Munster Club SFC Final – Dr. Crokes (Kerry) 3-14 UCC 2-10

Football’s December flourish

Dr Crokes (Kerry) 3-14 UCC (Cork) 2-10

By Tony Leen for the Irish Examiner newspaper

LOOK at the scoreline and ponder the date. December 4.

The GAA twilight zone when yellow cards and fractious incidents go stride for stride with scores. The weather was classically club final yesterday in Killarney. Slate grey skies, sheet-rods of rain, but the players and mentors of Dr Crokes and UCC went about their business without meanness or treachery. Hence the hurling scoreline, a festival of scores.

Naïve? Hmm. That was College’s first defeat in 17 Sigerson and Championship matches this season. And Dr Crokes might have created some kind of GAA asterisk for themselves by starting and finishing the same calendar year in two different Munster Club finals. Their 2011 isn’t done yet. In two weeks they’ll steel themselves for an East Kerry (O’Donoghue Cup) Championship semi-final against Glenflesk before coach Harry O’Neill can start thinking of the new year and the All-Ireland semi-final clash with Crossmaglen in February. If the pain of last January’s Munster club final defeat to Nemo was a prod yesterday, the manner of their loss to the Armagh men in the 2007 All-Ireland final will doubtless stoke New Year preparations.

Yesterday’s Munster final success, the club’s fourth, was a Crokes patent in its execution. 1-4 to 0-2 down after 20 minutes, their peerless ability to wriggle out of difficulty was again their salvation. Within three minutes, they had created two goals against the run of the opening quarter. How do they keep doing that? Lock-pickers. Back in 1992, when this glorious run of success began, they had intelligent goal-getting forwards like Pat O’Shea, Connie Murphy and Seanie O’Shea. Afterwards came Roland Neher and company. There is a club culture that begins with the under age structure Pat O’Shea has put in place.

UCC coach Paul O’Keeffe has a simpler explanation: when you’ve forwards like Colm Cooper, Kieran O’Leary, Brian Looney and Dáithí Casey, there’s always problems. The Killarney quartet mined 3-12 of the total yesterday. It was O’Leary’s 21st minute strike that cancelled UCC’s opening goal, confidently taken by Kenmare’s Stephen O’Brien. College still had a 1-4 to 1-2 edge before O’Leary, who had an outstanding game, ghosted inside the cover and palmed down a Cooper free to Dáithí Casey to goal again.

The Crokes template is to punish vulnerable opposition but it took a while. College have built a defiance from this wonderful year one wouldn’t normally associate with university teams and Brian Coughlan and Mike Griffin both pointed to level again approaching half-time (2-3 to 1-6). UCC reworked their full back line early and often to try and counter the Casey-O’Leary-Cooper axis. Martin Hickey, Matthew Galvin and Sean Kiely all had spells trying to quell Kieran O’Leary without apparent success. Gooch was yet to erupt as the sides went to the dressing rooms with Crokes 2-4 to 1-6 in front after a Casey free.

The 2,961 paying patrons didn’t have long to wait for the Cooper cameo – the first, second and third minutes of the second half, in fact, each recorded with a Gooch point. The last of the three was created by Johnny Buckley, who was now hobbling around the edge of the square after rolling an ankle. He is due to go for a scan today to determine whether he can join his inter-county colleagues on a short sojourn to New York this week. That could have been an issue but Ambrose O’Donovan was always watching the back door, while Dáithí Casey slotted in as his creative partner.

College centre-back Niall Daly and Crokes’ Duracell wing forward Brian Looney swapped points before Crokes took a tighter grip. Eoin Brosnan surged forward to fist a point but there was still a dying sting from a wearying College outfit as Sean Kiely and Paul Geaney landed points to make it 2-9 to 1-9. Only their All-Ireland commitments into February will prevent Looney and Dáithí Casey being called into Jack O’Connor’s National League squad. The Kingdom coach may also fret over Cooper and Kieran O’Leary, who’ve been at it without a break since the beginning of the year.

“We’ll taper it down now while the (Kerry) lads are in New York,” Crokes coach Harry O’Neill said, “but I’m sure there will be plenty of fellas ready to put their hand up for the Glenflesk game. After Christmas, we’ll begin to think about Crossmaglen.” Football neutrals already are. Crokes have played their last six county and provincial club championship games in Killarney but it is less the venue and more the physical strength of the Ulster champions that will exercise minds on Lewis Road over the holiday period.

This latest group of Crokes crackers are still a year or two from their peak, not just in football terms but from a physical point of view. The full back line yesterday looked uncomfortable in the opening quarter and four of the six backs are what we’d euphemistically call tidy. Their celebrated attack will always give Crokes a chance, however. In the final ten minutes they added on the numbers at will and six minutes from the end, Andrew Kenneally slid Casey through to apply the killer finish. 3-13 to 1-10. It must have been hard for one of their own to finish them off but in a final and laudable show of defiance, Paul Geaney bundled home a late goal for UCC. December day, July joy.

Scorers for Dr Crokes: D Casey (2-3, three frees); B Looney, C Cooper (0-4 each); K. O’Leary (1-1); E Brosnan and A O’Donovan (0-1 each).

Scorers for UCC: P Geaney (1-2, 2 frees), S O’Brien (1-0), B Coughlan (0-2), N Daly, S Kiely, W Kennedy, J O’Sullivan, M. Griffin, G. O’Grady (free) (0-1 each).

Subs for Dr Crokes: K McMahon for O’Leary (26); B McMahon for Buckley (53); C Brady for Doolin (57); S O’Neill for Kenneally (60).

Subs for UCC: D Culhane for Hickey (half time); S Beston for O’Sullivan (41); A Geaney for Griffin (43).

Referee: R Hickey (Clare)


Next Round – the winners play the Ulster champions Crossmaglen Rangers (Armagh) in the All-Ireland Club Semi-Final on Sunday February 19th.

For the Record

Dr. Crokes (Kerry) UCC (Cork)
Number of Munster Club Senior Football titles

(Dr. Crokes
1990, 1991, 2006)

Last Munster Club
Senior Football Title
2006 1999
Number of Munster Club Senior Football titles
(by County)
13 27
Last Munster Club
Senior Football Title
(by County)

(Dr. Crokes)


(Nemo Rangers)

Munster Club Senior Football Championship Record since 2000 for each county’s representative Played – 21
Won – 12
Lost –  9
Drawn – 0
Played – 25
Won – 20
Lost –  5
Drawn – 0
Last meeting in the Munster Club Senior Football Championship involving participating county representatives January 30th 2011 at Mallow
(Munster Club Final) –
Nemo Rangers (Cork) 1-15 Dr. Crokes (Kerry) 1-13


Munster GAA FOOTBALL Club Senior Championship 2011


Sunday November 6th (Replay date – Saturday November 12th)

@ Cloughduv                                   UCC (Cork) 1-19 Monaleen (Limerick) 2-15 (AET)

@ Fraher Field Dungarvan Dr. Crokes (Kerry) 3-13 Ballinacourty (Waterford) 0-7

Sunday November 20th (Replay date – Saturday November 26th)

@ Dr. Crokes GAA Club grounds             Dr. Crokes (Kerry) 0-12 Kilmurry-Ibrickane (Clare) 0-9

@ Clonmel Sportsfield                     UCC (Cork) 5-12 Moyle Rovers (Tipperary) 1-5


Sunday December 4th (Replay date – Saturday December 10th)

@ Fitzgerald Stadium Killarney    Dr. Crokes (Kerry) v UCC (Cork) 2:00pm
Odds and Ends

Dating back to 1986, the representatives of Cork and Kerry have met in the Munster Club Senior Football Final on just 3 occasions out of a total of 25 deciders during that time (12%)

  • 2010 – Nemo Rangers (Cork) 1-15 Dr. Crokes (Kerry) 1-13
  • 2000 – Nemo Rangers (Cork) 0-11 Glenflesk (Kerry) 0-7
  • 1996 – Laune Rangers (Kerry) defeated Clonakilty (Cork)

By contrast, in the 21 Munster Club Senior Football Finals played from 1965 through to 1985, Kerry and Cork’s representatives met on 9 occasions (43%).

In the last 5 Munster Club Senior Football Finals, the winning team has won by a margin of 3 points or less on each occasion.

  • 2010 – Nemo Rangers (Cork) 1-15 Dr. Crokes (Kerry) 1-13
  • 2009 – Kilmurry-Ibrickane (Clare) 0-7 Kerins O’Rahillys (Kerry) 0-6
  • 2008 – Dromcollogher-Broadford (Limerick) 0-7 Nemo Rangers (Cork) 0-6
  • 2007 – Nemo Rangers (Cork) 1-10 Ballinacourty (Waterford) 1-7
  • 2006 – Dr. Crokes (Kerry) 2-5 Nire (Waterford) 0-8

Only 6 goals have been scored in the last 300 minutes of Munster Club Senior Football Final action. Based on the average of a goal every 50 minutes, perhaps the first goal in Fitzgerald Stadium will arrive in the 50th minute and if so, would surely be a match winner?

Since 2000, Cork hold the best record in the Munster Club Championship with 20 victories and 6 Munster Club titles during that period.

Kerry’s record in the Munster Club Senior Football Championship sees them with 13 titles, just under half the total of Cork clubs (27). Since 2000, Kerry have captured 2 Munster club titles and have not captured the All-Ireland Club Senior Football title since Laune Rangers victory in 1995 / 1996. During Kerry’s Golden Years at Inter-County level, Kerry won just 3 of the 12 Munster Club Senior Football titles on offer (Austin Stacks – 1976 & Castleisland Desmonds 1984 and 1985).

Since St. Patrick’s Day 1996, only 1 of the last 15 Munster Club Senior Football champions (7%) have won the All-Ireland Club Senior Football title – Nemo Rangers in the 2002/2003 season. Prior to 1996, Munster Clubs captured 15 All-Ireland’s at this grade, an average of 60% dating back to 1971.

From 1964 to 1997, no club outside of Kerry or Cork won the Munster Club Senior Football title (Thomond College representing Limerick won the 1977 title). Since 1998, Kilmurry/Ibrickane (2), Doonbeg and Dromcollogher-Broadford have been successful in winning the Munster Club Senior Football titles.

Clare won 3 Munster Club Senior Football titles since 2004 and have won 13 of the 25 matches played in the Munster Club Championship since 2000.

Limerick’s Dromcollogher-Broadford defeated Nemo Rangers and Kilmurry/Ibrickane to win the 2008 Munster Club Senior Football title. Those 2 victories are the only wins for the Limerick Senior Football champions in this competition dating back to 2003, a period of 9 matches which include 8 defeats and 1 drawn game, includling Monaleen’s defeat to UCC this season.

Munster GAA Club FOOTBALL Senior Championship Roll Of Honour

Cork (27) – 1966, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2010

Kerry (13) – 1964, 1965, 1968, 1970, 1976, 1984, 1985, 1990, 1991, 1995, 1996, 2003, 2006,

Clare (3) – 1998, 2004, 2009

Limerick (2) – 1977, 2008

Munster GAA Club FOOTBALL Senior Championship – List of Winning Teams

Visit the Munster GAA web site History section to view the complete list of each winning team since the competition began 1888 –

All Ireland GAA Club FOOTBALL Senior Championship

In the Club Senior Football All Ireland Roll of Honour, Cork top the charts with 11 titles followed by Kerry with 5. Limerick have 1 All-Ireland Club Football title courtesy of Thomond College in 1977/1978.

Munster Club Senior FOOTBALL Cup

Club Championship Senior Football Cup – Michael O’Connor Cup

Presented by Munster Council in 1991 to commemorate late Chairman & Treasurer.