie Doolan, whose quick transfer to Looney left Loughmore with little option but to concede the penalty – which Colm Cooper duly drilled from the spot low into the net.

McGrath's penalty goal in the 23rd minute gave the Tipp champions some hope as they continued to take the game to Crokes, and a half-time score of 1-8 to 1-3 should have seen them kick on but, alas, it was not to be.

However, in a game of 14 yellows and three reds – with Crokes losing Chris Brady to a straight red and Loughmore having John Ryan (second yellow) sent off – it was not a game referee Michael Collins will look back on with fondness.

Scorers – Dr Crokes: B Looney 1-6, C Cooper 1-3 ( 1-0 pen), K O'Leary 1-2, J Doolan 0-3, D Casey (f), A O Sullivan 0-1 each. Loughmore: J McGrath 1-4 (1-0 pen, 3fs), C McGrath 0-1.

Dr Crokes – D Moloney; J Payne, L Quinn, K Ward; E Brosnan, F Fitzgerald, S Myers; A O'Donovan, J Buckley; A O'Sullivan, D Casey, B Looney; K O'Leary, C Cooper, J Doolan. Subs: D O'Leary for K Ward (28), G O'Shea for A O'Donovan (38), S Doolan for S Myers (45), M Moloney for J Payne (49), C Brady for K O'Leary (51).

Loughmore – D Brennan; T Long, J Meagher, L Egan; T King, C McGrath, J Ryan; N McGrath, D Kennedy; J McGrath, A McGrath, C Hennessy; L McGrath, D Bourke, E Sweeney. Subs: J Nyland for A McGrath (49), J Hennessy for T Long (52), M Webster for F Bourke (52), W Eviston for N McGrath (58), T McGrath for D Kennedy (59).

Ref – M Collins (Cork)

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