Seniors v O'Tooles July 29th

A satisfactory day at the office!  Following a 3-9 to 1-12 victory over O’Tooles at a sun dappled Parnell Park on the evening of 29th July Crokes senior hurlers season is back on track.

This was a well deserved victory against an O’Tooles side which already had two championship victories under its belt and was festooned with Dublin intercounty players even if short three of the big names.  Crokes showed their intentions from the start even if the initial attacks failed to produce a result and O’Tooles registered the first score, a pointed free, after four minutes.  Two minutes later Crokes were in the lead.  A 70 metre free from Fergal Armstrong was blocked down by the northsider’s keeper and James Burke was on hand to steer the ball to the net.  O’Tooles responded with three points over the next five minutes before Armstrong sent over a 40 metre free. Two minutes later he repeated the trick from 45 metres.  Within a minute Crokes stretched the lead.  Good work from Hugh Gannon placed the ball to Shane O’Rorke who found Brian Motherway.  The Cloyne man took on his marker and rifled the sliothar to the O’Tooles net from an acute angle.  Over the next three minutes Fergal Armstrong further extended the Crokes lead with pointed frees from 55 and 70 metres respectively.

At this stage Crokes were well on top but a stoppage for an injury to an O’Tooles player seemed to upset their rhythm.  From the resultant free O’Tooles pointed and the Stillorgan defenders came under more pressure.  During one scramble good harrying by the Crokes defence led to a wild pull on Cormac de Frein yielding a relieving free out.  In this period Dave Mahony at full back dealt with everything that came his way.  He was ably assisted by Adrian Grogan and Declan Walsh played a captain’s part in the pivotal role.  In the 26th minute Donal McGovern was harshly penalised for overcarrying.  The long range free was cleared at the expense of a 65.  A minute later O’Tooles raised another white flag.  Crokes then put a 65 wide before O’Tooles swept in for a goal.  They followed this with a point to go in 1-8 to 2-4 ahead the break.

For the detached the signs at half time might have been ominous.  Crokes had dominated the first 20 minutes playing with application, resolve and skill.  Then for the next ten old habits of leaving it to others and waiting for things to happen re-asserted themselves.  Not having played well O’Tooles were a point to the good.  Crokes had played themselves out and in the second half the seasoned campaigners would pull away.

This view seemed to be confirmed when O’Tooles opened the second half scoring with a point.  However, by the 35th minute two Armstrong frees had levelled matters and in the 36th minute came the score of the game.  Damian Walsh, who had had a very competitive first half, gained possession.  He off loaded to James Burke, took the return and sent it to the top corner from 25 metres for as a good a goal as we are likely to see this year.  Three minutes later O’Tooles were down to fourteen men when one of their players was shown the red card after a second yellow.  Three minutes further on Shane O’Rorke was subjected to a very robust challenge.  Inexplicably play was allowed continue and it was only after O’Tooles pointed that the game was stopped to allow treatment.

Shortly after play resumed Crokes had a chance to extend the lead when Niall Murphy was unable to capitalise on a James Burke pass.  In the 51st minute O’Tooles narrowed the gap with a minor form a 60 metre free.  Macdara O’hOgain, with one of his trade mark puck outs sent the sliothar all of 120 metres.  The ball came back to the Crokes endline for another wide and O’hOgain reprised.  Even though both “monsters” went out over the sideline O’Tooles were still forced to defend deep in their own territory and the reward came in the 52nd minute when Niall Murphy pointed following excellent harassing by the Crokes forwards.

This put Crokes two points ahead. Over the remaining eleven minutes (including three of injury time) Crokes spurned a number of chances to stretch the lead.  At the other end O’Tooles landed a lot of ball in on top of the Crokes defence where Damien Byrne, Fionan Moriarty and Conor O’Connor coped admirably even if, at times, Crokes let their composure drop slightly with several clearances going to unmarked O’Tooles men.  In the 57th minute James Burke leapt to make a great catch from a long range Armstrong free and pointed with a superb strike.  With a few minutes to go Ross O’Carroll came on and made an immediate impression forcing a save from the O’Tooles goalkeeper at the expense of a 65 which Damien Walsh gratefully put over to seal a well merited victory.  Overall a very pleasing performance and congratulations to all involved including especially the management team of Morgan Lawlor, Colm Maher and John Dillon. 


Macdara O’hOgain, Adrian Grogan, Dave Mahony, Cormac de Frein, Fionan Moriarty, Declan Walsh, Damien Byrne, Hugh Gannon, Fergal Armstrong (0-6, f -6), Niall Murphy (0-1), James Burke (1-1), Donal McGovern, Damian Walsh (1-1, 65-1), Brian Motherwway (1-0), Shane O’Rorke.  Subs: Conor O’Connor for Cormac de Frein, Ross O’Carroll for Niall Murphy, Paul Graham, Derry Collins, Michael Dalton, Eoin de Paor, Daibhi de Paor, Aodhan de Paor, Tomas Donohue, Fergus Garvey, Eoin Roche and Niall Lillis

For images from the match click HERE