One final piece of silverware from 2018 for Dr Crokes and in convincing fashion at that, as they won the battle of the Munster Club Champions with Intermediate winners Kilcummin to win their 30th East Kerry SFC title in total and a first since 2013 for the club, at the Fitzgerald Stadium Killarney on Saturday afternoon.
Eoin Brosnan and Colm Cooper won their 12th medals as well in the competition but it was two goals from 10-time medal winner Kieran O’Leary just before half-time that guided the Killarney side towards a 15 point lead at the half-time interval, 2-11 to 0-2 and it had become 22 by the final whistle.
Dr Crokes even without Johnny Buckley (on honeymoon), Michael Moloney, Colm Cooper and Tony Brosnan had far too much firepower for a below-par Kilcummin who were without Kerry senior star Kevin McCarthy and Philip Casey and then lost Kerry U-20 defender Sean O’Leary after minutes through injury.
It was one-way traffic throughout as Crokes had ten different scorers, and all bar four points came from play and David Shaw and Tony Brosnan came off the bench scoring three points with David Shaw tapping over late on when he would have hit the net in a tighter game.
Crokes dominated from the start with Daithí Casey winning good ball at midfield and with Micheál Burns, Gavin O’Shea and Brian Looney punching holes in the Kilcummin defence, Crokes put their opponents away like they had done Cork champions St Finbarr’s in the Munster Club.
Crokes raced 0-11 to 0-2 clear by the 25th minute with a succession of points from Jordan Kiely (3), Micheál Burns (3), Daithí Casey (3) and one each from Shane Doolan and Mark O’Shea with Matt Keane replying for Kilcummin with 0-2 from placed balls.
Then enter Kieran O’Leary with a two-goal salvo that deflated a struggling Kilcummin anyway but there was no way back when n the 29th minute former Kerry senior captain O’Leary finished a move started by Daithí Casey, carried on by Gavin O’Shea and Brian Looney who found Jordan Kiely and his back out to O’Leary was powerfully rocketed to the Kilcummin net with his left foot and no keeper would have saved. In injury-time O’Leary got a second and Dr Crokes held an unassailable half lead of 2-11 to 0-2.
Kiely, Burns and Looney had all added points before Noel Duggan got Kilcummin’s first point for play in the 39th minute. Then in the 40th minute, Shane Doolan put Jordan Kiely through and player deputising for Colm Cooper crashed the ball to the Kilcummin net.
Crokes now began to empty their bench which would normally mean some sort of respite for the opposition but when its artillery like David Shaw who kicked two points and Tony Brosnan who added another along with Michael Potts, then one had to feel sympathy for the losers.
They struck for a goal themselves through substitute Oscar O’Connor in the 54th minute but only Matt Keane with 0-6 could feel happy with his performance as Kilcummin must pick up the pieces for their All-Ireland Club semi-final against Two Mile House on Jan 20th in Limerick.
Meanwhile, Dr Crokes will be given a few days off as they have an All-Ireland senior club semi-final against surprise packets Mullinalaghta St Columba's who had representatives at the game.
Scorers: Dr Crokes; J Kiely ( 1-5), K O’Leary ( 2-0), M Burns ( 0-6), D Casey ( 0-5, 3 frees), S Doolan and D Shaw ( 0-2 each), B Looney, T Brosnan, M O’Shea and S Murphy ( f) ( 0-1 each)
Kilcummin; M Keane (0-6, 2’45’s, 1 free), O O’Connor (1-0), N Duggan and K Murphy (f) (0-1 each)
DR CROKES: S Murphy; J Payne, E Brosnan, F Fitzgerald ; D O’Leary, G White, S Doolan; J Lyne, D Casey; M Burns G O’Shea, B Looney; J Kiely, K O’Leary, M O’Shea
Subs: D Shaw for M O’Shea (37), A O’Sullivan for J Lyne (40), B Fitzgerald for J Payne (40), D Naughton for G O’Shea (46), T Brosnan for K O’Leary (52), M Potts for B Looney (52)
KILCUMMIN: B Kealy; S O’Leary, D Maher, D Moynihan; J Nagle, Damien O’Leary, W Maher; K Murphy, K Gorman; S McSweeney, G O’Leary, K Teahan; N Duggan, I Devane, M Keane
Subs; Daniel O’Leary for S O’Leary (15 inj),J McCarthy for I Devane ( h/t), O O’Connor for K Teahan ( 43), M O’Shea for W Maher ( 43), S Brosnan for Daniel O’Leary ( 47), P O’Riordan for N Duggan ( 55)
Referee: James O’Sullivan (Firies)