Another epic encounter in Lewis Road saw Dr Crokes take the division 1 league title but only after a see saw battle which was eventually decided in extra time.
We went into this game with only one competitive outing in the last 6 weeks but belied this stat when racing into a 1-03 to nil lead against the odds and the slight breeze; Gavin O’Brien was the goal scorer just like he was in the county semi final when he initiated a move from midfield and running strongly through fired a shot which was initially parried but his follow up saw him find the net; Dr Crokes were hit with an early blow when John Payne saw red for a late challenge on Jack Savage a handicap with which they struggled all day.
We were on top at midfield where David Moran gave a towering performance for the eighty minutes and continued to take the game to the Killarney side but some poor decision making cost us and we were only two to the good on 19 mins when Daithi Casey reacted quickest to Gary’s penalty save to fire to the net. Crokes continued to press and hit the front five minutes from the half time whistle with a point from Tony Brosnan which was quickly followed by a Micheál Burns goal on 33 minutes – we were not to be outdone however and when Tommy fielded a high ball in behind the Crokes cover he found the net with a left footed drive to leave the minimum between the sides at the interval.
Despite the numerical advantage, our lack of match sharpness continued to tell and we failed to capitalise on some good chances when first Jack was denied by Shane Murphy and the resultant “45” failed to trouble the score board. Crokes continued to press, holding the ball well and finding their men with great accuracy – as a result they had moved into a seven point lead on 20 mins, 2-13 to 2-06, Jack being our only scorer in this period.
It was then that we again upped the ante with great play from Jack, Tommy and David and we were thrown a life line when awarded a penalty which Jack duly converted – there was now only two points between the sides and scores from Cormac, up supporting the attack and Barry John tied the sides as the final whistle sounded and extra time loomed.
Crokes were now up to their full complement of 15 and using their experience to telling effect, had the greater resolve to see them through on a final score line of 2-20 to 3-12.
Despite the loss, this was a terrific display given the evident rustiness and lack of match practice and shows how close we are to the Kerry and Munster champions.
It ends our season not as we would have wanted it but its one we can look back on with a certain degree of satisfaction and no little pride where we have always given our all and left everything on the pitch.
Team: Gary Kissane, Danny O’Sullivan, Ross O’Callaghan, David Murphy, Chucky Carroll, Karl Mullins, Cormac Coffey (0-01), Tom Hoare, David Moran, Gavin O’Brien (1-0), Jack Savage (1-08,6fs, pen), Darragh McElligott, Barry John Keane(0-03), Tommy Walsh (1-0), John Ferguson.
Subs: Gearoid Savage, Gearóid Dillane and Jason O’Leary.