Saturday 25 November 2017

We'll find Nemo a tough nut to crack

Daithi Casey believes Dr Crokes must start matches better. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Daithi Casey believes Dr Crokes must start matches better. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

His Dr Crokes side have been rampant for the previous 60 minutes of action in their Munster club SFC semi-final win over Clare champions Kilmurry-Ibrickane but Daithí Casey has been around the block too often to get carried away.

The Killarney kingpins scored an impressive 2-19 on their home patch and conceded just 10 points.

On another day they might have added another three or four goals had they been more clinical. Casey admits that there is plenty to be pleased about but strikes a cautious note nonetheless.

"I suppose we did miss a lot of chances we would normally take," he reflected.

"I know I gave Kieran O'Leary a hard time about one or two of them but going forward you need to be taking all those chances because a goal is a big score, especially at this time of year. That is something we will be working on."

He warned that Crokes could have been punished for being so wasteful in front of goal as they missed three gilt-edged chances in the opening 30 minutes.

"There is a standard set in the Crokes and if we don't finish those chances you are giving the other team oxygen and a chance to stay in the game.

"If we got a few goals early we would have killed the game completely."

The reigning All-Ireland champions looked to be in total control after Johnny Buckley's goal on 15 minutes, with Casey particularly pleased with how they started the game.

"We played well in the second half against Clonmel and the first half against South Kerry but I suppose it was a bit more of a complete performance and we played well for maybe 50 or 55 minutes," Casey reflected.

"It was more of a complete performance from the start and that was a big thing - to start well.

"We haven't started well - bar South Kerry - all through the championship so that was a big thing for us against Kilmurry - that we got ahead and then they would have to come out and play.

"They are a team that like to mind the ball so they had to come out and play a bit more and go for goal and that left it free for us."

It feels like they have found something close to top gear but now Nemo Rangers, the province's most decorated club, loom large on the horizon in Sunday week's Munster final.

And Casey reckons it's exactly the sort of challenge that will refocus minds around Lewis Road.

"That's the big thing that we have learned from three (All-Ireland) semi-final defeats, you just can't take anything for granted in club football - it all comes down to the performance on a specific day.

"The big thing is we have taken our eye off the ball in the past and we have decided that, 'look, it's one step at a time' and whatever happens happens going forward."

Brilliant

Buckley produced a man-of-the-match performance as this summer's Kerry captain lorded the skies at midfield and grabbed a brilliant individual goal.

Colm Cooper helped himself to 0-9 (6f) on a day when the Killarney men had 10 different scorers while the likes of Gavin White caused the Clare men constant problems when bombing forward from the half-back line.

Casey reckons some young faces have taken on more responsibility since they won their All-Ireland club title on St Patrick's Day.

"All along we haven't been playing as well this year as we were last year at the same stage," he said.

"But definitely fellas have matured. The likes of Micheál (Burns), Gavin White is a year older, we are all a year older and the experience of last year has helped and there is a confidence in the group and there is maturity."

The silverware has kept coming and they have run up some big numbers these last few years.

Last Sunday was their 17th straight championship win while they have 14 consecutive wins in Munster.

That run stretches back to 2010 when they lost to Sunday week's opponents Nemo.

"I remember we had an atrocious first half," Casey recalled. "Nemo, at the time, they absolutely blitzed us in the first half. They were a very powerful team.

"David Niblock had a massive game at midfield and everything they kicked went over in the first half and everything we kicked in the second half went over.

"We have a lot of respect for Nemo, they are one of the top teams in Ireland, their record speaks for itself so we won't be underestimating anything or any team going forward.

"We are in for a huge game. They will want to play football and they will want to play football so it should make for an exciting game."

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