CORK produced a storming second half to regain the TG4 Munster championship at sun-drenched CIT on Saturday.
Kerry played some decent football in the first half that saw them deservedly lead by four points at the break but when Cork resumed in the second half they played like a team possessed.
The play was fast and furious from the throw-in but Cork were struggling with their kicking and passing options with Amy Foley kicking Kerry ahead in the third minute. The same player extended Kerry’s lead two minutes later but Cork should have raised the opening green flag a minute later before Aine O’Sullivan kicked the opening point.
Cork had a goal opportunity when Aine O’Sullivan was left free on goal but the Beara player over carried the ball instead of passing it to Orla Finn. Kerry to their credit looked really up for battle and two minutes later they almost exposed poor Cork defending but Eilish O’Leary missed the target from close range.
The Rebels showed class in the eight minute when Ciara O’Sullivan was dragged down on route to goal. Up stepped Hannah Looney and the Aghada ace kicked a superb penalty that gave the Kerry keeper Laura Fitzgerald no chance.
Credit to Kerry they continued to take the game to Cork and six minutes later and they were rewarded with a classy move that yielded their opening goal.
Andrea Murphy gathered possession before assisting Amy Foley who duly found Sarah Houlihan as the Kerry captain finished with sheer class to the back of the net.
The amount of turnovers that Cork registered in this period cost them possession at crucial times and with Tipperary referee Tony Fox frustrating the home side with dubious frees they struggled to contain their opponents.
The Kingdom continued to frustrate Cork and another period of constructive attacking play saw them finish the half with a fortunate ball.
A high ball from Siobhan Burns wasn’t gathered by the Cork goalkeeper Martina O’Brien as Amy Foley was on hand to guide the ball to the empty net.
Trailing 2-6 to 1-5 the Cork management needed to instil some inspiration into their players and a monstrous Doireann O’Sullivan point just two minutes into the restart gave them the perfect opening to the half.
Two minutes later Cork pushed forward again as a 30 yard solo from Ciara O’Sullivan saw her drill an unstoppable shot to the roof of the net.
There was little doubt Kerry were rattled and Cork could have edged further ahead on their next possession but Aine O’Sullivan’s shot came off the post.
Cork were now on ascendancy and were awarded a penalty in the 38th minute that knocked the stuffing completely out of their opponents as substitute Saoirse Noonan slotted home the penalty with sheer precision.
The idea of having timeouts for the distribution of water is a great idea by the ladies football association as the players certainly needed it in the soaring heat.
It was a case of going through the motions for the remainder of the half as Ciara O’Sullivan added a second goal in the 41st minute with Hannah Looney on target for a fifth green flag with three minutes remaining.
The effort put in by both teams should be commended but when the wake-up call was required Cork responded to run out comfortable winners.
Scorers for Cork: C O’Sullivan 2-0 (1-0 pen), H Looney 2-0, S Noonan 1-1 (1-0 pen), A O’Sullivan 0-5, O Finn 0-3, D O’Sullivan 0-2, A Hutchings, O Farmer (0-1 each).
Kerry: S Houlihan 1-4 (0-3 f), A Foley 1-2, L Scanlon, E Dineen, B Ryan, K O’Sullivan 0-1 each.
CORK: M O’Brien; C Collins, R Phelan, E Spillane; M O’Callaghan, M Duggan, S Kelly; A Hutchings, O Farmer, A; H Looney, D O’Sullivan, L Coppinger; A O’Sullivan, C O’Sullivan, O Finn.
Subs: S Noonan for O Farmer (h-t), B O’Sullivan for A O’Sullivan (44), O Farmer for L Coppinger (54), A Kelleher for R Phelan (56).
KERRY: L Fitzgerald; L Coughlan, S Murphy, E Lynch; D Kearney, A Desmond, A O’Connell; L Scanlon, A Brosnan; A Foley, S Burns, E Dineen; A Murphy, E O’Leary, S Houlihan.
Subs: B Ryan for S Burns (h-t), K O’Sullivan for L Coughlan (42), S Lynch for E O’Leary (44), A O’Callaghan for A Murphy (50), D Geaney for E Dineen (59).
Referee: Tony Fox (Tipperary).