It’s more than a coincidence now. Kenmare Shamrocks snatched a last-gasp win for the third game on the bounce to book a place in their first Kerry Club SFC final. Once more it was Kerry’s Sean O’Shea who converted a 67th minute free in Kenmare to upset the odds and defeat a fancied Dr Crokes side.
It was a thrilling contest that had just about everything and it was some comeback by the home side, who looked in big trouble at half time as they trailed the Crokes 1-8 to 0-5. The Killarney men were the better side in the opening half but with both sides dropping men behind the ball, scores were hard-earned. The difference was in their respective transitions with Crokes quicker to move the ball from defence to their deadly attack, while Kenmare’s build-up was slow and ponderous.
Micheál Burns was placed for the opening score before his Crokes colleague Tony Brosnan added three points and Michael Potts burst through to score a cracking goal. Dan McCarthy with three points and Seanie O’Shea (2) two kept Kenmare in touch as Brian Looney, David Shaw, Kieran O’Leary, and Brosnan all added Crokes points.
However an early second-half goal for Kenmare by Paul O’Connor hinted at a Crokes vulnerability under the high ball, and it seemed to reignite the home side. Points from Seanie O’Shea, Kevin O’Sullivan and Dan McCarthy closed the gap to one (1-9 to 1-8). Tony Brosnan was doing his best for Crokes but another piece of poor Crokes defending allowed Dan McCarthy to prod the ball home and the sides were tied at 2-8 to 1-11 at the water break.
Crokes moved three clear by the 58th minute thanks to points from David Naughton, Brian Looney, and Michael Potts. Crokes’ Shane Murphy saved a Paul O’Connor spot-kick but handled outside his area and O’Shea made it a two-point game going into added time.
Kenmare Shamrocks refused to accept defeat and points from O’Connor and Seanie O’Shea (2) levelled the contest. A draw would good enough for the Crokes go through on scoring difference but O’Shea earned a final spot for Kenmare Shamrocks with the last free of the game.
Scorers for Kenmare Shamrocks: D McCarthy (1-4), S O’Shea (0-6, 3 frees), P O’Connor (1-1), K O’Sullivan (0-1).
Scorers for Dr Crokes: T Brosnan (0-6, 3 frees, 1’45), M Potts (1-1), M Burns and B Looney (0-2 each), D Naughton, D Shaw and K O’Leary (0-1 each).
KENMARE SHAMROCKS: K Fitzgibbon; D Crowley, J McCarthy, T O’Sullivan; S O’Sullivan, D O’Shea, M Murnane; K O’Sullivan, F O’Sullivan; M Crowley, S O’Shea, T Murnane, M McCarthy, D McCarthy, P O’Connor.
Subs: T Cronin for M Murnane (48), S O’Leary for F O’Sullivan (51).
DR CROKES: S Murphy; D Naughton, M Moloney, F Fitzgerald; C Fitzgerald, G White, M Potts; M O’Shea, J Buckley; M Burns, G O’Shea, B Looney; T Brosnan, D Shaw, K O’Leary.
Subs: J Payne for M Moloney (24), D O’Leary for G O’Shea (43), M Moloney for D Naughton (60).
Referee: P O’Sullivan (Firies)