By Seamus Hayes
Dr. Crokes, Kerry 0-13 Cratloe 0-12
Hot favourites Dr.Crokes had to rely on an injury time point from Kerry player Johnny Buckley to overcome Cratloe in the Munster senior club football championship final at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick on Sunday.
A magnificent second half performance from the Clare champions which saw them turn a seven point half time deficit into a one point lead with two minutes remaining wasn’t enough for the South East Clare side to make history. Two late points for the defending champions from Daithi Casey (free) and Buckley saw the Killarney side retain the title and crushed Clare dreams.
Cratloe, winners of their first Clare title just three weeks ago, started well and kicked the first two points of the game. However, for the last twentyh minutes of the opening half they played second fiddle to the winners who dominated the midfield exchanges on their way to kicking ten unanswered points which helped them to a 0-10 to 0-3 half time lead.
Cratloe stormed out of the blocks when play resumed and early points from Cathal McInerney (free) and two from Conor McGrath cut the deficit to five. McGrath and McInerney caused all sorts of problems for their more fancied opponents throughout the second half which was twelve minutes old before the Crokes added to their first half tally.
As the half progressed, the Claremen grew in confidence and five unanswered points from Fergal Lynch, McInerney (3) and Sean Collins had the teams level with eight minutes remaining. Two minutes later the Kerry club’s problems increased when Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper picked up a second yellow card for a tackle on McGrath as he headed for goal.
When Cathal McInerney landed his fifth of the afternoon when converting a 13m free with four minutes to go, a major shock was on the cards. However, Crokes finished strongly and Buckley’s effort in the second minute of ‘injury time broke Cratloe hearts