Tuesday 24 October 2017

Cooper rises above flashpoints to seal Crokes win

Kerry SFC Wrap

A mass brawl midway through the opening half of the showpiece quarter-final clash between three-in-a-row seeking Dr Crokes and fierce Tralee rivals Austin Stacks spoiled the prospects of a classic encounter as Crokes cruised to a 1-13 to 0-8 win.

The trouble flared when Crokes star Colm Cooper was ambushed going through by a number of Stacks defenders, and players from both sides got involved in a major punch-up, with fights breaking out all over the pitch.

Only one yellow card was issued and the play was fractious all the way to half-time, with fighting continuing at regular intervals in Tralee.

In the 25th minute, with Stacks 0-6 to 0-5 ahead, former Kerry midfielder William Kirby was shown a second yellow, and 14-man Stacks had no chance in the second half against the wind and a fired-up Cooper.

Crokes took over and Cooper shredded the Stacks defence. He struck for a classic goal in the 35th minute and two quick points from Jamie Doolan and one from Brian Looney saw Crokes move 1-9 to 0-6 clear. Stacks only scored two second-half points.

Cooper top scored with 1-4, with Doolan and Looney getting three points each, but this clash will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

Elsewhere, Feale Rangers, despite the presence of Kerry stars Paul Galvin and Anthony Maher and 1-8 from Conor Cox, went out as Dingle hung on for a 2-12 to 1-13 win.

Dingle led 2-8 to 0-7 at half-time thanks to two Billy O'Connor goals and six points from Paul Geaney. By the 40th minute they had extended their lead to nine points.

Feale fought back, and Cox's 55th-minute goal reduced the deficit to a point. However, Dingle regrouped and a Ryan Begley point and the late red carding of Cox saw the West Kerry side advance.

Rathmore boss Liam Kearns caused a stir in the opening quarter-final when he dropped former Kerry star Tom O'Sullivan. O'Sullivan did make an early entry following an injury to Colm Kelly but he was powerless to prevent Mike Frank Russell and Laune Rangers reaching the semis, 3-13 to 2-4.

Rangers led 0-8 to 1-2, with John Buckley getting Rathmore's goal, but three second-half goals from Kieran Doona, Russell and Jeremy O'Callaghan ensured a Rangers win.

St Kieran's proved too strong for a young Kenmare side, winning 1-21 to 2-12, with Eamon John O'Donoghue notching 1-4 on the edge of the square. The winners had nine different scorers.

Irish Independent

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