Dr Crokes will play East Kerry in next Sunday’s Kerry SFC final after getting the better of South Kerry in today’s semi-final replay.
Crokes will bid for their second four-in-a-row of county titles next weekend, what will be their fourth game in as many weekends such has been the condensed nature of this year’s county championship in the Kingdom.
Crokes appeared to be pulling out of sight early in the second-half of this replay when a pair of Tony Brosnan points, one a glorious kick off his left, put six between them. South Kerry came right back into contention, though, following a mistake by Crokes keeper Shane Murphy. He failed to deal with a Conor O’Shea high ball, possession squirted out to Niall O’Shea and he finished from close range.
That reduced the deficit to a single score (1-8 to 1-5) but, credit to Crokes, they answered with four of the next five points from Brian Looney, Micheál Burns (0-2), and Daithi Casey to shift momentum back in their favour.
South Kerry required a second goal to again revive their cause, but they were unable to find a way through. The Killarney men finished with points from Casey and Brosnan to leave them within one hour of an eighth county title this decade.
Crokes had led 1-6 to 0-5 at the break, three points in-a-row approaching the interval opening up a small bit of daylight between the sides.
Both teams would have had grievances at half-time. Crokes had one goal on the board, but could - and possibly should - have had two more. In the play directly after Michael Potts’ 12th minute goal, Gavin White, who had been the architect of their opening green flag, again tore through the heart of the South Kerry defence. The Kerry captain offloaded to Daithi Casey, but he was held up in the square. Crokes argued for a penalty. None was forthcoming.
Their third goal chance arrived on 16 minutes, Micheál Burns put in the clear by a Shane Murphy restart which travelled over the cluster of bodies around midfield. Burns’ low drive, however, hit off Killian Young and stayed out.
South Kerry were similarly wasteful, Bryan Sheehan enduring a rare off day from the placed-ball. He kicked four first-half wides, three of which were frees. There was a fourth free, towards the end of the half, which dropped short. He didn’t last the hour, substituted in the second half because of injury.
Potts’ aforementioned goal had shoved the three-in-a-row champions into a 1-2 to 0-2 lead. South Kerry responded well, with well-worked scores from the lively Niall O’Shea and Daniel Daly cutting the deficit back to the minimum.
Daithi Casey (free) and O’Shea subsequently swapped white flags, before three-in-a-row from Brosnan (0-2) and Potts put Crokes in the driving seat heading into the second period.
T Brosnan (0-6, 0-2 frees); D Casey (0-4, 0-1 free); M Potts (1-1); M Burns (0-2); B Looney (0-1).
N O’Shea (1-3); Daniel Daly (0-3); B O’Sullivan, C Keating (0-2).
S Murphy; J Payne, M Moloney, F Fitzgerald; M Potts, D O’Leary, G White; J Buckley, M O’Shea; M Burns, G O’Shea, B Looney; T Brosnan, D Casey, K O’Leary.
D Naughton for D O’Leary (24 mins); A O’Sullivan for K O’Leary (HT); J Lyons for Payne (63, inj); M Milner for Casey (64); J Griffin for Burns (67).
P O’Sullivan (Skellig Rangers); K Young (Renard), F Clifford (Waterville), B Sugrue (Renard); M Griffin (St Michael’s Foilmore), P O’Sullivan (Dromid Pearses), R Wharton (Renard); B Sheehan (St Mary’s), G O’Sullivan (Dromid Pearses); B O’Sullivan (Valentia), D Daly (St Mary’s), C O’Shea (St Mary’s); C Keating (Skellig Rangers), D Daly (St Mary’s), N O’Shea (Dromid Pearses).
D O’Sullivan (St Mary’s) for Sheehan (47 mins, inj); C Farley (Dromid Pearses) for C Keating (49); S O’Dwyer (Waterville) for Wharton (57); D O’Donoghue (Dromid Pearses) for N O’Shea (60).