Killarney Crokes too strong for Corofin

Galway and Connacht club champions Corofin bowed out of the All-Ireland club series at the semi-final stage when they were beaten by nine points by Kerry and Munster champions Killarney Crokes in Limerick.

On Sunday Crokes were more focused and vibrant, and all their big players stood up and produced performances.

Players such as forwards Kieran O'Leary, who shot five points from play in the first half, Daithí Casey, Gavin O'Shea and Colm Cooper were too lively and mobile for the Corofin defence.

Around the middle too, men such as team captain Johnny Buckley, Ambrose Rodgers and Alan O'Sullivan held sway, and their ability to win primary and secondary possession was a big factor in their success. Corofin seemed to be second to the ball in most areas and that gave Crokes the platform on which to build.

Most of Corofin's key players found it difficult to get a foothold, and their talented forward line was never given much space by a well organised and tenacious Killarney defence.

Soft goal

A fortuitous goal for Crokes centre-forward Gavin O'Shea, son of team manager, and former Kerry manager Pat O'Shea, just before half time was a real hammer blow to Kevin O'Brien's charges. It left five points between the sides, 1-7 to 0-5, and seemed to suck more energy out of the Corofin legs.

Although Corofin had not played well in the opening half, they had looked likely to finish the half only a point or two down until Crokes struck with that first goal.

The Kerry men also made the better start to the second half with a few fast points. And despite a good rally from Corofin in the third quarter with scores for Jason Leonard and two good points for young Dylan Wall, the Kerry lads won with ease at the finish, scoring a breakaway goal to bury Corofin's dreams of a possible third All-Ireland appearance to go with 1998 and 2015.

The final score was 2-11 to 0-8 and Corofin can have no complaints as they were well beaten by a superior and hungrier side on the day.

Crokes, who were beaten in three consecutive All-Ireland semi-finals in 2012, 2013 and 2014, will be favourites to defeat Slaughtneil (Derry ) in the All-Ireland final and add to their sole All-Ireland success from 1992, when they also defeated Corofin in the semi-final.

Down around Corofin and Belclare it will be a week or two of reflection to see what led to the partial systems failure last Saturday and perhaps a few weeks off training before they dust themselves down and see if the appetite is there to go for what would be a historic five-in-a-row of county titles.

No doubt the likes of Mountbellew/Moylough, Tuam Stars, Salthill/Knocknacarra, Cortoon Shamrocks and a few other ambitious senior clubs will be keen to make sure that does not happen over the coming months.

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