KIERAN McCARTHY REPORTS
STUNNED by the concession of two goals inside the opening four minutes, Cork never recovered from a dreadful start in the Munster U20 FC final on Monday night.
Kerry shocked the Rebels by hitting 2-1 before the game had even stretched its legs at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, and it meant Cork were chasing the game from the start. The truth is they never looked like reeling in a Kerry team that led by seven at the break, and that advantage swelled even more in the second half.
The stats won’t make easy reading for Cork. They kicked 1-6 in total, with the goal scant consolation in injury-time. Only one point from play in the first half. Only three points from play in total. Only one Cork starter scored from play (Paddy O’Driscoll). There were 31 minutes between Paddy O’Driscoll’s fourth-minute point from play and sub Niall Kelly’s 35th-minute point from play. The Cork attack didn’t carry a threat, and the result was inevitable from a long way out.
The Rebels were rocked by those two goals inside the opening four minutes, the first after just 24 seconds. Jack Clifford scythed through the Cork rearguard, offloaded to Cian McMahon, who finished with the outside of his right boot.
Kerry corner forward Aaron O’Shea quickly added a point before midfielder Cillian Burke added the visitor’s second goal, finishing from close range. Stunned Cork trailed 2-1 to 0-0.
From here to the break, all 26 minutes, the teams shared eight points, with Kerry looking the most likely to power further in front. Cork had goal chances – Darragh Murphy drilled one wide, while Paddy O’Driscoll, in the tenth minute, tried an outside of the boot finish himself but the ball skewed well off target.
O’Driscoll and Hugh O’Connor (free) got Cork off the mark, but Kerry full-forward William Shine responded with two long-range frees. It was 2-3 to 0-2 after seven minutes, but there were only four more scores in the rest of the half – Hugh O’Connor (two frees) for Cork and William Shine for Kerry. The Kingdom were in control by the break, 2-5 to 0-4.
The second half never took off, as Kerry just pulled clear, and Cork’s response was just 1-2 from half-time sub Niall Kelly, all from play, with the goal coming in injury time; the Newcestown man rifling a rebound to the net after Ross Corkery’s free was saved.
Scorers - Cork: N Kelly 1-2; H O’Connor 0-3 (3f); P O’Driscoll 0-1. Kerry: W Shine 0-6 (2f); C McMahon, C Burke 1-0 each; K Evans, L Crowley 0-2 each; A O’Shea, J Nagle 0-1 each.
CORK: Callum Dungan; Dan Twomey, Jacob O’Driscoll, Daragh Murphy; Thomas O’Mahony, Tommy Walsh, Sean Brady; Paddy O’Driscoll, Sean Dore; Olan Corcoran, Liam O’Connell, Richard O’Sullivan; Peadar O’Rourke, Hugh O’Connor, Tom Cunningham. Subs: E Nash for S Dore (25), N Kelly for P O’Driscoll (ht), R Corkery for P O’Rourke (39), M Quirke for T O’Mahony (46), E de Burca for T Cunningham (51).
KERRY: K Mackessy; C O’Donoghue, A Moynihan, J Nagle; K O’Sullivan, A Heinrich, P O’Leary; C Burke, C O’Connell; T O’Donnell, C McMahon, K Evans; J Clifford, W Shine, A O’Shea. Subs: L Crowley for A O’Shea (41), D O’Callaghan for C O’Donoghue (48), C Lynch for K O’Sullivan (53), C Foley for T O’Donnell (56), R Stack for J Clifford (58).
Referee: J Hayes (Limerick).