PREVIEW: Will O’Rahillys Have Enough To Beat The Crokes?

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Gavin O’Connor looks at the Kerins O’Rahillys v Dr Crokes, Senior Football County Championship quarter-final, Austin Stack Park on Saturday at 1:30pm… 

Barry John Keane lays off a pass as James O'Donoghue looks on in the Killarney Legion v Kerins O'Rahillys game on Sunday. Photo by Dermot Crean

Barry John Keane lays off a pass as James O’Donoghue looks on in the county championship last July. Photo by Dermot Crean

WHEN Austin Stacks defeated Dr Crokes in the club final earlier this month, they may have done their neighbours in Strand Road no favours at all.

That one point defeat for Crokes has allowed for some re-evaluation on Lewis Road and a chance to smooth out any problems that may have sprung up.

The loss was by no means emphatic either, as Crokes played 45 minutes of the match a man down and is the only defeat the Killarney side has tasted this year.

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It also provided a competitive test coming into this round, something a now almost full-strength O’Rahilly’s side are severely lacking.

It would be silly to evaluate their chances on their County League form of five wins and five defeats, because of the absence of so many key players during the campaign.

The last round of the county championship in July feels like a long time ago now. The Blues will welcome back David Moran and Barry John Keane from Kerry commitments along with Cormac Coffey, Cian Sayers and Tommy Begley who were in America and missed the previous round victory against Legion.

Midfielder Con Barrett is also back in contention after recovering from a shoulder injury that has dogged his year.

The turning point in the Club Final really was the sending off of Ambrose O’Donovan 15 minutes in. Before that incident, Dr Crokes were into their familiar swagger. But this should be not taken as a sign that Crokes will swat away the Blues challenge when they meet.

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There is more than enough talent in Strand Road to give Crokes – whose powers have diminished in this competition in recent years – a real good rattle.

In Round 3, Mike Quirke and Morgan Nix’s side dominated Legion for three quarters of the match. Driven on in midfield by David Moran and one of the year’s big finds John C O’Connor, they have it in them to do the same against Killarney opposition again.

The return of half-backs Cormac Coffey and Cian Sayers is a huge bonus, but these two may have to curtail their attacking zeal in order to pin down the likes of, Kieran O’Leary, Tony Brosnan, Daithi Casey and, of course, the Gooch.

Crokes are favourites for this and there will be many who will write off O’Rahilly’s chances. If they can stop Crokes scoring a couple of goals, I think they can do it.

Verdict – Kerins O’Rahillys by a point

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