Dr Crokes were in devastating form as they consigned their Croke Park nightmare of last March to the dustbin with a crushing victory over local East Kerry rivals, Rathmore, at Fitzgerald Stadium yesterday evening.
It was Crokes at their clinical best as they served warning that the four in a row chase is very much a realistic ambition. The only mitigating factor for Rathmore was the absence of injured Kerry captain Paul Murphy, who was confined to water carrying duties.
It was also evident that Tony Brosnan is a serious talent as he amassed 1-10 of his 1-11 haul from play. Crokes had nine different scorers and could still leave the likes of Jordan Kiely, Billy Courtney and Chris Brady on the bench.
Crokes opened their account inside 40 seconds when Brosnan fired over the first of his six opening half points. With Johnny Buckley and his midfield partner Mark O’Shea dominating, the quicksilver Crokes forward sextet moved with menace.
Crokes had moved 0-8 to 0-2 clear by the end of the opening quarter with Brosnan (4), David Shaw (2) and Micheál Burns all scoring with ease as Rathmore’s only response was points from Brendan O’Keeffe and a Mark Reen free.
Crokes, with their Kerry contingent of Gavin White, David Shaw and Micheál Burns in flying form, kicked points for fun. The crucial score came in 29th minute when Gavin White’s searing run saw him float a pass across the Rathmore goal and the tall Mark O’Shea finished to the net.
Crokes retired 1-15 to 0-5 in front and the second half was purely academic. Despite having to play against a slight wind in the second half, Crokes added 2-11 though Rathmore, with 2-7 of their own, never threw in the towel.
Micheál Burns added a goal and a point to bring his tally to 1-5, Tony Brosnan added another 1-5 while Gavin White, Michael Potts and subs Jack Griffin and Michael Casey also got their names on the score sheet.
Mark Reen and Cathal Murphy got consolation goals for Rathmore while Brendan O’Keeffe kicked two superb points but overall it was not to be their day as Crokes looked at their menacing best.
Scorers for Dr Crokes: T Brosnan (1-11, 1 free); M Burns (1-5); D Shaw (0-4); M O’Shea (1-0); G White (0-2); M Potts, K O’Leary, J Griffin and M Casey (0-1 each)
Scorers for Rathmore: M Reen (1-3, 1 free); C Murphy (1-0); B O’Keeffe (0-3); C Spiers (0-2 frees); C O’Connor, S Ryan, J Moynihan (1 free), D Rahilly (0-1 each)
J O’Leary; D Naughton, M Moloney, F Fitzgerald; M Potts, G White, B Looney; J Buckley, M O’Shea; M Burns, D Shaw, G O’Shea; T Brosnan, D Casey, K O’Leary.
Subs: D O’Leary for D Casey (46), A O’Sullivan for M O’Shea (46), M Casey for J Buckley (49), B Falvey for M Moloney (50), J Griffin for K O’Leary (50), C Doncel for B Looney (54)
K O’Keeffe; T J Friel, M J Kelliher, C Kelly: C O’Connor, B O’Leary, B O’Keeffe; D O’Sullivan, D Rahilly, C Spiers, A Darmody; M Reen, S Ryan, J Moynihan.
Subs: D Fitzgerald for A Darmody (21), C Murphy for D O’Sullivan (h/t), D Murphy for B Moynihan (h/t), T Moynihan for M J Kelliher (48), T Mahony for B O’Leary (53)
Referee: B Griffin (Clounmacon)