Dr Crokes 2-18 Spa 1-18
A lively start from Spa yielded three points – 2 frees from Michael O’Donoghue and Mike Foley and a point from play by Ryan O’Carroll before Dr Crokes got in gear. However the sides were level by the tenth minute as Mark O’Shea, Michael Burns and a Daithi Casey free had the scoreboard reading 3 points apiece. Casey and Evan Cronin swapped points for the sides to be level at the end of the first quarter during which we saw an excellent save by Shane Murphy from a Ryan O’Carroll goal-bound shot while Eoin Fitzgerald and James Devane combined to deny Tony Brosnan a green flag. By the 25th minute Spa were 2 points clear 0-7 to 0-5 with Mike O’Donoghue and Evan Cronin on target and Michael Burns replying for Dr Crokes. A Kieran O’Leary pile driver was parried by James Devane but in the scramble that ensued, diving Spa bodies failed to prevent Tony Brosnan forcing the ball towards the Spa net. It took a consultation between referee Tom Moriarty and his umpires before the green flag was raised – 1-5 to 0-7 – and Dr Crokes got their noses ahead. A Michael O’Donoghue free restored parity before Tony Brosnan kicked Dr Crokes into the lead – a lead they never relinquished. Michael O’Donoghue and Michael McCarthy swapped points with Daithi Casey and Michael Potts before the short whistle saw the half time scores at Dr Crokes 1-8 Spa 0-10.
On the resumption Dr Crokes pushed their lead to a goal with points from Man of the Match Michael Burns and Tony Brosnan. The sides continued to trade points throughout the third quarter as Dr Crokes maintained their goal lead 1-13 to 0-13. But in a crucial five minute spell, Dr Crokes hit 1-2 to put them eight points clear. Dr Crokes worked the ball towards the endline where Brian Looney crossed the ball into the Spa square and Mark O’Shea rose highest to fist the ball to the net. Tony Brosnan turned the screw with 2 points while Spa were regrouping after the goal – 2-15 to 0-13. It was a period when Dr Crokes scored 1-7 to Spa’s 0-3 and it looked extremely ominous for Spa. However, they returned to the fray with renewed determination and for the remaining fifteen minutes outscored Dr Crokes 1-5 to 0-3 – almost a reversal of the previous quarter. Substitute Niall O’Mahony’s arrival on the field seemed to ignite the Spa response. 2 points from Evan Cronin followed by a Cronin pass to Mike Foley who shot past Shane Murphy brought renewed hope to the Spa supporters. Michael Burns pointed and a slow methodical Dr Crokes build up comprised of upwards of 20 handpasses saw Johnny Buckley in position for a fine point from 35 metres – 2-17 to 1-15 with 8 minutes left. Spa pressure led to 2 frees converted by Michael O’Donoghue and Mike Foley – 2-17 to 1-17 with 2 minutes on the clock. Tony Brosnan added a Crokes point but Spa attacked with purpose as the clock ticked in to added time. Michael Burns was then black carded. Mike Foley converted the free. But both clock and scoreboard were against Spa as referee Tom Moriarty blew full time on a final scoreline of Dr Crokes 2-18 Spa 1-18.
Michael Burns was presented with his Aquila Club mam-of-the-match award by Board Chairman Johnny Brosnan.
Dr Crokes proceed to their 14th final since the turn of the millennium. They meet Legion at Fitzgerald Stadium on next Sunday 8th December 2019 at 2-15pm. These neighbours last met in a Dr O’Donoghue final on 15th December 2013 when Dr Crokes won by 10 points.
Dr Crokes: Shane Murphy, John Payne, Michael Moloney, David Naughten, Cillian O’Regan, Gavin White, Brian Looney (Capt), Johnny Buckley(0-2), Mark O’Shea(1-1), Michael Burns (0-5), Michael Potts(0-2), Gavin O’Shea, Tony Brosnan(1-5, 0-1 free), Daithi Casey (0-3, 0-1 free). Subs: Alan O’Sullivan, Michael Casey, Jack Griffin.
Spa: James Devane, Garry Vaughan, Eoin Fitzgerald, Brian Lynch, Shane Lynch, Dan O’Donoghue, Ciaran Spillane, Liam Kearney, Shane Cronin, David Spillane, Ryan O’Carroll(0-1), Michael McCarthy(0-2), Mike Foley(1-4, 0-3 frees), Mike O’Donoghue (Capt), (0-5 frees), Evan Cronin(0-5).
Subs: Niall McCarthy, Niall O’Mahony, Eoghan Cronin.