THE Dr Crokes senior team just continues winning. In home territory yesterday they brushed aside the challenge of newly crowned Clare champions Kilmurry-Ibrickane (KIB) to win this Munster Club SFC semi-final setting up a final date with Nemo Rangers. It was one-way traffic all the way in this 2-19 to 0-10 victory. Crokes have won 17 championship games and this is their 14th consecutive win in Munster. They have met the Clare men on four occasions in recent years and they have been victorious in all of the games.
On a splendidly prepared pitch and in front of a big attendance Crokes asserted superiority from the outset, especially at midfield where Johnny Buckley reigned supreme even against a third midfielder employed by the Clare side. Buckley won everything in the air, just not Shane Murphy’s kick-outs but also those by Ian McInerney from the Clare kick outs. Fittingly Buckley strode in to one of the Crokes attacks and scored the first goal of the game in the 16th minute.
Ambrose O’Donovan, his midfield partner, was deservedly black carded after 18 minutes and Tony Brosnan was his replacement. At half-time Crokes led 1-11 to 0-4, but this 10-point lead should have been much greater. They missed out on a further 2-4.
Star play by Buddy
David O’Leary and Gavin White were magnificent in defence confining KIB to a mere four points. Crokes ‘keeper Shane Murphy was taken off in the 27th minute after a dangerous high tackle from Keelan Sexton. He was replaced between the posts by Johnny O’Leary in a seamless transition. O’Leary did well when he came on. The contest was really over at half time and even with the aid of a strong wind blowing in to the town end Crokes responded well to the two early second half points by the Clare men. Colm Cooper kept kicking over those frees. In all he scored nine points, six from frees.
Kieran O’Leary was first to pounce on a ball that the KIB keeper failed to deal with. Another goal for Crokes. Time to empty the bench. Shane Doolan, Paul Clarke, Jonathan Lyne and the ageless veteran Eoin Brosnan came on for game time as Crokes cruised in to yet another Munster Club final. Full forward Mark McCarthy was the best of the loser’s side. They will meet Nemo Rangers their old Cork rivals in that final on Sunday, October 26. Nemo outclassed Adare 2-17 to 0-4 in their semi-final.
No rest for Crokes as they meet Legion their fellow town rivals on Sunday in the O’Donoghue Cup semi-final. The throw in time is 2pm. Rathmore have already qualified for the final just edging out Gneeveguilla in last Saturday’s semi-final. Scorers for Dr Crokes: C Cooper (0-9, 6 frees); K O’Leary (1-1); J Buckley (1-0); M Burns, G O’Shea (0-2 each); D O’Leary, G White, B Looney, D Casey, T Brosnan (0-1 each). Dr Crokes: S Murphy; J Payne, M Moloney, G White; L Quinn, F Fitzgerald, D O’Leary; J Buckley, A O’Donovan; M Burns, G O’Shea, B Looney; K O’Leary, D Casey, C Cooper; subs: T Brosnan for O’Donovan (18 minutes, black card); J O’Leary for Murphy (27, inj); S Doolan for Looney (46); P Clarke for K O’Leary (50); J Lyne for Quinn (52); E Brosnan for Cooper (55).
Above: Kieran O’Leary,Dr Crokes, breaks away from Martin McMahon, Kilmurry Ibrickane, in the Munster Club football semi-final at Lewis Road, Killarney on Sunday. Picture: Eamonn Keogh