Brave Loughmore fail to deny ‘The Gooch’ and Crokes

Loughmore-Castleiney failed to bridge the gulf in class with aristocrats Dr Crokes on Sunday.

Loughmore-Castleiney failed to bridge the gulf in class with aristocrats Dr Crokes on Sunday.

But the seventeen point winning margin for the Kerry side in Killarney was unfair to the Tipp double winners.

This was a game which demonstrated once more, the resilience of the Tipp lads.

They put up a stern challenge but at the end of the day the class of Dr Crokes shone through.

They were simply better able to create and take scores with six of their sharpshooters having registered by the 20th minute, whereas John McGrath was the sole contributor for Loughmore Castleiney until the 40th minute - and all of McGrath’s efforts were from placed balls apart from the opening score of the game which came after just 25 seconds.

It was a great start for the Tipp champions but by the time they registered their next score a quarter of an hour later, Crokes had racked up 1-4.

The Kerry men were physically bigger and stronger than their counterparts, and their movement off the ball was incredible.

It took Loughmore Castleiney some time to get to grips with their flow and while they struggled to get to the pitch, Brian Looney, Daithi Casey, Jamie Doolan and Kevin O’Leary pointed.

Crokes were carving open the defence and it seemed only a matter of time before a goal would materialise - it did in the form of a Colm Cooper penalty in the 12th minute after Looney had been fouled with a goal on the table.

By the 21st minute Crokes had a 1-7 to 0-2 advantage - Alan O’Sullivan, Jamie Doolan and Looney again pointing.

But Loughmore Castleiney were beginning to find their shape.

They were still having a go and when they began to curb the scoring exploits of their hosts, they capitalised up front.

A penalty in the 23rd minute after David Kennedy was fouled following a fine run from Evan Sweeney, was confidently dispatched to the net by John McGrath and they followed up with another McGrath free before the end of the half.

However, a Cian Hennessy goal effort was somehow beaten away by the Crokes defence in the 30th minute after he had put through by Aidan McGrath - a goal at that stage would have been a major fillip to them.

So, a 1-8 to 1-3 deficit seperated them at the break.

Realistically, Crokes were never going to be caught in their own backyard, but it didn’t stop Loughmore Castleiney from having a right rattle at them.

Six yellow cards in as many minutes after resumption punctuated the play and when Cian Hennessy received a second yellow and his marching orders in the 6th minute, it was curtains for his side.

They dug in though and scores from John McGrath and Ciaran McGrath left four in it with the travelling supporters voicing their approval in the stand.

They were muted though a few minutes later when Brian Looney nipped in for a second goal after Cooper and Doolin inter changed.

The extra man, and the many games played, began to tell and Crokes racked up the scores as they took full advantage - a Kieran O’Leary goal three minutes later adding to the Tipp reps woes.

The quality of the shooting from Crokes in the game was top class and they were to go on and kick 2-7 unanswered in the second half as they raced to a comprehensive win on the scoreboard having been put to the pin of their collar for long periods.

Wing forward Brian Looney kicked three of those and in a great personal outing, he managed 1-6 of his side’s total. But, it was the Gooch who pulled the strings and with more space to exploit he inflicted fatal damage.

The game ended on low note when John Ryan and Chris Brady were both red carded - Brady had only been on the field 5 minutes for Crokes before getting his orders.

Had the Tipp side taken a few early scoring chances who knows how this game might have panned out - certainly the Hennessy goal chance just before the break would have given the hosts plenty to think about as they went in at the interval.

Team should be feted for tackling adversity

The players are to be feted for their efforts; for their very obvious pride shown in the green and red jersey; for their willingness to tackle adversity without complaint; and for the many many great days they have given GAA people in Tipperary this season.

Theirs was the story everybody wanted to hear and they certainly had a substantial portion of the county behind them as they made the bid for double honours.

Their management team too of Declan Laffan, Pat McGrath, Seamus Bohan and trainer Alan O;’Connor can take a well deserved bow following what was an unprecedently busy season on btoh fronts.

They planned their season to a tee and managed to keep the players fresh all the way through.

No mean feat.

Dr Crokes:

D Moloney, J Payne, L Quinn, K Ward, E Brosnan, F Fitzgerald, S Myers, A O’Donovan, J Buckley, A O’Sullivan 0-1, D Casey 0-1, B Looney 1-6, K O’Leary 1-1, C Cooper 1-2, J Doolan 0-4. Subs: D O’Leary, G O’Shea, S Doolan, M Moloney, C Brady.

Loughmore Castleiney:

D Brennan, T Long, J Meagher, L Egan, T King, C McGrath 0-1, J Ryan, N McGrath, D Kennedy, J McGrath 1-4, A McGrath, C Hennessy, L McGrath, D Bourke, E Sweeney. Subs: M Webster, S Hennessy, J Nyland, W Eviston, T McGrath.

Referee: Michael Collins