O'Leary steers Dr Crokes to semi-finals
A LATE score from Kerry senior star Kieran O'Leary pointed defending champions Dr Crokes into the Kerry SFC semi-finals at the expense of a Kieran Donaghy-driven Austin Stacks in an epic quarter-final yesterday, by 1-14 to 1-13.
Kerry star Donaghy looked to have rescued Austin Stacks, in what was a repeat of last year's county final, when he goaled with six minutes left to tie the games at 1-12, with Dr Crokes having led by 1-11 to 0-7 early in the second half.
But in a tense finale, Kingdom team-mates O'Leary and Donaghy swapped scores before O'Leary, who finished with 1-4, kicked the winner, on a day when Colm Cooper failed to score for Dr Crokes.
This Austin Stacks loss frees Donaghy up to represent Ireland in the International Rules series, should he be named in the final panel.
Meanwhile, Tommy Walsh's hopes of returning to the AFL with St Kilda with a club winner's medal are over after Kerins O'Rahillys were dumped out of the Kerry championship at the quarter-final stage, losing 1-10 to 0-8 to West Kerry on Saturday night. Walsh, who scored 0-1, was well marshalled by West Kerry's Marc Ó Sé.
Also, 2008 champions Mid Kerry booked their place in the last four with a comfortable 0-15 to 0-7 victory over Rathmore in Killarney yesterday.
Mid Kerry had too much firepower as Sean O'Sullivan hit 0-4, but Darran O'Sullivan limped off with a hamstring injury which puts his International Rules place in doubt.
The semi-final draw, with the games to be played this Saturday, sees Dr Crokes meet West Kerry, while East Kerry face Mid Kerry.