The Kerry champs may be favourites but the goals seem to be drying up…..
1. Crokes hungry for goals
Pat O’Shea rested a number of key players for last Saturday’s O’Donoghue Cup quarter-final against Kilcummin and his side very nearly fell to what would have been a shock defeat.
Kilcummin led by five points at half-time and squandered a number of second half opportunities to put the tie to bed. In the end, a late strike by Man of the Match Tony Brosnan was enough to seal the deal and Kilcummin were left to wonder what might have been.
There were no goals for the Crokes last weekend and, interestingly, they’ve now failed to find the net in three consecutive outings. Up until the county final, they had only drawn a blank in four of their 18 games this season and had scored more than one goal on 13 occasions.
It’s a worrying statistic for the Kerrymen and one they’ll be hoping to put right on Sunday.
2. Can Kilmurry-Ibrickane cause an upset?
In short, probably not. At 1/10, Crokes are overwhelming favourites to do the business today and it would be a huge upset if the Clare team came to Killarney and unseated the reigning All-Ireland champions.
Having said that, KIB have now won back-to-back County Championships and have a record comparable to that of the Crokes in terms of domestic honours. They’ve claimed eight county titles since 2000 and actually won out Munster twice in that period (2004 and 2009).
Their aim will be to keep things quiet at the back and hope the accurate kicking of the likes of Keelan Sexton and Ian McInerney is enough to get them over the line. It’s a tall order to say the least.
3. Renewing old acquaintances
These two sides also met in last year’s Munster Championship as Crokes ran out 1-14 to 0-8 winners up in Quilty. Daithí Casey top-scored for the Crokes that day with 1-2 while Colm Cooper added three points in a fairly comfortable victory.
It was the third ever meeting between the sides with the Crokes winning the two previous encounters in 2011 and 2012 by narrow margins.
4. The other side
On the other side of the draw, Cork kingpins Nemo Rangers take on Limerick champions Adare in Mallow on Sunday (2.45pm). Nemo are even stronger favourites than the Crokes (1/15) to advance to the Munster Final having narrowly defeated St Finbarr’s in their county final after a replay.
Tomás Ó Sé kicked a point in that decider and the Kerry legend could very well be preparing for a showdown with a certain Crokes forward on November 26.
5. Legion waiting in the wings
The big games keep on coming for the Crokes and they’ll have one eye on a huge O’Donoghue Cup semi-final against fierce rivals Legion next weekend.
Legion have already sampled success this year by topping Division 2 and returning to the top flight of the County League at the first time of asking. It must be difficult for Alan O’Neill’s men to keep the momentum going with so little competitive football being played recently but victory in this one, and a shot at an O’Donoghue Cup Final, would be massive for the players.
Crokes may have had the upper hand in the past couple of encounters but these games are always keenly contested and this Legion group will certainly hold no fear of their high-flying near neighbours.