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Dublin: 10°C Sunday 18 April 2021

Kerry's second-half revival sweeps them past Cork to claim Munster glory

Austin Stack Park in Tralee hosted tonight’s game.

Kerry 0-17
Cork 1-9

FOUR DOWN AT the break, five clear by full-time. The manner of this Munster football title win at the expense of Cork will generate plenty satisfaction in Kerry football circles.

eanna-ohanlon-and-luka-brosnan Cork's Eanna O'Hanlon and Luka Brosnan of Kerry Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

The home team collected silverware in the EirGrid U20 provincial final tonight in Tralee, inspired by a striking transformation all over the pitch after the interval. A relentless run of minor glories have heightened expectations around Kerry teams but the county has struggled to deliver when they have moved up the grades. Last July was a sobering experience in Páirc Uí Rinn yet they reversed that result notably here.

John Sugrue’s side posted 0-12 on the board in the second half as they stormed clear of a Cork team that could only muster three points in that period, a pair of booming kicks from Mark Cronin and a lovely strike from Blake Murphy. Under the Austin Stack Park floodlights Kerry’s shooting was flawless with An Ghaeltacht’s Ruaidhri Ó Beaglaoich pointing the way with 0-5 in a sparkling showing.

It was a final pairing that sparked little surprise and was heavy on tradition. Incorporating the old U21 grade, the Munster title count beforehand stood at 27 apiece. Edging ahead on number 28 was sweet for Kerry on home soil.

Kerry got a run on Cork after half-time, they pumped accurate deliveries into their forward line and got greater joy out of kickouts. They had nine different scorers, an array of contributors that proved critical in propelling them towards an All-Ireland semi-final date with the Connacht champions, Galway and Roscommon facing off in Tuam on Saturday. Captain Paul O’Shea was immense as the game wore on, they got useful contributions from their substitutes and defended stoutly.

darragh-lyne-and-brian-hayes Cork's Brian Hayes and Kerry's Darragh Lyne Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Joint Cork captain Blake Murphy entered the game with a burgeoning reputation, top scorer in last Wednesday’s semi-final success against Clare and the provider of a couple of sparkling goals in last summer’s All-Ireland winning run. He lived up to those standards before the break, neatly sidestepping the defence to slot home a goal on the 25th minute. That was central to their 1-6 to 0-5  advantage and the strike owed much to Aodhán Ó Luasa showing the persistence to turn over Dylan Casey in possession.

Cork’s shooting was mixed early on. They dropped a trio of opportunities shot in the opening quarter and Cronin saw his effort from a free brush against the upright. Cronin corrected his radar to pick off a brace by the 18th minute, Jack Murphy launched over a fine point and Fionn Herlihy displayed searing pace to fist over another.

First-half regret for Kerry stemmed from failing to capitalise on a clearcut chance for a goal. Ó Beaglaoich, a brother of senior defender Briain, availed of a defensive slap to race in from the right wing and when he passed across it looked like Patrick Darcy was on the cusp of netting. He got his low shot away but was denied by the brilliant covering on the line of Cork defender David Buckley. The subsequent ’45 flew wide to increase the home side’s disappointment.

They emerged a more potent outfit in the second half, posting two quick points and they had crept ahead 0-11 to 1-7 when Ó Beaglaoich was on target on the three-quarter mark. Cronin dragged Cork level shortly after before Kerry reeled off three without reply, Austin Stacks substitute Sean Quilter making his mark.

Cork’s danger men in attack were starved of a decent supply in the second half. Murphy reduced the deficit to 0-14 to 1-9 but the match was moving away from them. Kerry finished in style to the delight of their support with Ó Beaglaoich (2) and Sean Keane raising the white flags to round off the night.

Scorers for Kerry: Ruaidhri Ó Beaglaoich 0-5 (0-2f, 0-1 mark), Paul Walsh 0-3 (0-3f), Patrick Darcy, Sean Quilter (0-1f) 0-2 each, Darragh Lyne, Killian Falvey, Paul O’Shea, Seán Horan, Sean Keane 0-1 each.

Scorers for Cork: Blake Murphy 1-3, Mark Cronin 0-4 (0-1f), Jack Murphy, Fionn Herlihy 0-1 each.


1. Marc Kelliher (Glenflesk)

3. James McCarthy (Kenmare Shamrocks)
2. Owen Fitzgerald (Gneeveguilla)
4. Dan McCarthy (Kenmare Shamrocks)

5. Luka Brosnan (Castleisland Desmonds)
6. Dylan Casey (Austin Stacks)
7. Sean O’Brien (Beaufort)

8. Darragh Lyne (Killarney Legion)
9. Michael O’Gara (Austin Stacks)

10. Paul Walsh (Brosna)
14. Seán Horan (Scartaglen)
12. Killian Falvey (Annascaul)

13. Paul O’Shea (Kilcummin)
11. Patrick Darcy (Glenflesk)
15. Ruaidhrí Ó Beaglaoich (An Ghaeltacht)


20. Eddie Horan (Scartaglen) for Fitzgerald (half-time)
22. Sean Keane (Listowel Emmets) for Walsh (44)
24. Sean Quilter (Austin Stacks) for Falvey (46)
18. Sean O’Connell (Cordal) for Sean Horan (48)
23. Dylan Geaney (Dingle) for Darcy (54)

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16. Cian O’Leary (Douglas)

2. Colm O’Shea (Kilshannig)
5. David Buckley (Newcestown)
3. Daniel O’Mahony (Knocknagree)

9. Daniel O’Connell (Kanturk)
4. Diarmaid Phelan (Aghada)
6. Bill Foley (Bantry Blues)

8. Jack Lawton (Argideen Rangers)
12. Brian Hayes (St Finbarr’s)

10. Jack Murphy (Éire Óg)
11. Aodhán Ó Luasa (Naomh Aban)
20. Eanna O’Hanlon (Kilshannig)

13. Mark Cronin (Nemo Rangers – joint captain)
15. Blake Murphy (St Vincent’s – joint captain)
14. Fionn Herlihy (Dohenys)


7. Brian Lynch (Douglas) for Phelan (29)
21. Conor Corbett (Clyda Rovers) for Ó Luasa (half-time)
17. Bill Curtin (Kilshannig) for Lawton (38)
22. Darragh Hayes (Carbery Rangers) for Brian Hayes (52)
24. Conor Russell (Douglas) for Herlihy (60)

Referee: Sean Lonergan (Tipperary)

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole  / Reports from Austin Stack Park

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