DR Crokes, and Colm Cooper in particular, seem to be leaving no stone unturned in their bid to capture the All-Ireland Senior Football Club Championship.
On a weekend which saw Garrycastle, the reigning Leinster champions, lose out 0-12 to 1-8 to Mullingar Shamrocks in the Westmeath final replay, Dr Crokes were ruthless when defeating Dingle in the Kerry decider.
They eased to a 2-13 to 0-8 victory, a performance which suggests that Dr Crokes will be very serious challengers for the All-Ireland title. Cooper produced a Man of the Match display in Austin Stack Park, helping set up both of the Dr Crokes goals and also contributing three points.
The match was effectively over after the Killarney outfit scored two early goals through Chris Brady and Johnny Looney. By half-time, Dr Crokes were 2-6 to 0-5 clear and they coasted through the second period.
Cooper explained that his team had done their homework. He said: “We looked at Dingle and noted that they get away to quick starts and score lots of goals.
“We, by contrast, hadn’t been starting well. So, we put a lot of emphasis on the first 15 minutes and it paid off.”
Crokes were collecting their third Kerry title in a row but the real prize is surely Crossmaglen’s All-Ireland crown. Before then, however, Dr Crokes will have to play very well if they are to take the Munster crown.
Kilmurrry from Clare are not expected to present too many problems in the first round of the Munster Championship this weekend but the formidable Castlehaven team are in the other half of the draw. Castlehaven captured the Cork title with a hard earned 1-7 to 0-9 success over Duhallow at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.
It took a goal three minutes from time by substitute Shane Nolan to give Castlehaven the win. Earlier, they had looked in some trouble when wing-back Chris Hayes was sent off for a second yellow card.
Hayes’s dismissal came in the 43rd minute with the sides level at 0-6 apiece. So, Castlehaven had to show a lot of character to get over the line.
St Brigid’s from Roscommon, meanwhile, remain on course for a third successive Connacht title by recording a 2-19 to 0-10 quarter-final success over Leitrim’s Melvin Gaels Frankie Dolan finished with 0-7 in a one-sided encounter.
There was plenty of action on the Leinster club football front with two of main shocks being the defeats of Garrycastle and Rhode from Offaly.
Sean Daly (0-5) was one of many Mullingar Shamrock heroes as they edged Garrycastle by a single point.
Rhode also found themselves in a tight contest against St Patrick’s from Louth in the opening round of the Leinster Championship. St Patrick’s finished two points (1-9 to 1-7) clear.
Two other first round matches saw St Patrick’s from Wicklow edge out Carlow’s Eire Og 3-10 to 2-11, and Killoe Young Emmets (Longford) defeat St Anne’s (Wexford) 2-7 to 2-4.
Elsewhere, Navan O’Mahony’s justified the tag of favorites when capturing the Meath title by defeating Wolfe Tones by 1-11 to 0-7. They set the tone with a goal from Shane Gillespie within the first minute.
On the hurling front, the defending champions Loughgiel from Antrim overwhelmed Down’s Portaferry 2-25 to 0-12 in the Ulster final. To be fair, Portaferry competed reasonably well in the opening half but Loughgiel, with Liam Watson scoring 1-5, ran riot in the second period.
They can now expect Thurles Sarsfields to be one of their main challengers for the All-Ireland crown. The Tipperary outfit got the better of Limerick champions Kilmallock (2-12 to 0-15)) in the quarter-finals of the Munster Championship with Lar Corbett scoring 1-2.
Newmarket-on-Fergus look to be another decent side. They ended a long barren spell to win the Clare title by beating Cratloe 3-10 to 0-9. It was their 23rd Clare senior title in all but their first since 1981