Crokes survive scare to keep defence alive as Cooper is shown black
Three-in-a-row-seeking Dr Crokes' title ambitions remain on course and despite their 2-19 to 2-10 win over Kerins O'Rahilly's in the second of the SFC semi-finals, it took them until injury time to secure the victory.
It was a game of many flashpoints after Gavin O'Brien struck for an O'Rahilly's goal after just 30 seconds and Crokes - despite some excellent points from Kieran O'Leary, Tony Brosnan and David Shaw - were fortunate to retire level (0-11 to 2-5) at the interval.
O'Brien had scored a second O'Rahilly's goal in the 25th minute after slack Crokes defending but the game really turned midway through the second half.
Firstly, Jack Savage received a second yellow with the Tralee side leading by a point and then, in the 54th minute, O'Rahilly's made a mess of a kick-out and super sub Jordan Kiely, just off the bench, pounced for a goal that saw the Killarney men hit the front.
Brian Looney's sending off in the 59th minute left it a 14-a-side contest for the nine remaining minutes, including eight of injury time, but late points from Brosnan, Johnny Buckley and O'Leary, along with Kiely's second goal, were enough for the reigning champions to advance to the final.
Colm Cooper came on at half-time but only lasted 15 minutes before being black carded just after Savage's sending-off, but Crokes still prevailed thanks to a lethal forward line and a strong bench.
In the opening Kerry SFC semi-final David Clifford scored 2-4 and drilled a penalty wide as a fancied East Kerry played out a draw with Dingle.
A 66th-minute point by Kerry senior Tom O'Sullivan secured a deserved replay for Dingle next Sunday at the Austin Stack Park.