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Kerry pick up McGrath Cup title with 12-point win over Cork as Geaney shoots 1-4

Fitzgerald Stadium hosted today’s game.

Kerry 2-17

Cork 0-11

AN UNSEASONABLY LARGE football crowd gathered in Killarney this afternoon for the latest demonstration of Kerry’s superiority in Munster.

paul-geaney-and-kieran-histon Kerry's Paul Geaney and Cork's Kieran Histon. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Free from the crowd restrictions that have hampered the GAA inter-county scene over the past two years, there was a spike in interest amongst the locals to see how Kerry’s 2022 fortunes were progressing.

Jack O’Connor picked up the first bit of silverware on offer in his third coming as Kerry boss, his focus quickly transferring to a league campaign that commences next Sunday with a trip to his old stomping ground of Newbridge.

Cork head to Roscommon in their second tier opener, aware of the range of development required under new manager Keith Ricken. They were well beaten here, that it didn’t get as ugly as last summer’s 22-point beating in the Munster final was due to a couple of superb second-half saves from Micheál Martin, while Paul Geaney and Brian Ó Beaglaoch smacked shots against the upright in either half.

The starting Cork team was experimental with only six players starting who’d featured in the 2021 Munster decider. Of the newcomers, wing-back Rory Maguire and corner-forward Mark Cronin shone brightest. They shared 0-5 between them with Castlehaven’s Maguire rampaging forward from defence and Nemo’s Cronin lively closer to goal. 

Brian Hurley finished with 0-5 to his name, pointing the way for Cork for long stretches.

spectators-watch-the-game Spectators at Fitzgerald Stadium. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Kerry laid the foundations with a sharper first-half display. They prised Cork apart for an early goal in the 4th minute, Tom O’Sullivan swiftly swapping passes with Paul Geaney and galloping into open country in the Cork defence before a smooth finish to the net.

There was a Dingle flavour to their second goal as well, Geaney stepping neatly inside the cover and planting home his shot after Micheál Burns cut the ball across. That strike occurred in the 32nd minute, the centrepiece of Kerry’s burst of 1-4 without replay the end of the half, as they capitalised in particular on the sin-binning of Cork’s Kevin O’Donovan.

Kerry were 2-9 to 0-5 clear at the interval with Paudie Clifford and Killian Spillane both catching the eye in attack. They had the luxury of introducing quality replacements with David Clifford and Jack Savage both landing a brace of points apiece in the second half, Clifford introduced at a juncture when they were 12 points clear.

Cork chipped away at the deficit near the finish with Hurley, Daniel Dineen, Cronin and Maguire on target in the second half. By the finish there was that 12-point gap separating the teams, the focus in both camps shifting to next weekend’s assignments.

Scorers for Kerry: Paul Geaney 1-4, Tony Brosnan 0-3 (0-3f), Tom O’Sullivan 1-0, David Clifford, Sean O’Shea (0-2f), Jack Savage, Killian Spillane, Paudie Clifford 0-2 each.

Scorers for Cork: Brian Hurley 0-5 (0-2f), Mark Cronin 0-3 (0-1f), Rory Maguire 0-2, Daniel Dineen 0-1.

Kerry

1. Shane Murphy (Dr Crokes)

2. Dan O Donoghue (Spa), 3. Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue), 4. Tom O’Sullivan (Dingle)

5. Paul Murphy (Rathmore), 6. Tadhg Morley (Templenoe), 7. Gavin White (Dr Crokes)

8. Sean O’Shea (Kenmare – captain), 9. Adrian Spillane (Templenoe)

10. Micheál Burns (Dr Crokes), 11. Paudie Clifford (Fossa), 12. Stephen O’Brien (Kenmare)

13. Tony Brosnan (Dr Crokes), 14. Paul Geaney (Dingle), 15. Killian Spillane (Templenoe)

Subs

22. Jack Savage (Kerins O’Rahilly’s) for O’Brien (inj) (6)

18. Gavin Crowley (Templenoe) for Murphy (half-time)

19. Brian Ó Beaglaoich (An Ghaeltacht) for O’Donoghue (half-time)

23. Greg Horan (Austin Stacks) for Adrian Spillane (46)

17. David Clifford (Fossa) for Brosnan (46)

20. Graham O’Sullivan (Dromid Pearses) for White (50)

29. Dylan Casey (Austin Stacks) for Crowley (inj) (55)

24. Paul O’Shea (Kilcummin) for Paudie Clifford (55)

21. Dara Roche (Glenflesk) for Killian Spillane (61)

26. Cian Gammell (Killarney Legion) for O’Sullivan (61)

Cork

1. Míchéal Martin (Nemo Rangers)

2. Sean Powter (Douglas), 3. Kieran Histon (Nemo Rangers), 4. Tadhg Corkery (Cill na Martra)

5. Rory Maguire (Castlehaven), 6. John Cooper (Éire Óg), 7. Matthew Taylor (Mallow)

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8. Cian Kiely (Ballincollig), 9. Joe Grimes (Clonakilty)

10. Kevin O’Donovan (Nemo Rangers), 11. Blake Murphy (St Vincent’s), 12. Colm O’Callaghan (Éire Óg)

13. Mark Cronin (Nemo Rangers), 14. Brian Hurley (Castlehaven), 15. Chris Óg Jones (Iveleary)

Subs

24. Damien Gore (Kilmacabea) for Murphy (33)

23. Luke Connolly (Nemo Rangers) for Gore (inj) (half-time)

22. David Buckley (Newcestown) for O’Donovan (half-time)

25. Daniel Dineen (Cill Na Martra) for Jones (46)

21. Daniel O’Connell (Kanturk) for Kiely (46)

18. Kevin Flahive (Douglas) for Histon (50)

20. Shane Merrit (Mallow) for Grimes (52)

26. Kevin Crowley (Millstreet) for Cooper (53)

17. Paudie Allen (Newmarket) for Corkery (55)

19. Paul Ring (Aghabullogue) for Powter (61)

Referee: Niall Quinn (Clare)

BTL 5

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole  / Reports from Fitzgerald Stadium

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