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Munster mismatch, Kerry's attacking class and Cork's qualifier challenge

Kerry routed the home side in Páirc Uí Chaoimh last night.

Paul Geaney fires home a goal for Kerry in the second half.
Paul Geaney fires home a goal for Kerry in the second half.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

1. A Munster final mismatch

Three weeks before, Páirc Uí Chaoimh hosted a pulsating encounter as the Cork and Limerick hurlers could not be separated. The latest instalment of Saturday night action did not reach those heights as a lopsided encounter between the Kerry and Cork footballers unfolded.

A vibrant opening that yielded three goals raised hopes of a genuine contest emerging. But they quickly faded as Kerry went from two points down in the 13th minute to seven clear by the interval. Kerry had the match wrapped up long before the final whistle as a provincial decider battle failed to emerge.

2. Early goals cannot spur Cork on

Entering the match as outsiders, Cork needed an early boost to gain a foothold in the exchanges. Two goals inside the opening ten minutes provided that injection of confidence, both products of a couple of scything runs by Ruairi Deane on the left flank.

Yet they proved not to be the launchpad for a strong first-half showing from Cork, who were in trouble on both kickouts as they coughed up possession to allow Kerry to build from Shane Murphy’s restarts and then applied the pressure when Mark White was distributing from the Cork goal.

Deane, a bright spark for Cork, was done for the evening before half-time after a debatable call on a black card by referee Ciarán Branagan. By that juncture Kerry had accelerated clear of Cork and the feel-good factor from that positive opening had dissipated.

3. Kerry’s attacking class surfaces

Four years since the county’s last championship trip to Páirc Uí Chaoimh, a Kerry forward line again found the venue to their liking. Sean O’Shea and David Clifford have slotted in perfectly to the senior ranks, there were flashes of menace from James O’Donoghue and Stephen O’Brien’s searing pace was a valuable weapon.

The star up front again on Munster final day was Paul Geaney, picking up the man-of-the-match award and repeating his feat of two years ago against Tipperary. He bagged 2-5 from play to bring his championship tally to 4-17 against Cork from five outings. The Dingle man’s score-taking did the damage once more.

4. Cork’s challenge in qualifiers

Ronan McCarthy spoke in the wake of this dispiriting evening for Cork football, of the need to gather themselves and try to rebound. Recovering from a 17-point Munster final beating is not straightforward but at least they do not have the mammoth task of getting that right in a six-day turnaround.

A break until the weekend of 7-8 July will offer some respite as they try to salvage something from their 2018 campaign. A repeat of the performance against Mayo last summer rather than the slump against Kildare in similar circumstances in 2015, must be the aim now.

5. Kerry hit full speed before the Super 8s

A sixth Munster title on the bounce achieved last night and there can’t have been too many provincial campaigns that Kerry dominated to the extent they did in 2018. A 22-point thrashing of Clare, a 17-point dismantling of Cork and a combined tally of 3-50 in two games points to a team in rude health.

They move on to the All-Ireland series now, their sights set on bigger prizes. Translating provincial control to the national stage is Kerry’s objective and their confidence levels should be soaring as they approach the Super 8s.

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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