Allstar Colm Cooper showed no ill-effects from his recent groin injury as he helped Dr Crokes to a facile victory over Listowel in the Kerry SFC at Lewis Road on Saturday evening (3-18 to 1-7).
The Killarney side struggled in the opening stages as veterans Tom Walsh and Stephen Stack along with full-forward Brian Scanlon were causing plenty of anxiety for the home outfit.
However, with his intercounty boss watching on, Cooper kept Crokes in touch with some superb kicking and his defence-splitting ball to Aidan O’Shea helped them draw level on 27 minutes (0-5 to 1-2).
Crokes then produced a sensational four-minute spell that set up victory. In the 29th minute, James Fleming found Cooper who in turn fed the in-rushing Eanna Kavanagh. Kavanagh drew the cover, before parting to young Michael O’Grady, who blasted the ball to the Listowel net. Within minutes, Aidan O’Shea launched a neat pass, which was misjudged by Liam Keane and allowed Cooper the simplest of tap-ins past Shane Quinn to give his side a 2-6 to 1-3 interval lead.
The second half was a complete non-event with Listowel raising the white flag, and Crokes moving with menace as Cahilhane, Moran, Kavanagh, O’Shea, Crowley, Cooper and especially young O’Grady on target.
Feale Rangers, weakened without their Listowel contingent exited the championship with little more than a whimper, as they went down to a South Kerry (0-11 to 0-9).
The positives were very hard to find in a game which barely rose above the mundane, but if South Kerry are to take one from this match, it is that they still won despite an off-day from the mercurial Maurice Fitzgerald whose first-minute pointed free was followed by two wide efforts and a stray “45.”
To their credit, Feale Rangers kept with their opponents for much of the first half, with county full-back
Eamon Fitzmaurice trying to create from the back, and Jackie Mulvihill supplying the accuracy up front. South Kerry had a little more class to their play with John Shanahan, John D O’Shea and Kerry panellist Declan O’Sullivan all getting on the score sheet. Fitzmaurice kept the North Kerry men in touch, but in the end, his hard work was fruitless.
Meanwhile, a much hungrier John Mitchels advanced to the last 16 of the Kerry SFC at the expense of Castleisland Desmonds on Saturday evening in Tralee (1-10 to 0-8).
Central to their success was the selection of captain Anthony Gleeson at full forward. He utilised his physical presence and experience to good effect and netted the games only goal in the 37th minute, after collecting a long pass from man of the match Paul Coffey.
Desmonds by comparison were completely reliant on Barry O’Neill and Kevin Lynch up-front to land their scores.
Despite losing their second game in the championship, Desmonds are still not out and will confront Listowel in the losers round.
There was further good news for fans of the county side as Séamus Scanlon was inspirational for St Kieran’s who overcame Shannon Rangers to claim a place in the last 16 in this year’s competition (1-10 to 1-08).
Sloppy defensive play by the Rangers full-back line gifted Eamonn J O’Donoghue a goal-scoring opportunity in the 5th minute and he took it in fine style. They consolidated that lead with four points, from Paul Galvin, Tom McGoldrick, impressive wing back Séamus Flynn and Jack Dennehy. Mark Hannon and Denis Kiely replied for the losers to leave the half-time score, 1-5 to 0-3.
With Séamus Flynn to the fore in defence, Scanlon excelling at midfield, Paul Galvin and Jack Dennehy in sparkling form in the attack, the Saints were in the ascendancy, and enjoyed a six points cushion, approaching the final quarter.
Rangers received some compensation for the disallowed goals when they goaled from a dubious penalty award in the 49th minute. But the winners rose their game and responded with two points from their two outstanding players, Séamus Scanlon and Paul Galvin to leave them deserving winners.