Dr Crokes 2-13 Dingle 0-08
Three is the magic number for Dr Crokes but it also proved the easiest as they won their third consecutive Kerry SFC title with consummate ease.
Held up against their previous wins over Austin Stacks and Mid Kerry, respectively, there was no comparison as they ran out comfortable winners.
With 10 minutes left and Daithí Casey becoming the sixth and final Crokes forward to register a point to put his side nine ahead, those patrons not of a black and amber persuasion began to filter out of Austin Stack Park.
With the benefit of hindsight, it was actually 10 minutes in that Dingle’s day looked over when Colm Cooper had laid on goals for Chris Brady and Brian Looney to help them into a 2-4 to 0-2 lead.
A professionally-minded team like Crokes were never going to surrender such an advantage and as it turned out, the closest Dingle got to them was six points.
One statistic gleefully mentioned among the club’s joyous throngs afterwards was that they haven’t been beaten by another club in the county in seven years. A truly remarkable run.
This morning, their minds will be aimed north towards Clare and the prospect of a Munster club championship quarter-final against Kilmurry-Ibrickane on Sunday.
Making light of losing defender Fionn Fitzgerald to food poisoning prior to the game, the champions never lost control of the tie even when they were soaking up Dingle pressure in the latter part of the first half.
Registering three wides before the break, Ambrose O’Donovan’s use of the boot wasn’t great at times but his work-rate was unquestionable and he opened Crokes’ account two minutes in.
Dingle responded via a Paul Geaney point and a Joe Sheehy free but in the next five minutes Crokes showed their frightening potential, bagging 2-3.
After Cooper had supplied Looney for a point, the inter-county star had the vision to spot an unmarked Brady with a quick free and the full forward finished to the net.
Less than a minute later, Cooper was again involved in an exciting attacking move which saw some hard running from Looney matched by an equally impressive finish from last season’s captain.
Cooper turned from provider to finisher to lob over a point after a quality low delivery in from Johnny Buckley and then Looney, a deserving man of the match, found his range once more.
Why Dingle didn’t see fit to combat the wind facing them and sweep in front of Cooper is a mystery but the Killarney men certainly lapped it up.
Nineteen minutes past before Crokes scored again as Dingle slowly found their feet. They went the same amount of time between scores, David Geaney ending that barren spell on 23 minute.
Four minutes later, Paul Geaney picked off their best score of the game when some hard work from Michael Geaney gave Sheehy the opportunity to deliver a peach of a pass into the inside forward line.
Paul Geaney scored again with a free in the last minute of first half’s normal time but Crokes pointed either side of it through Luke Quinn and Kieran O’Leary from an acute angle.
That left it 2-6 to 0-5 at half-time and even with Dingle set to benefit from the conditions, Crokes had scored more and conceded less facing a similar gale in the semi-final against Laune Rangers.
O’Leary and Looney pointed to stretch Crokes’ lead to nine by the 35th minute.
Michael Geaney, along with Paul, fought valiantly against an increasingly ominous prospect and fired over a score two minutes later.
A Cooper free neutralised that and while both those Geaney’s split the posts successively in the 42nd and 43rd minutes the latter, a Paul Geaney point, turned out to be Dingle’s last of the game.
From there on in it was all Crokes, Jamie Doolan and Casey becoming the last of their attack to raise flags. Cooper booted his third of the game with seven minutes left to extend his team’s lead into double figures and he was on hand in injury-time to, just like he did in the semi-final when they were also rounding off a win, set up substitute Gavin O’Shea for a point.
Scorers for Dr Crokes: B Looney 1-3; C Brady 1-0; C Cooper (1f) 0-3; K O’Leary 0-2; A O’Donovan, L Quinn, J Doolan, D Casey, G O’Shea 0-1 each.
Scorers for Dingle: P Geaney 0-4 (1f); M Geaney 0-2; J Sheehy (free), D Geaney 0-1 each.
DR CROKES: D Moloney; J Payne, L Quinn, M Moloney; S Doolan, E Brosnan, S Myers; A O’Donovan, J Buckley; K O’Leary, D Casey, B Looney; J Doolan, C Brady, C Cooper.
Subs: G O’Shea for Brady (55); D O’Leary for Looney, A Kenneally for S Doolan (both 58).
DINGLE: S Ó Flatharta; TB Brosnan, J Murphy, G Curran; Paul Devane, B Kelliher, JB Brosnan; CB Moriarty, D O’Sullivan; J Sheehy, M Geaney, R Begley; P Geaney, B O’Connor, D Geaney.
Subs: A Devane for Murphy (17); P Devane for Begley (h-t); B O’Connell for P Devane (38); J Kelliher for M Geaney (inj 55); P Fitzmaurice for Moriarty (59).
Referee: Paul Hayes (Kerins O’Rahillys).
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