O’Leary hails his Crokes team as greatest in club’s storied history

Dr Crokes joint-manager Noel O’Leary described his players as the greatest in the Killarney club’s history after they successfully defended their Munster title.

While they have yet to match the 1992 All-Ireland-winning side, O’Leary had no hesitation is bestowing such a commendation on his team.

“This is the best bunch of footballers Crokes have seen in their lives,” he said. “We’re going for over 125 years and this is the best team, we just hope we can keep it going. We have Rathmore [East Kerry final] next week, the week after we go to London and hopefully there’ll be another step after that.”

O’Leary also pointed Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice in the direction of Ambrose O’Donovan for a call-up.

“If I was Eamonn Fitzmaurice I’d look at Ambrose for the Kerry team next year. For his commitment alone, give him a try, see what he’s like, chance him, he can’t do any worse than what’s there already.”

Dr Crokes had taken a lot of confidence travelling to Cork given they had such an impressive record at yesterday’s venue.

“We’ve never lost in Páirc Uí Chaoimh and that was one thing we said coming up here today,” said O’Leary. “We knew that we had a great chance because we had never lost here and that stood to us today again.”

There was also no equivocating from O’Leary in describing the performance against Castlehaven as Crokes’ best this year.

“Without a doubt. Above in Quilty [v Kilmurry/Ibrickane] was a struggle, we played great football for 40 minutes and there was 20 minutes we didn’t play at all, today we played lovely football.

“We kicked 19 scores, only two or three from frees and all six forwards scored. The backs were fantastic. These fellas are playing together since they were 12 years of age and they’re united.”

While Eoin Brosnan’s calf injury could mean at least one personnel change for the trip to London, O’Leary insists picking the team is more difficult than is perceived.

“That’s the biggest problem! Everyone thinks this Crokes team is easy to pick, but [selectors] Vince [Casey] and Malachy [Walsh] and myself, we talk on the phone and we meet each other on the street, we meet one another above in training, we have changed this team so much.

“Today was about the Crokes footballers and they have been brilliant, even for the neutrals watching, they must have been very pleased with the standard of football, there was no blackguarding, no messing, it was lovely football. That’s the way football should be played.”


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