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Kerry's strength tells in final quarter against Cork challenge in Munster semi-final

10,743 was the attendance at Páirc Uí Rinn.

Kerry 0-23

Cork 0-11

THE OUTCOME THAT had been widely forecast materialised in the Munster football race, yet it took the last quarter before Kerry were able to exert their superiority in a meaningful fashion this evening.

david-clifford-and-ian-maguire Kerry's David Clifford and Cork's Ian Maguire. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

For a large chunk of this provincial semi-final, Cork were feisty and combative and stopped Kerry getting into their stride.

There was a moment in the second half when Cork, who had fought hard to have this game played on their home patch of Páirc Uí Rinn, gave their support cause to momentarily cheer, Kevin O’Donovan and Cathail O’Mahony firing over quality points that left trailing by one, 0-11 to 0-10.

Kerry were never rocked. They whipped their leading lights off the bench as Paul Geaney, David Moran and Paul Murphy were all introduced in rapid fashion. They outscored Cork 0-12 to 0-1 in the final quarter and the damage could have been greater but for a fine save by Cork debutant Dylan Foley in goal as he denied David Clifford.

Geaney and Micheal Burns chipped in with 0-3 between them after their introductions, while Moran helped Kerry gain a real grip at midfield as they ruled matters on Cork’s kickouts. Captain for the evening Sean O’Shea, finished with 0-10.

rory-maguire-and-cathail-omahony-tackle-jack-barry Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Cork had reason to be satisfied with how the first half unfolded, they hung in there when Kerry threatened to pull clear and were only two points adrift at the break. The plan was to frustrate Kerry, holding up their attacks and preventing them from building up momentum.

At times Kerry got their attacking game clicking in to gear with Stephen O’Brien, Tony Brosnan and Paudie Clifford punching holes to fire over nice points. But they didn’t come close to goal to embellish their 0-9 to 0-7 interval advantage.

The injury news was mixed for Cork. Sean Powter’s availability was a major boost, he swept effectively in the rearguard and produced some crunching challenges. Cork lost their regular goalkeeper Micheal Martin midway through the opening half to injury, Dylan Foley coming in for his Cork senior competitive debut.

Steven Sherlock’s eye was in for a point in the first half as he raised six white flags, five from dead balls offering proof of his reliability from that sector. It was Sherlock who posted Cork’s first point from play in the 26th minute, a lovely slice off his right boot, and the lively Cathail O’Mahony clipped over another moments later. That was part of a Cork scoring streak of four in a row to draw them level, yet Kerry pushed on again before the break as Diarmuid O’Connor and Brosnan were on target.

In the third quarter Kerry initially found it difficult to shake off Cork but in the closing stages they illustrated the gap that the respective league positions of the counties suggested. Stephen O’Brien, Graham O’Sullivan and Diarmuid O’Connor had all given really productive performances around the pitch, while Kerry had various players capable of keeping the scoreboard moving in the final quarter.

Cork had no answer, a solitary Eoghan McSweeney point their late scoring return, and for all the spirit in their display, Kerry cantered clear at the finish to book a Munster final spot on 28 May.

Scorers for Kerry: Sean O’Shea 0-10 (0-7f, 0-1 ’45), David Clifford 0-4 (0-3f), Stephen O’Brien 0-2, Paul Geaney 0-2, Paudie Clifford 0-2, Diarmuid O’Connor 0-1, Tony Brosnan 0-1, Micheal Burns 0-1.

Scorers for Cork: Steven Sherlock 0-6 (0-5f), Cathail O’Mahony 0-3, Eoghan McSweeney 0-1, Kevin O’Donovan 0-1.

Kerry

1. Shane Ryan (Rathmore)

2. Graham O’Sullivan (Dromid Pearses), 3. Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue), 4. Tom O’Sullivan (Dingle)

5. Brian Ó Beaglaoich (An Ghaeltacht), 6. Tadhg Morley (Templenoe), 7. Gavin White (Dr Crokes)

8. Diarmuid O’Connor (Na Gaeil), 9. Jack Barry (Na Gaeil),

10. Stephen O’Brien (Kenmare Shamrocks), 11. Sean O’Shea (Kenmare Shamrocks – captain), 12. Adrian Spillane (Templenoe)

13. Tony Brosnan (Dr Crokes), 14. David Clifford (Fossa), 15. Paudie Clifford (Fossa).

Subs

17. Paul Geaney (Dingle) for Brosnan (48)

21. David Moran (Kerins O’Rahillys) for Spillane (50)

18. Paul Murphy (Rathmore) for Ó Beaglaoich (51)

20. Micheál Burns (Dr Crokes) for O’Brien (63)

23. Joe O’Connor (Austin Stacks) for Diarmuid O’Connor (67)

Cork

1. Mícheál Aodh Martin (Nemo Rangers)

2. Kevin O’Donovan (Nemo Rangers), 3. Maurice Shanley (Clonakilty), 4. Kevin Flahive (Douglas)

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

8. Ian Maguire (St. Finbarr’s), 9. Colm O’Callaghan (Éire Óg),

10. Daniel Dineen (Cill Na Martra), 23. Sean Powter (Douglas), 12. John O’ Rourke (Carbery Rangers)

13. Steven Sherlock (St Finbarr’s), 14. Brian Hurley (Castlehaven – captain), Cathail O’Mahony (Mitchelstown)

Subs

16. Dylan Foley (Éire Óg) for Martin (inj) (24)

11. Eoghan McSweeney (Knocknagree) for Dineen (55)

26. Damien Gore (Kilmacabea) for Hurley (57)

17. Tadhg Corkery (Cill na Martra) for Powter (59)

24. Brian Hayes (St Finbarr’s) for O’Rourke (65)

Referee: Brendan Cawley (Kildare)

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole  / Reports from Páirc Uí Rinn

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