NORMAL service has returned with the meeting of great rivals Cork and Kerry in the Munster football final in Killarney on Sunday week at 4pm.
Both progressed with a bit to spare from the weekend semi-finals when Cork defeated Limerick by 1-16 to 0-11 at the Gaelic Grounds and Kerry overcame champions Tipperary by 1-19 to 1-8 in Thurles.
Fitzgerald Stadium is expected to have a 5,000 crowd ceiling for the game after both the Gaelic Grounds and Semple Stadium were allowed 3,500 people in attendance.
Limerick led once after 30 seconds, but a second-minute John O’Rourke goal kept Cork in front for the remainder with the Shannonsiders coming within four points during the second half.
“We got the job done which is what we came to do,” said manager Ronan McCarthy.
Cork teams have struggled up here in the past, including the year of the All-Ireland win, when Limerick took them to extra-time and Cork were very lucky to get out of it.
“It was a workmanlike performance and I thought we kept them at arm’s length for the most part.
“Limerick were in a good vein of form going into the game and while we could have made it easier for ourselves, we were never in trouble.”
Cork defended better than in their most recent competitive outing against Westmeath through McCarthy stressed it remains a work in progress.
Cork only conceded 11 points and just five from play. “It was better, but based on the Westmeath match it wouldn’t be hard to be better.
“We conceded 14 points in 20 minutes that day, but we played Tipperary and Tyrone in challenge games and placed a bit more emphasis on being more compact.
“We’ve done that, but what you don’t want is to do it to the detriment of your forward play or your attacking play.
“I thought we were reasonably solid at the back and only gave up one goal chance when Danny Neville came through and shot just wide.”
Limerick frustrated Cork during a forgettable opening half when the score stood at 1-2 to 0-3 approaching half-time.
No Cork forward scored from play in the half as they turned around 1-6 to 0-4 ahead thanks to points from defenders Sean Powter (2) and Mattie Taylor.
“They lined across between the 45m and 65m lines and got a lot of bodies there.
“I think we needed more runners through to punch holes in their defence and get more balls in over the top, but we didn’t do it. Limerick were well set-up and their sweeper met everything coming through and in that scenario you have to be patient.
“We put up 1-16 which is a decent score and our conversion rate seemed to be okay.
I don’t get too bogged down in stats. We play the game as we see it and it meets you. We put up 17 scores and if we were a bit more ruthless we’d have scored more, 20 or 21.
“The win was the obvious pleasing factor. We always seemed to be four or five points in front.
“The other pleasing aspect was that we got game time into fellows like Sean Powter, Daniel O’Mahony, John O’Rourke and Ruairi Deane who hadn’t done a lot of training in the last few weeks.
“We had a few debutants starting, too, and we’ll have players coming back as well, so we’re looking forward to the final.”
Neither Powter nor outstanding full-back Daniel O’Mahony finished the game, but both are expected to be fit for the final.
“I’m led to believe Powter has a dead leg and I don’t think it has anything to do with hamstrings. As for Daniel, it’s just tightening hamstrings, that’s all.”