The Killarney side were out of the blocks quickly, taking a 1-2 to 0-0 lead after only three minutes with Brian Looney notching the goal. Dr Crokes led 2-9 to 1-5, with Gavin O’Shea getting a second goal in the 26th minute and Sean Ryan had a goal three minutes earlier for Stacks.
Eoin Brosnan shadowed Kieran Donaghy but Fionn Fitzgerald was the glue that kept Crokes together at the back.
Austin Stacks were left to play catch-up for the rest of the game but they scared the favourite’s midway through the second half with two goals in two minutes, the first a dipping shot from Michael O’Donnellwhich deceived the keeper.
Sixty seconds later Shane O’Callaghan finished off a move to leave just a point between the sides.
However errors proved costly for Stacks as a poor kick-out saw Jordan Kiely nip in to snatch a goal and while Stacks and Crokes created chances, Crokes had that extra confidence in front of goal and were the more clinical finishers.
Crokes, despite losing David and Kieran O’Leary to red cards, and Stacks losing Denis McElligott, finished the stronger to take the delayed 2015 title.
B Looney ( 1-2, 2’45’s), C Cooper ( 0-4, 2 f), G O’Shea and J Kiely 1-0 each, D Casey ( 0-3, 2f), K O’Leary (0-2), F Fitzgerald, M Milner, C Brady and M Burns( 0-1 each)
S Ryan ( 1-1), M O’Donnell and S O’Callaghan ( 1-0 each) , D Mannix ( 0-2 1 free), K Donaghy ( 0-2), C Jordan, D McElligott, G Horan, D Bohan ( 0-1 each.
A Kelly; J Payne, F Fitzgerald, D O’Leary; PJ Lawlor, M Moloney, Mike Milner; E Brosnan, J Buckley; K O’Leary, G O’Shea, B Looney; C Cooper, D Casey , Chris Brady.
J Kiely for Brady (40 mins), M Burns for O’Shea (45mins), S Doolan for Lawlor (54 mins), C Fitzgerald for Buckley (60 mins).
B Galvin, B Walsh, F McNamara, J O’Shea; P McCarthy, C Jordan, D McElligott ; W Guthrie, M O’Donnell; G Horan, S O’Callaghan, D Bohan; S Ryan, K Donaghy, A Nestor. Subs: D Mannix for Nestor (h/t), S Carroll for Bohan (39 mins), C Griffin for Walsh (42 mins), S Guthrie for Ryan (57 mins).
B Griffin (Clounmacon)
In the rest of the Division 1 action, Milltown/Castlemaine defeated newcomers Kenmare 1-13 to 0-14.
All-Ireland Junior Champions Templenoe started off life in the top flight with a 2-16 to 2-11 win over John Mitchels while Kerins O’Rahilly’s just got the better of Glenbeigh/Glencar, 0-12 to 0-10.