PREVIEW: Crokes Firepower May Be Too Much For The Rock In Club Final Decider

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Gavin O’Connor looks forward to Saturday’s Senior Club Championship Final between Austin Stacks v Dr Crokes, in Fitzgerald Stadium, Saturday 5:30pm…

Austin Stacks, Wayne Guthrie, fetches a ball over Johnny Buckley of Dr Crokes. Photo by Gavin O'Connor.

Austin Stacks, Wayne Guthrie, fetches a ball over Johnny Buckley of Dr Crokes earlier this year in the delayed 2015 county league final. Photo by Gavin O’Connor.

WITH the County League final pairing settled and another month before the real business begins, this Club Championship final provides good preparation for what lies ahead for both teams and a chance to pick up some another trophy of course.

Over the last few years Austin Stacks and Dr Crokes have hoovered up titles and have already played for silverware this year when the two met in the delayed 2015 County League Final which doubled up as this year’s league fixture.

It was Crokes who came out on top on that occasion by 3-15 to 3-9, as they did when they knocked the Rock out of last year’s County Championship at the quarter-final stage.

Continued below…



So it’s safe to say that – apart from a County League defeat to the Rockies in the delayed 2014 County League final last year – the balance of power is with the Killarney side (when it matters) in this fixture over the past few years.

The rivalry between the two is as nip and tuck as ever. Crokes finished just the one point ahead of Stacks in division one of the county league, losing only once and amassing +138 points difference in the process.

No slouches either, the Rock racked up 181 points and a +43 points total. All that scoring means they will meet again in the County League Final…whenever that may happen!

Last year, the two sides were all set to play in the club decider, but a young Dingle side upset the apple cart by beating Stacks and then Crokes in the final.

So far in this County Championship, Austin Stacks lost in Connolly Park to South Kerry and bounced back against West Kerry, while Dr Crokes also overcame West Kerry easily but were almost caught cold by St Kierans.

Most of both side’s big guns are expected to play, though there remains a big doubt over whether Kieran Donaghy is fit for action, following a hamstring injury that forced him to be withdrawn in the second-half of the All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin.

But while it’s not all about The Star – in David Mannix and Shane O’Callaghan, the Rock have two men that would be a handful for any defence – it’s safe to say that Donaghy makes the Tralee side tick.

Jack O’Shea and Michael O’Donnell stand out as rising stars in their own right in defence and midfield and are certainly ones to watch for the future.

Conducting the orchestra for Crokes will be Colm Cooper, who showed more than a few flashes of that Goochy magic against the Dubs. Attacking prospects coming through the ranks in Lewis Road are Tony Brosnan and Jordan Kiely who are players to keep the Crokes firing long after Cooper has exited the stage.

Both sides will have one eye on the county championship which gets underway again at the beginning of next month with Crokes against Kerins O’Rahilly’s on October 1 and Stacks taking on Kenmare the following day.

So with those games in mind, if Stephen Stack and Pat O’Shea don’t send their teams in at full championship mode, it could lend itself to an open game. Under these circumstances, because Crokes have more consistent scorers around the pitch, it is more likely the Killarney side will come out on top.

Verdict – Dr Crokes by 4

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