Kingdom's class kills off Rebels
KERRY held off a late Cork comeback to secure their 75th Munster Senior Football Championship title at Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney yesterday.
Colm Cooper struck for the only goal of the game six minutes from the break to give Kerry a deserved 1-10 to 0-6 interval lead.
Cork did rally to shoot six points in succession in the second half but Kerry held on for victory and a place in the All-Ireland quarter-finals with a 1-16 to 0-17 success.
Cork made three late changes with Noel O'Leary, Aidan Walsh and Donncha O'Connor coming in for Tomas Clancy, Pearse O'Neill and Patrick Kelly, but Conor Counihan's side struggled from the outset.
Kerry could have been further ahead at the break had they not hit eight wides and missed a great goal chance from James O'Donoghue on 25 minutes.
However, Cooper showed how it should be done four minutes later when he slotted the ball into the right corner after a good run from Declan O'Sullivan had created the opening.
Cork made three more changes for the start of the second half and it was a much improved display from the Rebels from the restart.
Former Antrim player James Loughrey and Daniel Goulding found the target but Kerry pulled further in front with two points from Cooper and one each from O'Donoghue and Marc ó Sé helping them to lead by 1-14 to 0-8 after 48 minutes.
Cork enjoyed their best spell of the game which yielded six points in succession from Goulding (two), Donncha O'Connor, Ciaran Sheahan, Aidan Walsh and Brian Hurley to reduce the margin to 1-14 to 0-14 with eight minutes remaining.
Bryan Sheehan eased the pressure on Kerry with a free from distance but it was cancelled at the other end with Loughrey's second score.
Peter Crowley and Hurley then exchanged points and Goulding's seventh point left two between them after Kerry goalkeeper Brendan Kealy had turned a goal chance from Hurley around the post for a '45, but the Kingdom held on for a deserved win.
SCORERS – Kerry: C Cooper 1-3 (0-3f); J O'Donoghue 0-3; Declan O'Sullivan 0-2; B Kealy (f), M O Sé, P Crowley, A Maher, J Buckley (f), P Galvin, Darran O'Sullivan, B Sheehan (f) 0-1 each. Cork: D Goulding 0-7 (4f, 2 '45s); J Loughrey, D O'Connor (1f), B Hurley 0-2 each; P Kerrigan, C Sheahan, J O'Rourke, A Walsh 0-1 each.
Kerry: B Kealy; M ó Sé, M Griffin, S Enright; T ó Sé, K Young, P Crowley; A Maher, J Buckley; P Galvin, C Cooper, D Walsh; Darran O'Sullivan, Declan O'Sullivan, J O'Donoghue. Subs: K Donaghy for Walsh (56), F Fitzgerald for T ó Sé (59), E Brosnan for Young (60), B Sheehan for Buckley (62).
Cork: K O'Halloran; E Cadogan, M Shields, D Cahalane; J Loughrey, P Kissane, N O'Leary; G Canty, A Walsh; F Goold, D O'Connor, J O'Rourke; D Goulding, B Hurley, P Kerrigan. Subs: A O'Connor for Cahalane (34), T Clancy (Clonakilty) for Cadogan (35), P O'Neill for O'Rourke (35), C Sheahan for O'Connor (54).
Referee: Marty Duffy (Sligo).