Kerry 3-19 Cork 1-9
A rampant second half from Kerry at Páirc Ui Rinn last night installed them as firm favourites to win this year’s Electric Ireland Munster MFC.
The Kingdom have won the last five All-Ireland minor titles and will surely be in the mix again this year. However, Cork can regroup and will face the winners of tonight’s Clare-Tipperary game as part of a new round-robin series. A win there would put Bobbie O’Dwyer’s side in the final, but Kerry have shown that they represent a considerable challenge.
After the game’s opening two points were shared with frees from Kerry’s Dylan Geaney and Ryan O’Donovan of Cork, the Kingdom got on top, with Joseph Linehan and Ronan Collins outstanding at midfield.
Colin Crowley went close to a goal, Aaron O’Brien saving, but they reeled off four points in a row after that, with some of the shooting of the highest order, Geaney and fellow corner-forward Emmet O’Shea with stand-out efforts.
While Cork found themselves 0-6 to 0-1 down after ten minutes, there was no panic from the young Rebels and they got back on track. Captain Conor Corbett ended their drought after linking well with Patrick Campbell while O’Donovan showcased his shooting range and Campbell got in on the act.
They were back to within two by the quarter-hour mark and though O’Shea had an incredible point for Kerry from the corner flag, Campbell and two from O’Donovan had Cork level by the 23rd minute.
Kerry always looked to have the scoring power to test Cork though and Gearóid Hassett nad Darragh Lynch both had goal chances soon after that, Joseph O’Shea doing well to deny the latter. After Hassett put them back in front, they pushed on again and Colin Crowley’s point in injury time made it 0-11 to 0-7 before O’Donovan’s fifth left Cork a goal behind at half-time.
At the break, Cork introduced dual star Jack Cahalane and he had made an impact within 24 seconds of the restart. When Darragh Cashman found him in space, he drove towards goal and fired past Devon Burns, tying the game up once again.
However, by the time Cork would score again – through Conor Corbett on 56 – Kerry had added an unanswered 3-7. After captain Jack O’Connor and Geaney, with his fifth point, put Kerry two ahead again, they gave themselves breathing space as Darragh Lynch’s pass allowed Emmet O’Shea to find the net from close range.
That made it 1-13 to 1-8 and Geaney added his sixth of the evening before the second goal, Hasset set up by O’Connor’s superb pass. Eighteen minutes of football remained at that stage, but a nine-point advantage was never going to be eradicated. Just to make sure, Kerry buttressed their lead with further points, thanks to Hassett, O’Connor and Geaney and Geaney’s pass allowed O’Connor to get the third goal, after Danny Linehan had blocked his first effort.
Cork did finally add to their tally four minutes from the end of normal time as sub Alan O’Hare created a chance for Corbett. He looked to have got their second goal but Devon Burns made a superb save to tip the ball over.
Kerry got one more point after that, through sub Ryan O’Grady, to leave them 16-point winners. The sides may meet again, but Cork will know that a big task awaits.
Scorers for Kerry: D Geaney 0-8 (0-2 frees), J O’Connor (0-1 45), E O’Shea 1-3 each, G Hassett 1-2, C Crowley 0-2, R O’Grady 0-1.
Cork: R O’Donovan 0-5 (0-3 frees), J Cahalane 1-0, P Campbell, C Corbett 0-2 each.
KERRY: D Burns; K O’Sullivan, A Dineen, L Chester; E O’Sullivan, A Curran, S O’Brien; J Linehan, R Collins; J O’Connor, C Crowley, D Lynch; D Geaney, G Hassett, E O’Shea.
Sub: D O’Callaghan for Lynch (33-38, blood), O’Callaghan for Crowley (48), T Ó hAiniféin for Linehan (49), K Goulding for O’Shea, J Kerins for O’Brien (54), R O’Grady for O’Connor (56), T Cronin for Chester (56).
CORK: A O’Brien (Mitchelstown); N Lordan (Ballinora), D Peet (Clonakilty), N Gough (Bishopstown); D Cashman (Millstreet), D Linehan (Castlemagner), J O’Shea (Urhan); E Nash (Douglas), H Murphy (Éire Óg); A Walsh-Murphy (Valley Rovers), C Corbett (Clyda Rovers), D Collins (Glengarriff); K O’Driscoll (Gabriel Rangers), R O’Donovan (Barryroe), P Campbell (Nemo Rangers).
Subs: J Cahalane (Castlehaven) for Nash (half-time), S Aherne (Douglas) for O’Driscoll (40), S Andrews (Shamrocks) for Gough (43), A O’Hare (Douglas) for Collins (48), J McGrath (Carrigaline) for Walsh-Murphy (57).
Referee: A Kissane (Waterford).