Indeed, the score that separated the sides was an issue of debate, as St Kieran’s contested the manner in which Colm Cooper laid the ball off to substitute PJ Lawlor for Crokes’ second goal in the 44th minute — believing the ball was thrown.
Crokes needed Ambrose O’Donovan to come off the bench and slot over two scores in a narrow one-point win. Dr Crokes knew they would be in a battle inside the opening minute when Thomas Hickey scored St Kieran’s’ opening goal. The hosts scored the opening 1-2 in proceedings before Crokes reeled off five unanswered points to level the match.
St Kieran’s weren’t for turning however, getting a penalty in the 12th minute after Tomás Lynch was fouled. Although Shane Murphy was equal to Thomas Hickey’s spot-kick, Phillip O’Connor blasted in the rebound to put the hosts ahead by 2-2 to 0-5. Crokes finally found the net and Gavin O’Shea beat Ó Ciardubháin and give the visitors a 1-10 to 2-4 lead at the break.
The hosts maintained the momentum in the second period, James Walsh scoring their third goal in the 36th minute to put them 3-6 to 1-11 ahead.
Crucially Crokes hit 1-3 without reply. Kieran’s fought back to within a point on a number of occasions but could not find the score that would have forced extra-time.
Ambrose O’Donovan came on in the 50th minute for Eoin Brosnan and his two points were calming scores as their opponents were putting on the pressure at the other end.
Matters nearly boiled over on a number of occasions in the second half as St Kieran’s certainly tested Crokes physically but the Killarney side just had enough resolve to see things through. The victors will be happy to be straight into the quarter-finals after the opening two weekends, the competition parked for them now until after Kerry finish their All-Ireland campaign, when they should have Johnny Buckley back.
Despite the result, St Kieran’s will be happy with their form, giving them plenty to build on for the third round. That’s due to be played after the Munster final when they should have former Kerry defender Padraig Reidy back.
G O’Shea, PJ Lawlor (1-0 each), C Cooper (2 frees) and T Brosnan (0-3 each), J Doolan, B Looney (2 ‘45’s), A O’Donovan (0-2 each), D Casey, S Doolan, E Brosnan and K O’Leary (0-1 each).
T Hickey (1-4, 3 frees), A Barry (0-5, 4 frees), P O’Connor and J Walsh (1-0 each), M Hickey, T O’Leary and A Breen (0-1 each).
S Óg Ó Ciardubháin (Cordal); D O’Sullivan (Currow), S Fitzmaurice (Brosna), J O’Connor (Currow); J Walsh (Knocknagoshel), B Lynch (Desmonds), E Kiely (Brosna); S Scanlon (Currow), M Hickey (Desmonds); T O’Leary (Currow), A Breen (Ballymacelligott), T Lynch (Desmonds); A Barry (Brosna), P O’Connor (Cordal), T Hickey (Desmonds)
D O’Shea (Currow) for O’Leary (34); M Hanafin (do) for B Lynch (46); M McCarthy (do) for Scanlon; V Horan (Ballymacelligott) for T Lynch (both 58).
S Murphy; J Payne, M Moloney, F Fitzgerald; S Doolan, A O’Sullivan, M Milner; E Brosnan, D Casey; J Doolan, G O’Shea, B Looney; C Cooper, K O’Leary, T Brosnan.
D O’Leary for S Doolan; PJ Lawlor for O’Sullivan (both 38), J Kiely for Looney (40); C Fitzgerald for Payne (49); A O’Donovan for E Brosnan (50).
P O’Sullivan (Dromid Pearses).