Forty-three years of waiting finally ended in victory for Killarney Legion as they won their first East Kerry SFC title since 1976 in convincing fashion.
They also made 2019 a year to forget for rivals Dr Crokes who were losing their fourth major final of the year.
Well drilled by Stephen Stack and Pat Flanagan, Legion dominated the game despite Shane Murphy scoring the first point of the game for Crokes, from a free, in the sixth minute.
James O’Donoghue covered every blade of grass for the winners while Jonathon and Darragh Lyne, Jack O’Neill and Cian Gammell were others to impress in a deserved and overdue success for the club.
However, it was a total of 1-4 off the bench from Thomas Moriarty that was particularly telling.
Moriarty came on after 20 minutes when Jamie O’Sullivan went off injured, but Legion reeled off four points before the break that put them 0-9 to 0-4 ahead.
Crokes were expected to improve with the aid of the second-half breeze, but Legion practically put the game out of sight when scoring the first five points of the second-half to lead by 0-14 to 0-4 after 36 minutes.
Mark O’Shea struck for a Crokes goal in the 39th minute despite Brian Kelly saving Michael Potts’ initial effort.
Then Moriarty goaled for Legion on the three-quarter mark, forcing in a shot that came back off the post.
That made the score 1-15 to 1-4 and with exchanges niggly at times, red cards were shown to Legion’s Shaun Keane and Crokes’ Cillian O’Regan in the 47th minute after a scuffle involving a number of players.
Crokes moved Johnny Buckley to full-forward in search of goals and one did come from him when he punched home a high ball from Daithí Casey in the 54th minute.
O’Shea scored a second goal for himself deep into injury time, while Moriarty put the seal on Legion’s six-point winning margin in the eighth additional minute.
The win was Legion’s fifth East Kerry title overall and was some consolation for three defeats in other East Kerry finals this decade as well as a Kerry SFC Final loss in 2015.
Scorers for Legion: T Moriarty (1-4), J O’Donoghue (1f) & C Keane (3f) (0-4 each), J O’Neill (0-3), J O’Sullivan, D Lyne and D Sheahan (0-1 each)
Scorers for Dr Crokes: M O’Shea (2-0), J Buckley (1-0), D Casey (0-2, 2f), S Murphy (f), M Burns, M Potts and T Brosnan (1f) (0-1 each)
KILLARNEY LEGION: B Kelly; D O’Sullivan, P O’Connor, C Gammell; R Leen, J Lyne, K Slattery; D Lyne, S Keane; J O’Sullivan, B Maguire, J O’Neill; J O’Donoghue, C Keane, P McCarthy
Subs: T Moriarty for J O’Sullivan (20), D Sheahan for Maguire (53), F Murphy for McCarthy (57), P Lucey for C Keane (60 +4) and D O’Doherty for O’Donoghue (60 +7)
DR CROKES: S Murphy; J Payne, M Moloney, D Naughton; C O’Regan, G White, B Looney; J Buckley, M O’Shea; M Burns, M Potts, A O’Sullivan; T Brosnan, D Casey, K O’Leary
Subs: C Doncel for O’Sullivan (35) and M Casey for O’Leary (49)
Referee: B Brosnan (Glenflesk)