DENIS HURLEY REPORTS
A GOOD first half wasn’t enough of a platform for Cork to build upon as they gave way to Kerry for the sixth straight year in the Munster JFC final at Páirc Uí Rinn.
An early 0-8 to 0-4 lead was wiped out as Kerry struck for a goal and a point coming up to half-time and though Cork responded to lead at the break, they wouldn’t score for the first 24 minutes of the second period.
Kerry had added seven straight points by then to ensure that they had firm control of the game and they had four to spare at the end, staying on course for a fifth straight All-Ireland title.
It means a truncated campaign for Cork again – this is the second straight year with just them and Kerry competing in Munster while Waterford were the only other entrants in 2017. Cork manager Ger O’Sullivan believes that consideration should be given to the grade should be run on a national open-draw basis
‘I think there is a situation there where you could just do an open draw from the start,’ he said.
‘If there are only two teams in Munster, throw them in with Leinster and Connacht and maybe encourage Ulster to come into it.
‘It’s not good enough to just have one game in Munster, it’s demeaning the competition and it’s disappointing.’
Aided by the wind, Cork impressed in the first half, with Gary Murphy kicking three fine points as Fintan O’Connor and Anthony O’Connor weighed in too. They were double scores ahead but Kerry got a shot in the arm as Stephen O’Sullivan took a pass from Chris Farley and weaved his way through the Cork cover before slotting the ball past Chris Kelly.
Michael Foley tied matters immediately after that and Brandon Barrett might have added a second goal, denied by a super save from Kelly.
Eoin O’Shea ensured that Cork led at half-time with a fine score in injury time, but Goalscorer O’Sullivan had Kerry level five minutes into the second half and he followed that with a lead score while Daniel Daly and Barry O’Dwyer augmented the Kerry advantage. They were six ahead before Gary Murphy ended Cork’s drought and though the Rebels did kick the game’s final three points, Kerry had done enough.
Kerry: Stephen O’Sullivan 1-3, Daniel Daly 0-4 (3f), Barry O’Dwyer 0-3, Jack Brosnan, Eoin O’Brien (45), Caolim Teahan, Michael Foley 0-1 each.
Cork: Gary Murphy (3f), Anthony O’Connor (3f, 0-1 45) 0-4 each, Séamus Hickey, Fintan O’Connor 0-2 each, Eoin O’Shea 0-1.
Kerry: E O’Brien; C Ó Murchú, P O’Connor, P ‘Jackie’ O’Sullivan; J Brosnan, M Breen, M Foley; JM Foley, N Breen; P O’Connor, C Farley, B Barrett; S O’Sullivan, D Daly, B O’Dwyer.
Subs: C Teahan for N Breen (5, black card), T Lynch for Barrett (53), J Crean for Farley (58), J Spillane for O’Dwyer (60).
Cork: Chris Kelly (Éire Óg); Pádraig Clancy (Fermoy), Peter Murphy (Bandon), Gavin McCarthy (St Vincent’s); Kevin Cremin (Boherbue), John Mullins (Éire Óg), Ger O’Callaghan (Gabriel Rangers); Brian ‘Terry’ O’Sullivan (Garnish), Paul Walsh (Kanturk); Fintan O’Connor (Knocknagree), Anthony O’Connor (Knocknagree), Shane Aherne (Fermoy); Gary Murphy (Castletownbere), Séamus Hickey (Rockchapel), Eoin O’Shea (Éire Óg).
Subs: Liam Wall (Kilmurry) for O’Callaghan (23, injured), Seán ‘Terry’ O’Sullivan (Garnish) for Aherne, Tadhg Corkery (Cill na Martra) for Brian ‘Terry’ O’Sullivan (both 42), Eamonn O’Callaghan (Rockchapel) for Walsh (49), Eddie Goggin (Gabriel Rangers) for O’Shea (55), Gerry Kelleher (St Vincent’s) for Fintan O’Connor (59).
Referee: Donncha O’Callaghan (Limerick).