Tuesday 20 February 2018

Dr Crokes team best in club's history, insists Casey

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

DR CROKES' 19-point haul in Munster on Sunday matched the previous best points tally in any of the four provincial club football finals over the last 42 years.

It also equalled the points score put up by Crossmaglen Rangers in their All-Ireland club final replay against Garrycastle last March when they won by 2-19 to 1-7.

In Munster, only Launce Rangers' 3-19 to 2-4 win in the 1995 provincial final can match the tally posted by Crokes in their 0-19 to 0-12 win over Cork champions Castlehaven.

It is a measure of their outstanding forward play that Crokes could build such a score in 60 minutes of football at this time of the year.

Provincial finals have been won by more of course with the help of goals, while All-Ireland quarter-finals involving provincial champions against British opposition have invariably been a scorefest.

But the context of Dr Crokes' winning tally must be set against their opponents, the champions of one of the most competitive county club scenes around.

Crokes' joint-manager Vince Casey acknowledged that it was the best display from their forwards at any stage in the club's history and was a resounding endorsement of their kicking style.

Casey believes that the standard of club football at this level, thanks to Crossmaglen's exploits, is higher than at any stage in the past.

"The standard of club football now is definitely at a higher level. Crossmaglen are a serious machine, an inter-county team, and you have Brigid's on the far side. In Leinster, you have an emerging team from Dublin, Ballymun, and Portlaoise, who are seasoned campaigners as well. Tir Chonaill Gaels are going to be no pushovers for us on Sunday week either.

"London football is getting stronger, unfortunately due to the economic climate here there are more quality players out there."

Casey admitted that the memory of losing to Crossmaglen in a gripping All-Ireland semi-final last February is driving Crokes to new levels this year.

"It's driving the lads on, but these lads want to win every game every time they go out. Of course, it's driving them on because it's the one thing that's missing off their CV. I played in the '91 team and people say that we were the best team, but this is the best team.

"They have won three county championships in a row, which is phenomenal for a club team in Kerry. They have won Munster back-to-back."

There is no rest for Crokes as they bid for another O'Donoghue Cup success on Sunday and, with the Tir Chonaill game on the following weekend, it means that some of them will have been involved in matches on 11 of the last 12 weekends.

"We have spoken about the strength of our panel and there's no way we are going to put out the same 15 players next weekend. But our focus is Sunday week and if we need to rest a few players, we'll do that."

Irish Independent

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