Cork v Kerry: Three reasons the Rebels fell short at Páirc Uí Rinn

Mark Woods reviews the footballers' Munster semi-final defeat on Saturday night
Cork v Kerry: Three reasons the Rebels fell short at Páirc Uí Rinn

Paudie Clifford of Kerry celebrates a second-half point against Cork with team-mate Stephen O'Brien. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Kerry’s class 

The winning margin may have flattered Kerry given Cork’s never-say-die effort, but there was no denying their greater skill set.

It’s something that you would expect all the same on the basis you’re dealing with the number ranked team in the country taking on a side rated 14.

Anyone making the trip over the county bounds and expecting another goal-glut like in Killarney 12 months ago went home disappointed as Cork set-up defensively to avoid a repeat of 2021.

It meant Kerry had to be satisfied with a point-feast instead and the quality of finishing had to be seen to be appreciated as captain Sean O’Shea and David Clifford, to a lesser extent, produced scores from the top drawer.

Between them accounted for 0-14, three more than Cork’s total, but there several others who showed yet again that this Kerry team doesn’t rely on any one individual to deliver scores.

Paudie Clifford and the non-stop Duracell Bunny figure, Stephen O’Brien, landed a couple each as did substitute Paul Geaney, when introduced in the 50th minute.

Conditioning 

It wasn’t as pronounced as in the pre-season McGrath Cup final between the rivals in Killarney, but there’s still a world of difference in terms of physicality.

Of course, Kerry are further down the road in general terms than this emerging Cork side, who found out the hard way that taking the ball into contact against these hard-hitting specimens rarely yields a positive result.

Cork’s injuries 

Again they continue to mount, Sean Powter, Kevin Flahive and Micheál Aodh Martin not completing the game.

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