Dr Croke’s 5-20 St Finbarr’s 1-11
ST FINBARR’S worst fears were realised in a 21-point drubbing from Dr Croke’s in a one-sided Munster club football semi-final in pouring rain in Killarney.
Unfortunately for the new Cork champions, their Kerry counterparts decided to put a show of the highest quality in front of their supporters in the attendance of 1,577.
Anyone wondering why Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper and Jordan Kiely, a top-level under-age player with the Kingdom, couldn’t make the starting 15 got their answers from the word go.
Even though the ‘Barr’s began promisingly enough with captain Ian Maguire leading by example, their running game came a cropper against a hard-hitting Croke’s defence in treacherous conditions.
Losing the experienced Michael Shields and Ross O’Dwyer through injury during the opening quarter certainly didn’t help their cause, but there was no living with the Kerry champions.
Young David Shaw and Tony Brosnan showed why they’re keeping such illustrious figures on the bench with a master class in finishing. Brian Looney also got in on the act and by half-time the game was up for the ‘Barr’s.
With Johnny Buckley and Daithi Casey imposing themselves at midfield, Croke’s unveiled long-range kick-passing straight from the top drawer, leaving the ‘Barr’s stunned by its effectiveness.
Having been tied at 0-1 each after eight minutes, Croke’s took a stranglehold on proceedings by kicking seven unanswered points to surge into a winning position by the 18th minute.
Brosnan kicked three, Shaw two and Looney another as the ‘Barr’s goal came under constant bombardment.
To their credit, the Togher club never allowed their heads drop at any stage and a goal after 20 minutes looked like bringing them back into the contest.
It stemmed from their first direct ball into the full-forward line, where Colm Keane gained possession and fed Eoghan McGreevey, whose lob dipped into the far corner of the net to reduce the lead to 0-8 to 1-2.
Croke’s, clearly stung, responded in kind, two minutes later, with the first of their five. Buckley got on the end of a Micheal Burns cross and scored from close range.
The second goal was a right killer, coming as it did in the first minute of injury-time, but what a beauty it proved to be.
Kieran O’Leary’s vision picked out Casey’s storming run through the middle and his explosive finish matched the exquisite pass. At 2-11 to 1-3 down, there was simply no way back for the ’Barr’s.
Such is the level of competition for starting places in the Croke’s starting 15 that any hopes the ‘Barr’s may have had of a drop in tempo and scoring rate were dashed within 20 seconds of the resumption.
Buckley thundered forward from midfield to plant point number 12 and Croke’s carried on as if it was a tight contest.
The third goal arrived after 35 minutes. Looney fired a dangerous high ball into the danger zone, where Shaw outjumped everyone to punch home for 3-13 to 1-4.
When O’Leary found the range four minutes later it meant all Croke’s starting forwards had scored with Cooper and Kiely anxious not to be left out either.
The Gooch provided the last pass for Burns to score the fourth goal after 45 minutes and a lead of 4-16 to 1-6 before Kiely slammed in the fifth with a thumping shot four minutes from the end.
Scorers for Dr Croke’s: D Shaw 1-3, J Buckley, D Casey, M Burns, J Kiely 1-1 each, T Brosnan 0-4, B Looney and C Cooper 0-3 each, G White, G O’Shea, K O’Leary 0-1 each
Scorers for St Finbarr’s: S Sherlock 0-6 (0-3 45, 0-2 f), E McGreevey 1-0, R O’Mahony 0-2, C Dennehy, I Maguire, D O’Brien 0-1 each.
DR CROKE’S: S Murphy; J Payne, captain, M Moloney, F Fitzgerald; D O’Leary, G White, S Doolan; J Buckley, D Casey; M Burns, G O’Shea, B Looney; D Shaw, K O’Leary, T Brosnan. Subs: C Cooper for Brosnan 41, J Kiely for Shaw 42, M Potts for Doolan 48, P Clarke for Buckley 50, J Lyne for Burns 53
ST FINBARR’S: J Kerins; G O’Connor, R O’Dwyer, D Quinn; C Lyons, C Scully, C Dennehy; I Maguire, captain, E Comyns; D O’Brien, M Shields, E Dennehy; E McGreevey, C Keane, S Sherlock.
Subs: C Barrett for Shields injured 12, J Burns for O’Dwyer injured 14, R O’Mahony for Keane half-time, A O’Connor for McGreevey injured 32, A McCarthy for O’Connor 48, A Lyne for O’Brien 55
Referee: D O’Mahony (Tipperary)