Cooper and Casey prove unstoppable combination for Crokes
Daithi Casey put in a Man of the Match performance for Dr Crokes at Fraher Field yesterday as the Kerry champions easily beat a Ballinacourty side that finished the game with 14 men.
The Waterford champions were never really at the races and there was only going to be one result after their corner-back Gavin Breen was ordered off half-way through the second half after collecting a second yellow card.
However, while Casey excelled, it was another forward whose name was on the lips of most spectators leaving the ground.
Colm Cooper -- who was reported last week to be waiting on his side's exit from the championship before undergoing surgery -- turned on the style in a 12-minute spell after the break, bagging 2-3 during this period.
The first of the goals came 70 seconds after the restart when the magnificent Casey -- who helped UCC win the Cork championship last month -- found Cooper on the edge of the square and he gave Stephen Enright no chance from close range.
Just 55 seconds later, this year's Kerry captain again collected another long delivery into the Dr Crokes inside line and again the ace marksman blasted past Enright.
For much of the opening half, little if anything separated the two teams.
Points from Brian Looney, Jamie Doolan and Casey in the last six minutes of the half proved to be the main difference between the sides in that opening half as the Kerry champions went in leading by 0-6 to 0-4.
Ballinacourty, however, could count themselves unlucky not be in front at this stage, as Alan Kelly twice denied Gary Hurney goal-scoring chances in the opening 12 minutes and the normally reliable Shane Briggs kicked two placed balls wide that he should have tapped over.
Whatever competitiveness that remained in the game by the three-quarter mark quickly evaporated when Breen was sent off 17 minutes from time and when Andrew Kenneally punched Dr Crokes' third goal.
After this the contest quickly petered out to its inevitable conclusion, with the Killarney side playing much of the last quarter at pedestrian pace.
Scorers -- Dr Crokes: C Cooper 2-3 (1f), A Kenneally 1-1, D Casey 0-4 (1f), B Looney, J Doolan, J Buckley, C Brady, J Jones 0-1 each. Ballinacourty: G Hurney 0-3 (1f), S Briggs, C Keane, M Ferncombe, J Hurney 0-1 each.
Ballinacourty -- S Enright; M Lavan, J Phelan, G Breen; J Hurney, P Lynch, R Foley; S Briggs, S O'Hare; J Gorman, P Hurney, M Fives; J O'Mahony, G Hurney, M Ferncombe. Subs: C Keane for J Gorman (20 mins), C Moloney for J O'Mahony (38), M Gorman for M Fives (44).
Dr Crokes -- A Kelly; J Payne, L Quinn, D O'Leary; F Fitzgerald, E Brosnan, S Myers; B McMahon, J Buckley; A Kenneally, D Casey, B Looney; C Cooper, K O'Leary, J Doolan. Subs: C Brady for B Looney (49), S O'Neill for A Kennelly (53), J Jones for B McMahon (56), G Tucker for for S Myers (58).
Ref -- C Lane (Cork)