Cork 3-10 Kerry 1-19
KERRY duly clinched their 81st Munster football title and their seventh on the spin, but not before great rivals Cork made them battle to the end in front of a crowd of 18,265 at Pairc Ui Rinn on Saturday.
Second-half goals from Luke Connolly and Brian Hurley brought Cork level at 3-6 to 1-12 by the 48th minute as the home support roared on the underdogs.
But, Kerry weathered the storm with Stephen O’Brien, Diarmuid O’Connor and Sean O’Shea kicking crucial points to keep Cork at arm’s length despite losing Paul Geaney to a 54th-minute black card, having already received yellow.
Kerry led by 1-10 to 1-4 at half-time after both sides squandered goal-scoring opportunities with respective keepers, Shane Ryan and Mark White, coming to the rescue.
It took the visitors just six minutes to breach the Cork defence as Sean O’Shea streaked through before setting up Tom O’Sullivan, who finished coolly.
Kerry jumped 1-5 to 0-1 clear after the opening quarter before Cork bagged a much-needed goal, Connolly flicking the ball over Ryan from a Ruairi Deane pass.
CORK: M White; N Walsh, J Loughrey (0-1), K Flahive; L O’Donovan, T Clancy (Fermoy), M Taylor; I Maguire, captain, K O’Hanlon; P Kerrigan, S White (0-1), R Deane; M Collins (0-8, six frees), B Hurley (1-0), L Connolly (2-0, 1-0 penalty).
Subs: K O’Donovan for Walsh injury 35 mins, K O’Driscoll for S White and M Hurley for B Hurley 58 mins, S Sherlock for Connolly 65 mins, A Browne for Taylor 67 mins, S Cronin for Loughrey 68 mins.
KERRY: S Ryan; J Foley, T Morley, T O’Sullivan (1-1); P Murphy, J Sherwood, G White, captain; D Moran, J Barry; D O’Connor (0-2), S O’Shea (0-7, five frees), S O’Brien (0-2); D Clifford (0-4, one free), P Geaney (0-1), D Moynihan (0-1).
Subs: G Crowley for Foley 41 mins, M Burns (0-1) for Moynihan 50 mins, A Spillane for Barry 52 mins, B O’Beaglaoich for O’Connor 65 mins, M Griffin for O’Sullivan 67 mins.
Referee: A Nolan (Wicklow).