Kerry champions Dr. Crokes won the All-Ireland Club Senior Football title on Friday, edging out Derry side Slaughtneil by two points at Croke Park.
It was only the second All-Ireland victory in the Killarney club’s history, with the first coming all the way back in 1992.
The win also brought an end to Colm ‘Gooch’ Cooper’s hunt for an All-Ireland Club medal, something which had proved elusive to him throughout his ludicrously decorated playing career. And the Kerry great played a huge role in his side’s victory, accounting for 1-2 of their winning tally of 1-9.
Cooper’s goal came a little more than twenty minutes into the opening half and it was a crucial score. With his side down 1-4 to 0-3 and reeling, having conceded a goal and two points without mustering a response, Cooper struck after some wonderful play from Daithi Casey.
Crokes would tag on three more points before the end of the half, with their foes only managing one point in response.
Slaughtneil had bigger problems than the one-point deficit going in at the break, however. The Ulster champions were reduced to 14 men in the dying seconds of the first half as Padraig Cassidy, their goalscorer, was given his marching orders after he lashed out at Kieran O’Leary off of the ball.
After an exciting opening thirty minutes, the second half was a messy, dreary affair, with the two sides scoring just five points between them. But the men from ‘The Kingdom’ did enough to get across the line.
The final score was Dr. Crokes 1-9 Slaughtneil 1-07.
There was a touching moment during the presentation, as Dr. Crokes captain Johnny Buckley brought young Amy O’Connor, who is currently in a battle with cancer, up to help him lift the Andy Merrigan Cup.
This gesture and Cooper’s achievement dominated talk on Twitter after the game…
— AIB_GAA (@AIB_GAA) March 17, 2017
— Matthew Willis (@Annaghmore10) March 17, 2017
Well done to Colm Cooper and Dr Crokes. As for the ref? Words fail me. Red card was crucial.
— Adrian Logan (@OurLogie) March 17, 2017
— L. NíHéineacháin (@LaobhaoiseNihE) March 17, 2017
— Ian Cooney (@cooney_ian) March 17, 2017
— Emmett Egan (@EmmettEganSC) March 17, 2017
— Ronan Doohan (@RDoohan72) March 17, 2017
— Kate Cullinan (@KateCullinan1) March 17, 2017
Dr Crokes and Kerry's Pat O'Shea joins a small select group who have managed club and county to All-Ireland senior titles.
— Colm Keys (@KeysColm) March 17, 2017