All-Ireland club SFC: 14-man Crokes end Mullinalaghta fairytale

February 16, 2019

Dr Crokes goalkeeper Shane Muphy celebrates winning a free against Mullinalaghta at Semple Stadium

Dr Crokes (Kerry) 0-18

Mullinalaghta (Longford) 2-7

Dr Crokes overcame the 20th dismissal of Johnny Buckley to end the Mullinalaghta fairytale at Semple Stadium and set up a mouth-watering All-Ireland club SFC final meeting with holders Corofin on St Patrick's Day.

The Kerry midfielder is facing the prospect of missing the eagerly-awaited showdown between the last two Andy Merrigan Cup holders following an off-the-ball incident which was spotted by referee Sean Hurson. It was the only blip on a textbook performance from the Killarney outfit who were able to bring Colm Cooper and Eoin Brosnan off the bench in the second half after all six of their starting forwards had scored.

Surprise Leinster champions St Columba's gave it everything, but their opponents ultimately had too much class and firepower for them. Fionn Fitzgerald put the shackles on Mullinalaghta's dangerman Rian Brady, while Tony Brosnan and Kieran O'Leary led the line brilliantly at the other end.

The Mullinalaghta supporters, who greatly outnumbered those of Dr Crokes, were dreaming of another upset when David McGivney's early point was followed by a seventh-minute goal from a Gary Rogers penalty after Donal McElligott had been dragged down.

Dr Crokes reeled off the next four points before the underdogs grabbed a second goal in the 19th minute when Jayson Matthews palmed the ball to the net after Shane Murphy could only parry James McGivney's initial shot.

Things were looking rosy for the men from the half-parish in north Longford when Buckley's red card was followed by another David McGivney point which put them three in front, 2-2 to 0-5.

Micheál Burns of Dr Crokes keeps possession from Mullinalaghta's Donal McEligott

But Dr Crokes rolled up their sleeves and a flurry of points from David Shaw, O’Leary and Brosnan helped them to a 0-11 to 2-3 at the break.

The Kerry and Munster champions looked to have put the game to bed when they resumed with five more unanswered points, but Mullinalaghta hit back with two frees from McGivney and a Brendan Fox effort from play to reduce the deficit to four.

Matthews had a penalty appeal turned down,while Aidan McElligott was denied a goal by a super Shane Murphy save as the Longford men came in search of a third goal which would have put the cat among the pigeons.

But Dr Crokes kept their composure and sealed victory with late points from O'Leary and Micheal Burns.

Dr Crokes - S Murphy; J Payne, M Moloney, F Fitzgerald; D O'Leary, G White, S Doolan; J Buckley, D Casey (0-2, 1f); M Burns (0-1), G O'Shea (0-1), B Looney (0-1); D Shaw (0-3), K O'Leary (0-4), T Brosnan (0-6, 2f). Subs: M Potts for S Doolan, A O'Sullivan for D O'Leary, C Cooper for G O'Shea, E Brosnan for M Burns, J Kiely for T Brosnan.

Mullinalaghta - P Rogers; S Cadam, P Fox, C Brady; F Mulligan, S Mulligan, D McElligott (0-1); D McGivney (0-5, 4f), J Keegan; G Rogers (1-0pen), J McGivney, B Fox (0-1f); J Matthews (1-0), R Brady, A McElligott. Subs: M Cunningham for F Mulligan, C McElligott for B Fox.

Referee - S Hurson.

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