Retribution for Rebels as Goulding shines and Galvin has off-day
National League games are meant to be light preambles to championship fare, but the tetchy rivalry between Cork and Kerry generated a bitter clash between the pair at Pairc Ui Rinn on Saturday night.
The scoreline hints at a morale-boosting win for Cork as they reversed last September's All-Ireland final defeat but that conceals the tale of a tempestuous first half that saw referee Maurice Deegan flash three red cards.
Cork defender Noel Galvin was first to see the line for a second yellow card in the 19th minute following a high tackle on Kieran Donaghy, but the headlines were dominated by the dismissals of Kerry's Paul Galvin and Cork's Eoin Cadogan for an off-the-ball incident two minutes later.
Deegan sent both players off after consulting with his linesmen yet video footage suggested the pair were harshly treated. Kerry boss Jack O'Connor believes Galvin (below) is being judged on his reputation after last year's Footballer of the Year was involved in controversy.
"I think if you give a fella a bad name, it follows him. I'd need to watch that on the monitor, but by all accounts he didn't do too much. We were saying to the players before the game, what with the controversy last week with the four guys up north getting suspended, that players were going to be watched now. No excuses though, Cork were certainly fitter and stronger. We've a lot of work to do to catch up," said O'Connor.
Cork manager Conor Counihan revealed he didn't see the incidents that led to the dismissals.
"Things happen pretty hectically and to be honest I'd like to look at it on video again. Noel got the first yellow and then the second one, he pulls your man back. The first I saw of the other sendings-off was the two of them rolling on the ground. It's not easy for referees," said Counihan.
Despite the odds being stacked against them in terms of personnel, 13-man Cork recovered brilliantly to conjure up victory before their home fans in the 4,835 crowd.
They had some excellent performers in defensive duo Ger Spillane and Paudie Kissane, Michael Shields had a terrific second half while Paul Kerrigan maintained his scoring streak by firing 1-2. The matchwinner though was Daniel Goulding as he caused untold problems for the Kerry defence in kicking seven points.
Cork received an early boost when Kerrigan fired an early bullet to the net in the fourth minute after being played through by Paul O'Flynn. But as the tension increased with the red cards, Cork's play suffered and Kerry were ahead 0-6 to 1-2 nearing the interval. Yet two Goulding points left Cork in front at the break.
Kerry began the second half brightly, inspired by half-time substitute Barry John Keane, and they were back in front at 0-9 to 1-5 by the 41st minute. Yet driven on by Shields and Kissane, and with Goulding lording it in attack, Cork stormed ahead 1-10 to 0-10 entering the finale. Kerry substitute David O'Callaghan put it back in the melting pot with two fine points, but Goulding and Kerrigan sealed Cork's win with late points.
Scorers -- Cork: D Goulding 0-7 (1f); P Kerrigan 1-2; P O'Flynn, D O'Connor (1f), M Shields 0-1 each. Kerry: BJ Keane 0-3 (1f); BJ Walsh (1f), P O'Connor (2f), D Walsh, D O'Callaghan 0-2 each; D O'Sullivan 0-1.
CORK -- P O'Shea; R Carey, M Shields, N Galvin; G Spillane, P Kissane, E Cadogan; A O'Connor, P O'Neill; P O'Flynn, D O'Connor, P Kelly; D Goulding, N Murphy, P Kerrigan. Subs: C O'Driscoll for O'Flynn (47), F Goold for A O'Connor (60), C O'Neill for D O'Connor (63), J Hayes for Kerrigan (66), J Masters for Goulding (70).
KERRY -- B Kealy; P Reidy, T Griffin, A O'Connell; A O'Sullivan, A O'Mahony, K Young; S Scanlon, M Quirke; P Galvin, D O'Sullivan, D Walsh; BJ Walsh, K Donaghy, P O'Connor. Subs: D Moran for A O'Sullivan (31), BJ Keane for O'Connor (half-time), J O'Donoghue for BJ Walsh (49), D O'Callaghan for Moran (61), K O'Leary for D Walsh (66).
Ref -- Maurice Deegan (Laois)