Dr. Crokes will face off against UCC at Fitzgerald Stadium on Sunday for the Munster club football final.
Led by star player Colm “Gooch” Cooper, Crokes like UCC will set out in search of their 4th Munster football senior title, their last title coming in 2006.
Having been beaten in last years final against Nemo Rangers Crokes will be looking to avenge that defeat with a victory over a new set of opposition from Cork however to do that they will have to defeat a U.C.C side that boasts many of last years Sigerson winning squad.
Adding extra interest to the occasion is the number of Kerrymen plying their trade with UCC. In all the students had ten players from Kerry in their line up when they beat Castlehaven in the Cork football championship decider back in October.
Two of that side Daithi Casey and midfielder Johnny Buckley will in face be facing off against their college mates on Sunday as they line out for their club for the match.
Both men will be big losses with Casey, in particular having scored 1-4 in that final however at the least the students won’t be able to complain about being unprepared for the two.
In the same way the number of Kerry based players on the student’s team will probably help Dr Crokes who have less time to prepare for the final having had to overcome Killarney Legion in a divisional match just last weekend.
In most counties sides would get a week off before a provincial final instead Crokes played an almost full strength team although the likes of Cooper and Kieran O’ Leary were replaced with 20 minutes left of the 1-14 to 0-5 victory.
The Kerry side emerged from a stern test in their semi final defeating Kilmurry –Ickbrane by score of 0-12 to 0-9. Kilmurry made life very tough on Crokes stalwarts Eoin Brosnan and Cooper with Cooper in particular marked by two players for much of the game. Despite this he managed to rattle off four late points to seal the victory.
Dr Crokes are boosted by the improving fitness of Ambrose O’Donovan and the return of David O’Leary after a thumb injury.
UCC, who last claimed the Munster title in 1999, strolled through their semi final putting up a whopping 5-12 against Tipperary side Moyle Rovers 1-5. Before that they have had they needed extra time before overcoming Limerick side Monaleen, 1-19 to 2-15.
Undoubtedly manager Paul O Keefe will be looking for a similar performance from his defence to that of the semi final and will have a plan similar to that of Ickbrane in order to keep Cooper quiet.