Dr Crokes added The O'Sullivan Cup to Their already bulging trophy cabinet with a hard fought victory over Scartaglin in Listry on Sunday to conclude the East Kerry GAA Season.
It took 80 minutes to separate the two sides and Scartaglin must feel that they left a golden opportunity to win some silverware behind them as they trudged off the pitch at the end of this very entertaining junior championship final.
As is customary with January weather it was very cold and windy but nature also decided to factor in some rain and the three combined to make playing conditions very difficult but both sides served up an interesting clash on an excellent Listry pitch. The game had practically everything with a missed penalty, a horrendous goalkeeping mistake, four yellow cards, some hard-hitting challenges and a few passages of fine play.
The Dr. Crokes team sheet was enough to make any team quiver in fright with the likes of Eanna Kavanagh, Mike Crowley, Andrew Kennelly, Batt Moriarty and Roland Neher to name a few. For a ‘B’ team this was just about as strong as you can get and Scartaglin supporters wouldn’t have been surprised if Colm Cooper and Eoin Brosnan had been named-such was the task that lay before the Division Four side.
The one name of note that stood out for Scartaglin was that of Padraig Reidy and the former Kerry minor impressed again but no one on the field could match the elder statesman of Killarney football Roland Neher who was outstanding in the stormy conditions. Age proved no barrier to Neher who outshone all of his illustrious younger teammates and played with a hunger and commitment that belied his years.
Despite Crokes only registering two scores in the opening half they only trailed by two points and this was to prove Scartaglin’s downfall as their lack of scoring options and some bad wides cost them dear and may very well have cost them the O’Sullivan Cup. Despite Scartaglin having the advantage of the wind for the second half of extra time they couldn’t make it count and the superior fitness of Crokes then shone through as they added another trophy to the cabinet in Lewis Road.
Scartaglin started strongly and with the gale force wind in their favor had opened an early two-point lead, 0-3 to 0-1, after 10 minutes with each of the half forward line scoring a point while a solitary Batt Moriarty was all that Crokes could manage. However, an inexplicable mistake by Scartaglin keeper Tim O’Connor when he dropped a harmless Mike Crowley free into his own net gave the Killarney side the lead.
This lead only lasted six minutes as Scartaglin centre forward Tom Boyle scored his second and third points of the half as the underdogs hit the front for the second time with just under 20 minutes gone, 0-5 to 1-1. Even at his stage Scartaglin were guilty of a few bad wides as they weren’t making the wind be the decisive, factor that it should have been.
Another Boyle free was the last score of the opening 30 minutes of action but they squandered a goal chance when Dr Crokes keeper Andrew O’Connell made a good save from the wing forward Pa Rahilly to leave to leave the Killarney side trailing at half time,0-6 to 1-1.
Two early Scartaglin points through a JJ Murphy free and Noel Rahilly extended their lead to four points but five unanswered Crokes points saw them hit the front with just two minutes remaining. Another Tom Boyle effort leveled matters, 1-6 to 0-9, in the last minutes and extra time was the only way to decide the new housing arrangements for the fourth coming year for the O’Sullivan Cup.
Points were exchanged at he beginning of the half before the game’s defining score virtually decided the game. An excellent flowing move from Crokes started with James Jones and involved Neher, Kieran Cahillane and Neher again before he played the ball to Jones whose pass was meet by substitute Mike Cooper who scored the decisive goal. That pushed the town side 2-7 to 1-10.
The second half of extra-time saw Scartaglin reduce the lead to two points with a noel Rahilly effort but James Jones added two further points-the first point was the result of a Crokes move that involved well over 20 passes- to clinch the game, 2-09 to 1-11.
Dr Crokes B: A O’Connell, F Moran, B O’Donoghue (0-1), K. Cahillane, B Moriarty (0-1), B McMahon, D Corridan, J Jones (0-3), E Kavanagh, C Fuller, R Neher (0-3, 1f), A Kennelly, E O’Sullivan, M Crowley (1-0), D Horgan (0-1). Subs: J O’Sullivan, K Brosnan, M Cooper (1-0), D Looney.
Scartaglin: T O’Connor, G Dineen, D O’Connor, B Cronin, B Rahilly, T Coakley, P Reidy, M Coakley, D Murphy, JJ Murphy (0-2f), T Boyle (0-6, 4f), P Rahilly (0-1), N Rahilly (0-2), J O’Donoghue, A Dineen. Subs: J Culloty, P Murphy
Referee: John Cahill (Rathmore)
After the Game,Mike Moriarty of Central Car Sales Farranfore, sponsors of the competition, presented the Owen O'Sullivan Cup to Dr Crokes captain, and man of the match Roland Neher, writes John O'Leary. The man of the match trophy was kindly donated by the O'Sullivan family and presented by Conn O'Sullivan to the vetern Dr Crokes attacker.
The Facilities and newly laid playing surface in Listry are second to none in the county and the surface is proof, if proof was needed, that these modern sand based playing pitches are the way forward in a county with weather conditions such as ours.
Credit to both clubs for treating this competition with the respect it deserves by being excellently togged out and behaved on the day. all proceeds from the game were donated to the Far East Disaster relief Fund.
Referee John Cahill (Rathmore) contributed to the enjoyment of the game by applying the rules in a common sense fashion in the conditions.