By Eoghan Cormican, Páirc Uí Rinn
For the second time in as many months, a Kerry team travelled to Páirc Uí Rinn and all but obliterated the home outfit.
There was 16-points between the two counties at the end of the Munster U21 final in late April and while this Munster minor semi-final win wasn’t as comprehensive, it was every bit as impressive.
David Clifford proved the headline act, the Firies full-forward terrorising the Cork defence during an hour’s fare where he helped himself to 2-8, just 0-3 of that total arriving via the dead ball.
The travelling defence also played a significant role in advancing the reigning All-Ireland champions into the Munster decider, routinely hunting down Cork forwards in packs of three and four.
That said, Cork engineered the dream start for themselves when Evan Murphy put the ball in the back of the Kerry net 10 seconds after the throw-in. It was to prove a false dawn, however, as the home side failed to add to their tally during the subsequent quarter of an hour.
The visitors, during this period, kicked 1-6 on the bounce as David Clifford and Donal O’Sullivan led the Cork defence on a merry dance.
This pair landed the three points which cancelled out Murphy’s early rocket and it was Clifford who propelled Kerry in front on seven minutes, holding off full-back William Ronan and slipping the ball past ‘keeper Kevin McMahon.
The full-forward would also provide their second goal on 26 minutes, finishing a sweeping move involving Brian Friel and Fiachra Clifford. The gap was seven come the break and it might have been a tad more manageable from a Cork perspective had two scoreable chances on the stroke of half-time not been kicked wide.
Two from David Clifford and Donnchadh O’Sullivan’s first increased the difference between the sides upon the restart. Cork’s day was done when Kerry ‘keeper Deividas Uosis kept out a Damien Gore penalty on 42 minutes. He made a second superb save later on, this time denying Mark Keane.
Two more from Clifford and a Jack Griffin point completed the 10-point rout for the Kingdom.
D Clifford (2-8, 0-3 frees); Donal O’Sullivan (0-1 free), Donnchadh O’Sullivan (0-2 each); A Donoghue, F Clifford, C Gammell, J Griffin (0-1 each).
E Murphy (1-2, 0-1 ’45); D Gore (0-4, 0-2 frees); C Myers Murray (0-3); M Keane (0-1).
D Uisis (Dingle); R O’Neill (Na Gaeil), C O’Donoghue (Glenflesk), M Potts (Dr Crokes); C Gammell (Legion), E Horan (Scartaglen), N Donohue (Firies); B Mahony (St Senan’s), D O’Connor (Na Gaeil); A Donoghue (Castleisland Desmonds), B Friel (Rathmore), F Clifford (Laune Rangers); Donnchadh O’Sullivan (Firies), D Clifford (Fossa), Donal O’Sullivan (Kilgarvan).
Subs: J Griffin (Dr Crokes) for Friel (38); M Slattery (Austin Stacks) for Donnchadh O’Sullivan (47); C O’Reilly (Austin Stacks) for F Clifford (48); P Warren (Gneeveguilla) for Donal O’Sullivan (55); S O’Leary (Kilcummin) for O’Neill (59); M O’Leary (Renard) for Gammell (60).
K McMahon (Kilshannig); L Finn (Mitchelstown), W Ronan (Kilmurry), D Ward (Douglas); J Harrington (Adrigole), P O’Driscoll (Ilen Rovers), J McCarthy (Carrigaline); M Keane (Mitchelstown), R Walsh (Kanturk); E Murphy (Dromtariffe), C O’Callaghan (Éire Óg), J Murphy (Éire Óg); M Cronin (Nemo Rangers), D Gore (Kilmacabea), C O’Mahony (Mitchelstown).
Subs: C Myers Murray (St Finbarr’s) for O’Mahony (22 mins, inj); C Barrett (St Finbarr’s) for Murphy (HT); D O’Mahony (Knocknagree) for Ronan (39); S Hickey (Millstreet) for Walsh, S Meehan (Kiskeam) for McCarthy (both 42); R O’Driscoll (Garnish) for Harrington (45, bc);
A Kissane (Waterford).