CORK finished strongly to collect a morale-boosting win over the neighbours in an exciting Munster MFC quarter-final before an attendance of 2,367 at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Thursday evening.
Kerry had cut the lead to a goal, 2-10 to 0-13, after 52 minutes following a black card to Cork midfielder Daniel Clifford, but they could add one more point in a spell, which included four minutes’ injury-time.
A brilliant point from the outstanding Dara Sheedy, who scored an explosive goal at the start of the second half, ended a barren 16-minute spell and the Douglas pair, Sean Coakley and substitute James O’Leary clinched victory with late points.
In the first half and despite playing into the wind, Cork settled immediately to make a very encouraging start by claiming five points on the spin inside the opening 11 minutes.
Fittingly, it was centre-forward Sheedy who began the sequence, landing a free after three minutes following a foul in himself before repeating the exercise moments later.
Midfielder Mark Hetherington kicked Cork’s first from play with a fine effort from distance and the lead stretched to four following Timothy Cullinane’s sweetly struck left-footed by the seventh minute.
Kerry were struggling to convert chances at the other end, but Cork had no such difficulty, exemplified by Coakley’s left-footed attempt for 0-5 to 0-0.
The visitors, though, eventually settled and roared into contention by kicking four of their own, midfielder Daniel Kirby finding the range from 45m to offer encouragement to his colleagues, notably dangerman Paddy Lane, who contributed two in quick succession.
Cork missed a goal-scoring opportunity entering the second quarter, corner-forward Gary Holland hitting the base of an upright, but the Rebels didn’t take long to finally grab a goal.
The opportunity appeared to be lost after Coakley’s pass across goal just eluded Denis O’Mullane, who was then pushed in the back by keeper James Hoare for a soft, but obvious penalty, which Coakley tucked away low to his right, 1-5 to 0-4 after 17 minutes.
Cork extended their advantage to 1-8 to 0-6 five minutes from the interval, courtesy of two more impressive Sheedy points, including one with a neat dummy to his left before popping the ball over on the right.
Kerry finished the half strongly, however, adding 0-3 without response and it could have been worse for the home side because keeper Billy Curtin did well to deflect a shot from Aaron Carey around the post for a ’45, which his opposite number converted with a strong kick. Carey wrapped up an entertaining first half to leave Cork 1-8 to 0-9 in front.
The pattern continued on the resumption with Sheedy’s spectacular 33rd-minute goal, the Bantry youngster flashing the ball to the top corner of the net after Coakley battled hard to keep the move going from a tight position on the right.
A stronger-looking Kerry crept back into it though seven second-half wides hindered their progress with Lane their main marksman.
D Sheedy 1-5 (0-2 f), S Coakley 1-3 (1-0 pen), M Hetherington, T Cullinane, D O’Mullane, J O’Leary 0-1 each.
P Lane 0-7 (0-5 f), A Carey and D Kirby 0-2 each, P Moynihan, R Carroll 0-1 each, J Hoare 0-1’ 45.
B Curtin (Valley Rovers); L Hourihan (St Colum’s), F Hurley (O’Donovan Rossa), M Ahern (St Finbarr’s); O Foley (Bishopstown), G Daly (Mallow), joint-captain, T Kiely (Doneraile); M Hetherington (St Finbarr’s), D Clifford (Éire Óg); T Cullinane (Ballinascarthy), D Sheedy (Bantry Blues), D O’Leary (Ballincollig); D O’Mullane (Kilmurry), S Coakley (Douglas), vice-captain, G Holland (Bishopstown).
O O’Callaghan (Liscarroll/Churchtown Gaels) for Holland 40, M O’Brien (Ballinora) for Hourihan 45, J O’Leary (Douglas) for Foley 52, K McCarthy (Dohenys) for O’Mullane 58, A Dineen (Cill na Martra) for Hetherington 60+1.
J Hoare; S Clifford, B Murphy, G Evans; P Moynihan, K O’Shea, J Moynihan; E Boyle, captain, D Kirby; P Walsh, T Kennedy, S O Coinn; A Carey, P Lane, R Carroll.
S Gannon for O Coinn 35, D O’Keeffe for Walsh 40, A O Beaglaoich for Clifford 45, O Healy for Carey 48, R O’Connell for J Moynihan 60+1.
E Morrissey (Waterford).