Gavin O’Connor was in Killarney yesterday to see Austin Stacks and Dr Crokes do battle in the Credit Union County League Final 2015…
Dr Crokes 3-15 (24)
Austin Stacks 3-9 (18)
DR CROKES had too much firepower for Austin Stacks who battled hard in this pulsating deferred 2015 Credit Union County League Division 1 Final at Lewis Road.
The foundation of this Crokes victory was built on a 1-3 to no score lead which they gained inside the first ten minutes. Austin Stacks almost pulled off a remarkable comeback midway through the second half – when trailing by seven points, The Rock hit the net twice inside a minute.
But such was the day, the Killarney side had all the answers and they hit 1-3 without reply to quell the Rockie resurrection.
The match was an open expansive affair played at a terrific pace for this time of year.
A competitive contest as ever from these two, for the final ten minutes, Dr Crokes were reduced to 13 men and Austin Stacks to 14, following scuffles that broke out in the aftermath of those two quickfire Rock goals.
Story continues below…
A goal from captain Eoin Brosnan set the Crokes on their way to jump into a commanding lead. On ten minutes, Sean Ryan, who came in for the badly missed David Mannix, was the first Stacks man to on the get scoreboard when he pointed.
Greg Horan added another to settle things down as Stacks began to come into the game more.
But, Crokes, had the right response and shot over three of their own from Fionn Fitzgerald, Chris Brady and Kieran O’Leary, who was making his first start since rupturing his Achilles tendon last June.
With five minutes left in the half, Stacks got themselves back in the game.
Donaghy, who was man marked by Eoin Brosnan, was causing trouble operating around the square. He set up midfielder Micheal O’Donnell who netted his first of two goals and brought his side back to within a score, 1-6 to 1-3.
When required, Crokes, could up the gear. They responded scoring 1-2 without reply to shove the lead out once again to seven points by the end of the half, which ended 2-9 to 1-5.
It was telling that in the half, all of Dr Crokes forwards had a score to their name.
Stephen Stack made changes at the break bringing on the side’s top scorer last year, David Mannix, and he made an instant impact when he hit the first point of the second half.
The sides went point for point and end to end, until the 15th minute when Michael O’Donnell goaled once more and Shane O’Callaghan hit another goal a minute later.
Story continues below…
The Rock’s tails were now up having reduced the deficit from seven points to one after two attacks. But the wind was taken out of their sails after fights broke out around the pitch.
The game was stopped for five minutes while referee, Brendan Griffin, got his house in order. The stoppages killed any Rockie momentum.
Dr Crokes, got the next two points and substitute Jordan Kiely, put the game to bed when he scored the Crokes third goal of the afternoon to stretch their lead out to six once more with seven minutes on the clock.
Having mounted two comebacks that cut into big Crokes leads, Austin Stacks just didn’t have a third one in them.
More photos below…
Dr Crokes: Brian Looney 1-3, Colm Cooper and Daithí Casey 0-3 each, Jordan Kiely, Gavin O’Shea 1-0 each, Fionn Fitzgerald, Mike Milner, Kieran O’Leary, Chris Brady and Michéal Burns 0-1 apiece
Austin Stacks: Michael O’Donnell 2-0, Shane O’Callaghan 1-0, Kieran Donaghy and David Mannix 0-2 each, Daniel Bohan, Denis McElligott, Greg Horan, Shane Carroll and Sean Ryan 0-1 apiece
Dr Crokes: Alan Kelly, John Payne, Fionn Fitzgerald, David O’Leary, Pj Lawlor, Michael Moloney, Mike Milner, Eoin Brosnan (C), Johnny Buckley, Kieran O’Leary, Gavin O’Shea, Brian Looney, Colm Cooper, Dathi Casey, Chris Brady
Austin Stacks: Barry Galvin, Barry Walsh, Fearghal McNamara (C), Jack O’Shea, Pa McCarthy, Conor Jordan, Denis McElligott, Wayne Guthrie, Conor Jordan, Michael O’Donnell, Greg Horan, Shane O’Callaghan, Daniel Bohan, Sean Ryan, Kieran Donaghy, Alan Nestor
Referee: Brendan Griffin (Clounmacon)