Shannon Rangers 0-9 Dr Crokes 2-16: It was all so easy for Dr Crokes who had 13 points to spare over last year’s semi-finalists Shannon Rangers in this Kerry SFC first round tie at Tarbert on Saturday evening.
The hosts couldn’t cope with the power and pace of the visiting attack as Kieran O’Leary, Chris Brady and Daithi Casey excelled while Colm Cooper directed proceedings from the off.
Johnny Buckley was the only noticeable absentee for the Crokes from their starting line-up having picked up an ankle knock in their Senior Club Championship semi-final victory over Rathmore the previous week.
However his absence was hardly felt as the Killarney side - who failed to sparkle last season - offered glimpses of the form that brought them four consecutive Kerry titles from 2010 to 2013.
Manager Martin Byrnes admitted: “We’re very happy with the performance, we didn’t know what to expect coming up here but the lads went about the task well. We’ve been going well in training and we’ve put last year firmly behind us. I think something like last year was bound to happen at some stage when you consider the mileage that has been put up by the team over recent campaigns.
“We’re delighted in particular to have Colm (Cooper) back and he showed how much he is getting back to his best here again.” Byrnes added: “The knock Johnny (Buckley) picked upon his ankle last week was a bit more serious than we thought but other than not being able to play tonight, he should be fine.”
Crokes really powered on in the final 10 minutes of the first-half having led by 0-3 to 0-1 after 18 minutes in misty conditions at Shannon Park. Danny Wrenn had scored the first point of the game in the sixth minute, but it was a scrappy affair until the game’s opening goal. Chris Brady forced a fine save from Shannon Rangers goalkeeper Dara O’Shea but Cooper fisted the rebound to the net for a 1-4 to 0-1 lead after 20 minutes. Kieran O’Leary, Daithi Casey and Brady all added scores to make it a 1-9 to 0-4 lead at the break with Thomas and Paul Kennelly (two frees) replying for Rangers.
Substitute Darren Russell and Paul Kennelly scored the hosts’ only points in the third quarter but by then the game was over. Crokes had a second goal in the 42nd minute with Alan O’Sullivan setting up Brady for a score which opened a 2-13 to 0-6 lead.
It took a great double save from Shannon Rangers goalkeeper O’Shea along with substitute Shane O’Connor to prevent Brady scoring a third goal near the final whistle. Danny Wrenn was the home side’s best performer but the absence of Paud Costello and Kerry Minor Brian Ó Seanacháin cost them dearly. They will hope for much better in the Losers Round however it will take a big turnaround for them to again reach the heights of last year’s campaign.
Scorers for Dr Crokes:
C Brady (1-3), C Cooper (1-2, 2f), D Casey (0-3, 1f), K O’Leary (0-3), J Doolan (0-2), A O’Donovan, B Looney and G O’Shea (0-1 each).
Scorers for Shannon Rangers:
P Kennelly (0-5, 5f), D Wrenn (0-2), T Kennelly and G O’Sullivan (0-1 each)
D O’Shea (Ballydonoghue), J Foley (do), S Enright (Tarbert), P Collins (Beale), J Gogarty (Ballyduff), D Wrenn (Tarbert), T Kennelly (Ballydonoghue), D Sheehy (do), K Enright (Tarbert), D O’Carroll (Ballydonoghue), P Kennelly (do), M Boyle (Ballyduff), G O’Gorman (Beale), B O’Grady (Ballyduff), E Doyle (do).
Subs: D Leahy (Moyvane) for Doyle (26), D Russell (Asdee) for O’Carroll (H/T), C Kearney (Ballyduff) for K Enright (46) and S O’Connor for Gogarty (48).
A Kelly, J Payne, M Moloney, L Quinn, F Fitzgerald, E Brosnan, A O’Sullivan, A O’Donovan, M Milner, K O’Leary, D Casey, B Looney, C Cooper, C Brady, J Doolan.
Subs: A Murphy for Brosnan (41), G O’Shea for Looney (45), S Doolan for Milner (54), D O’Leary for Quinn (54) and J Lyne for O’Sullivan (57).
P Hayes (Kerins O’Rahillys)
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