IT might have been a third string team but Cork’s performance in the final outing in the Munster League was disappointing.
This competition is meant to be a chance for players to put up their hand with a view to forcing their way into the plans of the management for much more important assignments over the coming months, but, in truth, not too many did.
Kerry haven’t beaten Cork too often at any level of hurling and we are led to believe that the last occurrence in the senior grade was back all of 126 years ago but they were fully deserving winners here.
In fact, it was probably no great surprise that they won, given the fact that Cork were minus so many of their squad.
At the same time, Cork boss John Meyler might have expected a bit more of a showing from the players he had at his disposal but as they say, it was what it was.
Kerry had far better individuals, particularly in attack where Shane Conway, Pádraig Boyle and Shane Nolan were particularly efficient, sharing 17 points between them.
Cork could make no great headway against the Kerry defence, although Eoghan Keniry from Killeagh secured some tasty points in the opening half.
Deccie Dalton converted seven points from the placed ball and John Looney took his goal well, but there was no real assertiveness in this performance.
Then again things must be put into context, this was a Cork team that was assembled for this game and there would have been no preparatory plan at all.
The game was even enough for the opening 20 minutes and at that juncture, it was four points apiece.
Dalton put Cork ahead shortly afterwards but that was as good as it got for them as Kerry raised the ante and started to keep the umpires very busy.
Daithí Griffin, Conway and Nolan all posted points and Colm Harty blasted home a goal in the 25th minute to put them five points clear.
They were 1-10 to 0-6 ahead on the half-hour mark and two more Conway points from frees had the home support in raptures.
It was 1-13 to 0-6 at the break for the Kingdom and in front of 430 spectators. The writing was very much on the wall at that stage.
Kerry lost their goalkeeper and full-back inside the opening 10 minutes to injury but that had no unsettling effect on the rest of the side.
Cork lined out without two of their selected side, Conor Twomey and Evan Sheehan and they were replaced by John Cooper and Brian Mulcahy.
Three more changes were made for the start of the second-half with Aaron Myers, Stephen Condon and Eoghan Clifford replacing Mulcahy, Ian Cahill and Rickard Cahalane.
However, Kerry continued to dominate and Conway added three more points after the sides resumed for the second-half.
Cork responded with Looney’s goal, after being set up by Luke Meade, who was the only member of last season’s team to start.
The visitors did reduce the gap to seven points after three unanswered points from the classy Meade, Dalton and Myers.
Kerry were tiring now and another Cork goal might have set the alarm bells ringing, but it was not forthcoming.
Harty, Conway and the hard-working Seán Weir converted a few more points for the home team before Boyle closed it all out with the game’s final score.
Credit where it’s due, Kerry deserved the win and it may well act as a confidence booster going forward.
For Cork, time for the cavalry to arrive for the first league game against Kilkenny.
Scorers for Kerry: S Conway 0-10 (0-4 f), C Harty 1-1, P Boyle 0-4, S Nolan 0-3, S Weir 0-2, B Barrett, J Goulding, D Griffin 0-1 each.
Cork: D Dalton 0-8 (7 f), J Looney 1-0, E Keniry 0-3, L Meade, A Myers 0-1 each.
KERRY: M Stackpoole; J Buckley, J Diggins, N O’Mahony; S Weir, B Murphy, D Dineen; B Barrett, D Griffin; C Harty, S Nolan, J Conway; P Boyle, S Conway, M O’Connor.
Subs: S Murphy for Stackpoole (4m, inj), T Murnane for J Diggins (12m, inj), J Goulding for M O’Connor (46m), D Fitzell for N O’Mahony (55m), D O’Carroll for D Griffin (65m).
CORK: P Collins; S Smyth, C Barry, G Murphy; R Cahalane, N O’Leary, J Cooper; C Cahalane, L Meade; E Keniry, D Dalton, J Looney; B Mulcahy, I Cahill, M Sugrue.
Subs: A Myers for B Mulcahy, E Clifford for R Cahalane, S Condon for I Cahill (all ht), E Healy for S Smyth (45m), P Lyons for E Keniry (55m).
Ref: T Walsh, Waterford.