East Kerry Manager Jerry O Sullivan
East Kerry Forward Liam Kearney
East Kerry and Fossas Paudie Clifford
It was East Kerry’s day as the youthful side claimed the County Senior Football Title for 2019.
There was one change to the East Kerry team before the start with Mike Foley coming into full back in place of Shane Courtney. The wind was blowing up the pitch from the Horan’s end towards the town making it difficult for Dr Crokes in the first half.
The first score of the game went the way of East Kerry with the late replacement, Mike Foley finding the target after 20 seconds.
The same man doubled East Kerry’s lead with a second point from Mike Foley after 2 minutes with Paudie Clifford showing early dominance for the district team. They were bunching in defence with solid resistance against the Dr Crokes attack.
Dr Crokes’ first effort at a score went wide and the second chance for the champions to find the target, this time from a Daithi Casey free, also tailed wide against the wind.
From the restart, East Kerry tried to find David Clifford but Dr Crokes cleared their lines. The kick-out gave the holders the advantage and led to a chance for Tony Brosnan who failed to convert the opportunity and East Kerry cleared their lines.
It wasn’t long before corner forward Evan Cronin added to East Kerry’s tally making it 0-03 to 0-00 after 8 minutes.
Dr Crokes finally found the scoreboard when Tony Brosnan pointed from a free after 12 minutes and the same man did it again from play with a point that the Gooch would have been proud of to leave a point between the sides after 13 minutes.
Another man who the Gooch is proud of is David Clifford and he opened his account with a point when driving for a goal.
East Kerry 0-04 Dr Crokes 0-02 in a fast game with end-to-end action and all to play for midway through the first half.
There was a minute silence before game for David Geaney, the Godfather of East Kerry’s Mike Foley. The late Mr Geaney would have been proud to see Foley score three points in the first half, the third of which came after 18 minutes to increase the lead to 0-5 to 0-2.
Mark O’Shea, coming up from midfield scored Dr Crokes’ third point after 19 minutes and his teammate Tony Brosnan put the minimum between the sides soon after with his third point and the fourth for the champions.
David Clifford drew a foul close to the Dr Crokes goal and he struck the free like a golfer would hit a shot in Augusta, from long distance, to score his second point of the game.
The conductor of the East Kerry orchestra, Paudie Clifford scored his first point just a few minutes shy of half-time and his performance has resulted in Gavin White being kept on the back-foot.
The lead could have been more only for Dara Roche being wasteful with his effort from play.
Micheal Burns drew some criticism from his team mates when he wasteful in possession rather than passing to better positioned players for a chance to score. At the other end, Evan Cronin was clinical when scoring his second point for East Kerry to go up by four points 0-08 to 0-04.
A late free for Dr Crokes left three points between the sides at Half Time – East Kerry 0-08 Dr Crokes 0-05.
Dr Crokes made a blistering start to the second half only for Tony Brosnan’s hand effort at a goal to be cleared and when it went back up the field, Evan Cronin made no mistake to increase East Kerry’s lead.
A potential turning point in the game came in the first minute of the second half when Pa Warren picked up his second yellow card reducing East Kerry to 14 men. Numerical disadvantage didn’t matter because Darragh Roche’s quick ball to David Clifford allowed the All Star the opportunity to show what he can do – goal for East Kerry.
East Kerry 1-09 Dr Crokes 0-05.
A melee broke out after the goal and it resulted in Mark O’Shea being sent off for Dr Crokes and yellow cards being issued to his team mate Gavin White and the Clifford brothers for East Kerry.
Tony Brosnan, from the restart, had a chance to cancel out the East Kerry goal only for the post to deny the Dr Crokes marksman.
Underfoot conditions were greasy and players were starting to lose their footing. Dr Crokes forward Kieran O’Leary’s first point of the game Dr Crokes first of the second half came after 10 minutes.
That was answered by Darragh Roche with a fantastic point from play 25 metres out to restore the seven-point lead – 1-10 to 0-06.
The long ball into the forward line was certainly working for the challengers because after Evan Cronin scored his fourth point a direct ball into Darragh Roche allowed the East Kerry full forward to hit the back of the net.
East Kerry 2-11 Dr Crokes 0-06.
But wait! From nothing, with the ball making a recently rare appearance in the Dr Crokes forward line, Gavin White pulled on the breaking ball to score a goal for the defending champions to give some hope.
East Kerry 2-11 Dr Crokes 1-06.
No rest for the wicked with East Kerry “opening up Dr Crokes like opening a can of peas” for David Clifford to score his third point to add to the goal he scored a while earlier to leave 8 points between the sides.
Clifford and Roche pointed again respectively to increase the lead to 10 points with 8 minutes to go.
By now, Dr Crokes only scored three times in the second half with Gavin White adding a point to his earlier goal. East Kerry 2-13 Dr Crokes 1-07.
David Clifford was through to score another goal but Mike Moloney pulled him down to concede a free and receive his marching orders after picking up a second yellow card. Darragh Roche failed to convert the free which was cleared by Dr Crokes goalkeeper, Shane Murphy.
14-man East Kerry were dominant in the second half against the now 13 men of Dr Crokes and the title is staying the east of the county but it’s moving out of Killarney town to the rural hinterland of East Kerry.
East Kerry went 14 minutes without scoring until substitute Padraig Doyle wrapped up the scoring with a point to leave the final score:
East Kerry 2-14 Dr Crokes 1-07.