Colm 'Gooch' Cooper stars as Dr Crokes march on in Munster

Dr Crokes 1-14 Kilmurry-Ibrickane 0-8

Colm Cooper of Dr Crokes in action against Darren Hickey of Kilmurry Ibrickane

The sheer class of Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper was just one of several key components which Dr Crokes had in their armoury as they killed off any notion of a shock in this Munster SFC quarter-final against Kilmurry-Ibrickane in Quilty.

Pat O’Shea has a big squad at his disposal and with bright prospects such as Gavin White and Micheal Burns also leading the charge, the Kerry champions were never really troubled on this latest visit to west Co Clare.

The Killarney side led by three points at the break, having played against the wind and then struck for the only goal of the game six minutes after the restart from a penalty.

Crokes’ selector Harry O’Neill said it was tougher than the scoreline suggests, but he was pleased with the way they kept pushing forward.

“The scoreline would say it was a comfortable victory, but it wasn’t easy out there. The Kilmurray lads came out of the blocks quite fast and they put it up to us.

“In the second half, we took more control of the game. And once we got the goal, we kept driving at them. And we were relentless in what they were doing, which was nice to see,” said O’Neill.

Peter O'Dwyer of Kilmurry Ibrickane in action against Fionn Fitzgerald and Michael Moloney of Dr Crokes

It was hard to disagree with Kilmurry-Ibrickane manager Aidan Moloney when he said he felt that a few decisions from Cork referee Kevin Murphy did not help them in the opening half when they had the wind.

“There were a lot of tackles that he let go in the first half, that shouldn’t have been. He started making up a bit at the end. But I think when the game was in the melting pot for us, we didn’t get what we deserved.

“We needed a good start to the second half and we didn’t get it. We started to give away possession. Not enough of our players stood up today. They played well in the county final last week. And the game in the second week again was too much for them,” said Moloney.

The crowd of 2,557 at the splendid Pairc Naoimh Mhuire saw Kilmurry-Ibrickane go ahead three times in the opening quarter, but were hauled back each time and with Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper spraying balls around, Dr Crokes started to pick off points and pulled ahead.

Shane Hickey got Kilmurry-Ibrickane’s only point from play in the opening half, with goalkeeper Ian McInerney going forward to kick two frees.

Dr Crokes took control, with Daithi Casey and Kieran O’Leary also impressing, and they were well worth their 0-7 to 0-4 interval lead.

Cooper turned on the style and sprayed some wonderful passes, including one which led to Brian Looney having an effort foot-blocked by Martin McMahon and Casey drove the resultant penalty into the bottom left corner.

There was no way back for the Clare champions after that, with Burns pointing before Cooper landed three in a row to pull further ahead, while Tony Brosnan landed two superb efforts from the right wing in the closing stages to set up a Munster semi-final against Tipperary champions Loughmore-Castleiney in two weeks.

Scorers – Dr Crokes: D Casey 1-2 (1-0 pen), C Cooper 0-3 (2f), T Brosnan, K O’Leary 0-2 each, G O’Shea, B Looney, E Brosnan, J Kiely, M Burns 0-1 each. Kilmurry-Ibrickane: K Sexton (2f), I McInerney (3f) 0-3 each, S Hickey, N Hickey 0-1 each.

Dr Crokes – S Murphy; J Payne, M Moloney, F Fitzgerald; G White, A O’Sullivan, D O’Leary; E Brosnan, J Buckley; A O’Donovan, G O’Shea, B Looney; C Cooper, D Casey, K O’Leary.

Subs: M Burns for Buckley (22), L Quinn for Moloney (29), T Brosnan for O’Shea (52), J Kiely for Looney (52), M Milner for O’Leary (55), PJ Lawlor for Cooper (59).

Kilmurry-Ibrickane – I McInerney; M Killeen, D Hickey, M McMahon; D Sexton, C Morrissey, D Callinan; K King, E Coughlan; M McCarthy, M Hogan, S Hickey; M O’Dwyer, P O’Dwyer, Keelan Sexton. Subs: S Moloney for O’Dwyer (24), J McNamara for Callinan (30), N Hickey for Hogan (40), Keith Sexton for McCarthy (52), K Killeen for S Hickey (55), T O’Connor for Coughlan (60).

Ref – K Murphy (Cork).