Donal Barry was at Lewis Road to see yet another epic encounter between Dr. Crokes and Kerins O’Rahillys as both sides went after the last remaining prize of the year, the Credit Union County League Division 1 Shield.
Dr Crokes 2-20 Kerins O’Rahillys 3-12 (AET)
Dr Crokes added yet another Division 1 Football county league title to their collection on Sunday last at Lewis Road but it took a considerable amount of time and effort by the newly crowned Munster Senior Club champions to get over the line, after stubborn resistance and a bucket load of spirit by Kerins O’Rahillys.
Having met already twice in the Garvey’s Senior Football championship, with both sides boasting a victory, there was always going to be a certain amount of intrigue about this December fixture and it did not let down the small but vocal crowd for its entertainment value throughout.
With Kerry Manager Peter Keane in the crowd, it provided a platform for some players to be noticed and Gavin O’Brien certainly took his with both hands. An early trademark run from the centre of the field yielded a goal for him and Dr. Crokes seemed under pressure. Despite the veteran Eoin Brosnan taking up duties on Tommy Walsh, it was Rahilly’s who piled on the early pressure which saw them 1-3 to 0-0 clear, with the Killarney side reduced to 14, when John Payne received his marching orders from Referee Johnathan Griffin.
Griffin was certainly determined to lay down the law early with a number of flashed yellows before he sent Dr Crokes Manager Pat O’Shea to the stand. In the second half, O’Rahillys selector Mark Fitzgerald would join him.
Still Crokes took it all in their stride and they were back in the contest when Daithi Casey scored from the rebound after his penalty was well saved by Gary Kissane on the 19th minute. A flurry of points for Crokes followed and a Micheál Burns stuck for another goal for the 14 men to give them a four-point advantage.
If O’Brien was catching the eye in the blue corner, so too was Micheal Burns for the Killarney side who went on to score 1-4
However not to be outdone Tommy Walsh, a minute later rose another green flag for Stand Road who trailed at the break 2-6 to 2-5.
Midway through the second half and it seemed like there was only one winner after Dr. Crokes hit five unanswered points to give them their biggest lead of the day. Their seven point advantage (2-13 to 2-6) was well deserved especially with Shane Murphy keeping the Blues out with a pair of fine saves in the early embers of the second half.
Not for the first time in the contest, the momentum swung back to Rahilly’s. Jack Savage converted from the penalty spot and late points by Cormac Coffey and Barry John Keane ensured that extra time would be needed.
Maybe it was the fact that Crokes were back to their full complement or that Rahilly’s had been six weeks without a competitive game, but the Tralee side looked a weary side in the opening period of extra time and the home side outscored them 0-3 to 0-0, and they further stretched that lead in the second period to run out five point winners.
Dr Crokes: Shane Murphy, John Payne (Capt), Eoin Brosnan, Jason Lyne, David O’Leary, Gavin White, Michael Potts, Johnny Buckley, Daithi Casey 1-5 (0-4 frees, 1-0 Pen, 0-1) Micheal Burns 1-4, Gavin O’Shea 0-1, Brian Looney 0-1, Colm Cooper 0-2, Kieran O’Leary 0-1, Tony Brosnan 0-4 (0-1 free)
Subs: Brian Fitzgerald, Jordan Kiely 0-1, Alan O’Sullivan, Shane Doolan, Mark O’Shea 0-1.
Kerins O’Rahilly’s: Gary Kissane, Danny O’Sullivan, Ross O’Callaghan, David Murphy, Chucky Carroll, Karl Mullins, Cormac Coffey (0-01), Tom Hoare, David Moran, Gavin O’Brien (1-0), Jack Savage (1-08,6fs, pen), Darragh McElligott, Barry John Keane(0-03), Tommy Walsh (1-0), John Ferguson.
Subs: Gearoid Savage, Gearóid Dillane and Jason O’Leary.
Referee: Johnathan Griffin