Kerry’s nine-year wait for Munster U21 honours and their 20-year wait for victory on Cork soil came to an end this evening as Jack O’Connor’s team strolled to provincial glory,.
Cork were chasing a fifth title in six years but their challenge never left the runway as they were completely outclassed by a side who showed exactly why they had dominated the minor scene between 2014 and ’16.
The winners were on top from the start, winning three of Cork’s first four kick-outs.
And with the half-back line of Ó Beaglaoich, Tom O’Sullivan and Gavin White pouring forward at every opportunity, the home defence found themselves under constant pressure. Killian Spillane and Sean O’Shea prospered most from the plentiful supply of ball, the pair hitting 0-11 between them.
Conor Geaney, introduced at half-time, was another to terrorise the Rebel rearguard – the Dingle forward helped himself to 1-2.
The situation looked grim for Cork at half-time as they trailed the visitors by 1-6 to 0-3. Only one of those three scores came from play and the home outfit had to wait all of 13 minutes to open their account – Sean O’Donoghue throwing over a close range free after Gary Murphy fouled.
The reigning champions were already chasing a fairly significant deficit as Killian Spillane (0-2, 0-1 free), Sean O’Shea (free) and Cathal Bambury sent the Kingdom four clear.
Cork responded through that Sean O’Donoghue free, a Brian Coakley free and their first from play via Coakley. That, however, was as close as they would come.
Tom O’Sullivan and Brian Ó Beaglaoich set-up Matthew O’Sullivan for a Kerry goal on 19 minutes and they stretched further clear with points from Spillane and Sean O’Shea (free).
Compounding Cork woes were the three wides they tallied approaching the break, Sean Powter and Brian Coakley twice off target.
Kerry kept their foot to the floor upon the restart and in a carbon copy of the opening half, kicked four unanswered points to take them 1-10 to 0-3 clear. A Gary Murphy free ended Cork’s 23-minutes for a score. It didn’t nothing to stem the tide.
Geaney (0-2), Matthew O’Sullivan, O’Shea (0-2) all swelled their personal tallied before Geaney struck goal number two after a peach of a pass from Jordan Kiely. That left the scoreline reading 2-15 to 0-4. Everything thereafter was immaterial.
S O’Shea (0-6, 0-3 frees, 0-1 ’45); K Spillane (0-5, 0-2 frees); C Geaney (1-2, 0-1 free); M O’Sullivan (1-1); T O’Sullivan, C Bambury (0-1 each).
S Sherlock (0-2, 0-2 frees); B Coakley (0-2, 0-1 free); S O’Donoghue (0-1 free), G Murphy (0-1 free).
R Donovan (Nemo Rangers); S Daly (Dohenys), J Mullins (Éire Óg), S Wilson (Douglas); J O’Riordan (Carbery Rangers), A Browne (Newmarket), C Kiely (Ballincollig); E Lavers (Dohenys), S O’Donoghue (Inniscarra); M Ó Duinín (Naomh Abán), S Powter (Douglas), L O’Donovan (Clonakilty); G Murphy (Castletownbere), B Coakley (Carrigaline), M Hurley (Castletownbere).
D Meaney (St Michael’s) for Ó Duinín (22 mins); S Sherlock (St Finbarr’s) for Lavers (HT); M Buckley (Dohenys) for Murphy (42), K O’Donovan (Nemo Rangers) for Browne (42); S O’Donovan (Ilen Rovers) for Coakley (46); S O’Leary (Bantry) for Daly (56).
S Ryan (Rathmore); TL O’Sullivan (Dingle), J Foley (Ballydonoghue), B Sugrue (Renard); B Ó Beaglaoich (An Ghaeltacht), T O’Sullivan (Dingle), G White (Dr Crokes); A Barry (Na Gaeil), B Ó Seanacháin (Ballydonoghue); B Barrett (Ardfert), S O’Shea (Kenmare), M Flaherty (Dingle); K Spillane (Templenoe), M O’Sullivan (St Michael’s Foilmore), C Bambury (Dingle).
J Morgan (Austin Stacks) for Sugrue (16 mins, inj); C Geaney (Dingle) for Bambury (HT); M Burns (Dr Crokes) for Barret (45); B O’Sullivan (Dingle) for Flaherty (46); C Coffey (Kerins O’Rahillys) for O’Sullivan (50, bc); J Kiely (Dr Crokes) for M O’Sullivan (52).
A Kissane (Waterford).