Lehane on song to keep Cork's noses in front
Cork 1-20 Kerry 0-18
Conor Lehane scored six points in his return to competitive action as Cork held off a strong Kerry challenge at Mallow.
Lehane had been out of action since sustaining a quad muscle injury in August but, operating at midfield, he put in a good display for Kieran Kingston’s side while his clubmate Luke O’Farrell got the first-half goal which gave the Rebels breathing space.
Kerry could never get closer than within five points after that – they missed a great chance when they were awarded a 56th-minute penalty after Cork goalkeeper Declan Dalton fouled Mikey Boyle. At that stage, the score stood at 1-18 to 0-16, but, after being booked, Dalton saved well from Shane Nolan, and Cork pushed on.
Lehane had three points as Cork scored the game’s first five, and O’Farrell’s goal made it 1-5 to 0-1. Kerry upped their game after that, however, and points by Micheal O’Leary and Nolan frees cut the gap to 1-11 to 0-9 at half-time.
Cork couldn’t pull away in the second half, despite Alan Cadogan doing well after coming on, but neither could Kerry draw closer, with the penalty their best chance.
At the death, Cadogan and Kerry’s Darren Dineen were both sent off after a scuffle broke out.
SCORERS – Cork: C Lehane 0-6 (0-2s), L O’Farrell 1-3, S Harnedy 0-4 (0-2fs), B Moylan (0-1f), D Brosnan, A Cadogan 0-2 each, C O’Leary 0-1. Kerry: M O’Leary, S Nolan (5fs) 0-5 each, C Harty 0-3, P Lucid 0-2, B O’Leary, J Conway, J Goulding 0-1 each.
CORK – D Dalton; C Buckley, C Barry, D Browne; B Moylan, D Cahalane, M O’Keeffe; C Lehane, D Brosnan; P O’Rourke, S Harnedy, C Cormack; T O’Mahony, L O’Farrell, C O’Leary. Subs: C O’Sullivan for Browne, A Cadogan for O’Leary (both h-t), W Leahy for O’Mahony (50), A Dennehy for O’Keeffe (50), L Meade for Lehane (63).
KERRY – M Stackpoole; S Weir, B Murphy, D Fitzell; J Diggins, D Dineen, D Collins; P O’Connor, P Lucid; C Harty, B O’Leary, S Nolan; K Carmody, M O’Leary, J Conway. Subs: J O’Connor for P O’Connor (48), M Boyle for Carmody (48), T Murnane for Fitzell (58), J Goulding for Nolan (63, injured).
REF – R McGann (Clare).