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Dublin: 5°C Thursday 26 November 2020
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Full-time: Cork 0-17 Kerry 0-12

Kerry fight against the dying of the light but by the end Paul Galvin and Kieran Donaghy end up sitting side-by-side on the bench as their teammates are ground down and beaten up by a far superior Cork. The hosts, while not exactly blowing us away in a niggly match, did what they had to do and showed why they are the number one team in the country. As for Kerry, their ageing legs head for the qualifiers. They’ve done it before this way but it’s very different this time as they are a side in obvious decline.

Ahoy and welcome. On a day all our minds will end up in Poznan begins in Páirc Uí Chaoimh with a massive clash in the football championship. They are the sides I believe to be number one and two in the country right now although that may change over the coming hours.

The winners here will be in the All Ireland quarter-finals (provided they beat Clare in the Munster final, and they will…) while the losers head for a back-door that’s suddenly looking as tricky as it is tiring with Galway in there and Armagh or Tyrone set to follow a little later on. If it’s Kerry that lose out today, we’ll be questioning their legs to run what will be a marathon.

We’ve had a few late changes on the Cork team with Fintan Goold and Pearse O’Neill gone, Nicolas Murphy and Ciaran Sheehan coming in and a whole load of positional changes as a result. So, as the teams parade, here are the way they line-out.

Cork: A Quirke; R Carey, M Shields, E Cadogan; P Kissane, G Canty, N O’Leary; A O’Connor, N Murphy; C Sheehan, P Kelly, P Kerrigan; C O’Neill, A Walsh, D O’Connor

Kerry: B Kealy; M Ó Sé, A O’Mahony, K Young; T Ó Sé, E Brosnan, P Crowley; A Maher, S Scanlon; P Galvin, D O’Sullivan, D O’Sullivan; C Cooper, K Donaghy, K O’Leary

Referee: D Coldrick (Meath)

For the record, we think Cork, although Murphy replacing O’Neill weakens them, could win by a few, and it could be a turning point in the rivalry much like 1987. We also expect that it could be a bloodbath with so many grudge matches and so much at stake in terms of pride but also in terms of the run to a potential All Ireland title.

3 mins, Cork 0-1 Kerry 0-1: As the game gets underway, our big concern for Kerry is the pace of the spine of defence from Scanlon and Brosnan back to Aidan O’Mahony. Legs may not have the pace or endurance against a machine like Cork. Meanwhile Kieran Donaghy is gone out the field, Nicolas Murphy is full-forward and Aidan Walsh is midfield. Amidst all the tactical jostling, Donnacha O’Connor opens the scoring as shoving matches break out across the field and Declan O’Sullivan equalises.

5 mins, Cork 0-2 Kerry 0-1: We’ve been hearing about the size and form of Ciaran Sheehan in club games in Cork and we see it there as he drives one over from distance. Meanwhile the midfield match-ups are Maher-Walsh, Donaghy-O’Connor.

7 mins, Cork 0-3 Kerry 0-1: Paddy Kelly is at his play-making best, and as we thought might happen, Brosnan is struggling to cope. Kelly finds Donnacha O’Connor here and his second extends the gap. Good start by Cork.

10 mins, Cork 0-3 Kerry 0-2:  Paul Galvin gets a talking to for a heavy tackle on, guess who, Eoin Cadogan. But more importantly for Cork, the defence is matching the intensity of the attack and Graham Canty, a liability in this fixture a year ago, is up to the pace early. Nothing he can do about that though as Kieran O’Leary, part of an isolated forward line, wins a long ball, opens the Cork defence and Colm Cooper finishes.

13 mins, Cork 0-3 Kerry 0-3: We didn’t expect Kieran O’Leary to be the star of the attack but he is early on. He is giving Ray Carey – the weak link is this Cork team – a torrid time under long, high ball. He wins a free here and again Cooper profits from his clubmate’s work, this time via a free.

17 mins, Cork 0-3 Kerry 0-3: Goal chance for Kerry and Declan O’Sullivan – playing where he is best at centre-forward – shrugs off Graham Canty but Kieran Donaghy and Colm Cooper squander a goal chance. 45′ though and there’s a decent shoving match going on as Brendan Kealy thinks he is Stephen Cluxton but realises he’s not as he slices it wide.

19 mins, Cork 0-3 Kerry 0-4: Silly from Paul Kerrigan as he shoulders Declan O’Sullivan in the chest as he releases the ball. Easy free for Colm Cooper, but Cork forgetting they are the better football team if they play that way and are getting caught up in some pseudo-manliness after a bright start full of intent.

22 mins, Cork 0-4 Kerry 0-4: Free at the other end as Paul Galvin this time drags down his other nemesis Noel O’Leary. But bad wide from Colm O’Neill. He makes amends moments later though, Cork’s first score in about 16 minutes.

23 mins, Cork 0-5 Kerry 0-4: And another one as Cork rotate the forward line in a Paul Caffrey-esque way. Marc Ó Sé finds himself on Paul Kerrigan all of a sudden, can’t match his pace and the Nemo man puts Cork back ahead.

28 minutes, Cork 0-6 Kerry 0-4: Many were betting on the draw, we can’t find a market for a mill later on as the pressure builds. It’s only warming up now and Nicholas Murphy buries Marc Ó Sé with a third-man tackle to the chest. It’s seen as a free is given, so how come now yellow is given? Licence to kill… Meanwhile back to playing matters, Colm O’Neill sends over a free. Cork have gotten back to what they did in the opening minutes, concentrating on winning on the scoreboard, and when they do that they look the better as most of the game is being played out in the Kerry half. And just as we say that, great save from Quirke as Donaghy shoots from close range.

34 mins, Cork 0-6 Kerry 0-4: Brendan Kealy again sends a 45′ right and wide after Tomas Ó Sé was denied his customary point by a block. Game back under way and Aidan Walsh and Noel O’Leary get spoken to. Still no cards though. It’s wild at times but people want refereeing consistency and they are getting it.

Half-time: Cork 0-7 Kerry 0-4: A Colm O’Neill free wraps up the first half and more than just on the scoreboard, the home team will be the happier. Kerry still look the more dangerous when they attack at pace but such moves have been few and far between. Indeed, the game has been largely played out in the Kerry half with the Cork half-back line and midfield looking sturdy. They are most certainly in the driving seat.

36 mins, Cork 0-7 Kerry 0-6: Back underway and what a start. James O’Donoghue replaces Kieran O’Leary and scores straight away. Seconds later Declan O’Sullivan points. Much quicker movement from Kerry here.

39 mins, Cork 0-8 Kerry 0-6: Cork come back with a Donnacha O’Connor free. You have to say, the Kerry defence have helped their markers with some silly fouls in some dangerous positions. Strange game though, very stop-start, little rhythm.

42 mins, Cork 0-9 Kerry 0-7: Same again as Donnacha O’Connor puts over another deadball from in straight of the posts. The basis for the free was Nicholas Murphy winning a high ball though, one of the few instances he’s gotten the better of Aidan O’Mahony. Kieran Donaghy and Gooch now in two-man full-forward line for Kerry, and just as we see that large assists little for a point.

45 mins, Cork 0-10 Kerry 0-7: As an attacking force, Paudie Kissane was huge in the league. Here he pops up and points from 50. The bulk of the Kerry team were waiting between the wing-forward and the posts. That’s how you outdo a blanket defence and draw them out the field.

48mins, Cork 0-10 Kerry 0-8: Kerry defending so deep here, it’s a sign of an ageing team that the midfield and half-forward line need to be back covering for a creaky defence. They can’t break with the pace or power of a Dublin either, but as we speak, Paul Galvin hammers over a point from way out. We’ve underestimated Kerry several times in recent seasons, have we again…

50 mins, Cork 0-11 Kerry 0-9: O’Donoghue gets his second, the gap is one but it could have been gone as Kieran Donaghy won a high ball seconds earlier, fed Declan O’Sullivan and Alan Quirke made a fine save with his boot. Game on, although in a game of dominant patches, Cork are due one… Here we go, Paul Kerrigan goes down the wing, cuts inside and points.

Daniel Goulding on for Ciaran Sheehan. Conor Counihan said the bench could be the difference. That’s a big name to bring in, even if he’s just back from injury.

54 mins, Cork 0-12 Kerry 0-9: And Goulding scores but it could have been worse for Kerry as Nicholas Murphy wins a high ball on the edge of the square but what a save from Kealy. Made up for his missed 45s there!

57 mins, Cork 0-13 Kerry 0-10: Gooch strikes back with a free but again he’s been overshadowed by some young faces. James O’Donoghue won that free and his been really troublesome since he came on at the break. Meanwhile Donnacha O’Connor points at the other end after Nicholas Murphy breaks a high ball into his path. That ploy is now beginning to be used and crucially it’s beginning to be work for  Cork. O’Connor is running a lovely line each time.

60 mins, Cork 0-14 Kerry 0-11: James O’Donoghue again tormenting the opposition, he’s the creator as Eoin Brosnan points but back come Cork with Donnacha O’Connor. Kerry are going to need a goal or they are going out we feel. Meanwhile, as we enter the last 10 in Leinster, Brendan Murphy has Carlow within a point of Meath. We’ll let you know how that pans out too.

64 mins, Cork 0-15 Kerry 0-11: Kerry look out on their feet and we feared for them in this regard. Cork have worn down younger teams and punched down the stretch. Daniel Goulding points, Kieran Donaghy is replaced by Patrick Curtin and the bulk of the 23,184 cheer.

66 mins, Cork 0-15 Kerry 0-12: Darran O’Sullivan points but another cheer from the Cork crowd as Barry John Keane comes on for Paul Galvin. He sits down beside Donaghy on the bench as Kerry fight against the dying of the light on and off the field. Meath 1-12 Carlow 0-12 in Tullamore with 4 to go there as well.

70 mins, Cork 0-15 Kerry 0-12: Three added minutes and we’ll need late drama to halt the inevitable as Barry O’Driscoll comes on for Nicholas Murphy, decent second half from the full-forward.

70+1: Cork 0-16 Kerry 0-12: Great ball in to Colm O’Neill in space. He might have goaled but his shot flashes over the bar and it’s as good as a goal. Insurance point.

70+2 Cork 0-17 Kerry 0-12: And now Colm O’Neill adds another free. The scoreline isn’t misleading. We said this day might be like 1987 and see Cork begin a dominant spell in this rivalry. We’ve seen nothing to change our minds.

Full-time: Cork 0-17 Kerry 0-12

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