Kerry Petroleum Senior Club Final:
Stacks dethrone jaded Crokes thanks to second half Quilter binge
Dr Crokes 1-15
Austin Stacks 1-21
By Murt Murphy
Austin Stacks became Kerry Senior Club Champions for the first time since 2016, when they dethroned current champions Dr Crokes with a power packed second half display in this year’s final, played in brilliant sunshine at the Austin Park and look a side with bags of potential for the championship over the next few years.
But Crokes after a bright opening thirty minutes when they led 1-8 to 0-9 approaching half time were hit with a sucker punch that appeared to suck the life out them, when Stacks struck for a crucial goal. A long ball saw Kieran Donaghy beat Michael Moloney and Alan O’Sullivan in the air and when he was hauled down, referee Seamus Mulvihill pointed to the spot and Darragh O’Brien sent Shane Murphy the wrong way. So Stacks retired 1-9 to 1-8 in front and in truth Crokes never really recovered.
Gavin O’Shea, who was one of the better Crokes players, along with Daithí Casey, John Payne and Johnny Buckley in patches, got the Crokes goal in sixth minute and they were looking menacing as they raced 1-4 to 0-2 clear inside the opening quarter. Then Stacks hit a purple patch with six unanswered points from Kieran Donaghy with two within a minute and two from Greg Horan, with Ronan Shanahan, and Fiadhna Mangan also chipping in with one each as Stacks hit the front.
Crokes responded two Tony Brosnan beauties, and one each from Daithí Casey and David Shaw to lead by two until Donaghy intervened and won that penalty.
The third quarter was nip and tuck as Stacks with teenager Sean Quilter now a central figure led 1-13 to 1-12 with thirteen minutes to go. But four Sean Quilter points which brought his second half tally to 0-7, really killed off a tiring Crokes side that were merely chasing shadows.
Casey and Payne tried to lift Crokes with points, but Stacks were rampant and subs Conor Jordan, Shane Carroll and Ferdia O’Brien out the icing on the Stacks cake while Crokes will look forward to a long rest after playing six games in seven weeks, since their All-Ireland Club Final loss to Corofin.
Scorers: Austin Stacks: S Quilter ( 0-7, 3 frees), D O’Brien ( 1-3, 2 frees, 1-0 pen), G Horan, K Donaghy and S O’Callaghan (0-2 each), R Shanahan, F Mangan, S Carroll, C Jordan and F O’Brien ( 0-1 each)
Dr Crokes: D Casey ( 0-5, 3 frees), G O’Shea ( 1-1), M Burns and T Brosnan ( 0-2 each), J Payne, J Buckley, D Shaw, K O’Leary and J Kiely (0-1 each)
DR CROKES: S Murphy; J Payne, M Moloney, F Fitzgerald; D O’Leary, A O’Sullivan , M Potts; J Buckley, D Casey; M Burns, G O’Shea, B Looney; D Shaw, K O’Leary, T Brosnan
Subs: J Kiely for A O’Sullivan (42), M Milner for G O’Shea (47), J Lyne for M Potts (55), M O’Shea for J Buckley (56), B Courtney for D Shaw (60)
AUSTIN STACKS: R Murphy; C Griffin, B Shanahan, J O’Shea; C O’Reilly, R Shanahan, J Morgan; W Guthrie, J O’Connor; G Horan, D O’Brien, F Mangan; S Quilter, K Donaghy, S O’Callaghan
Subs: C Jordan for F Mangan (38), M O’Gara for W Guthrie (inj 40), F O’Brien for D O’Brien (52), S Carroll for S O’Callaghan (58), B Patterson for C Griffin (60+)
Referee: S Mulvihill