Promising start for Cork Juniors but Kerry make it six of the best
Munster JFC Final: Kerry 1-14 Cork 0-13
Cork battled bravely but didn't bring quite the consistency required to deny Kerry from winning their 6th consecutive Munster Junior Football Championship title at Pairc Ui Rinn last week.
Rebel manager Ger O'Sullivan was pragmatic in his summation that the game's only goal close to the interval came against the run of play.
"We found it difficult to recover, Kerry took over, a goal against the breeze is a great fillip and it gave Kerry encouragement," he said.
With the competition geared for intermediate and junior club players, O'Sullivan pointed to the selection available to Kerry. A quick tot sees the Kingdom draw on all units bar just eight senior clubs while in Cork, 19 clubs operate in the senior grade.
"They are the cards one is dealt with, its the system in Cork, they are the structures in place and we were aware of the scenario. Just days before the Munster Junior Final, most of the Cork side played with their clubs, be it in football or hurling, maybe Kerry don't have that inference of dual players and of course, their depth of talent is evident from players holding All Ireland minor medals," said the Dromtariffe clubman. "In fairness, everybody gave 100% and that's what we asked of the players."
Kingdom manager Jimmy Keane was understandably delighted on adding a Munster title, especially given a new look team paraded against Cork.
"With all due respects to the actual team that played, we had another team at home, because of injury, many of those would be pushing hard for starting places. It just shows the depth of talent that's in Kerry, they love wearing the Kerry jersey and enjoy playing football," said the Brosna man.
"It's hard to believe that we 've won six Munster titles in a row, we weren't counting for nobody has been involved in all six triumphs. There was some pressure on given the earlier success of the minor and senior teams at provincial level, it augurs well for the future of Kerry football, a number of these Junior players will step up, we're facilitating them to reach the next level," said Keane.
Indeed Kerry held a number of exceptional performers at Pairc Uí Rinn, former All Ireland minor John Mark Foley helped gain a vice grip around the midfield that laid the platform for dominance with fellow All Ireland minor medallists Michael Foley and Stephen O'Sullivan effective on this occasion.
Early on, Cork were full of football invention in the opening half, converting every chance that came their way with no wide recorded. Kerry lost midfielder Nathan Breen to a black card with only four minutes elapsed yet replacement Caolim Teahan saw plenty of the ball.
It was clear that Cork were prepared for a gutsy performance, Kevin Cremin, John Mullins and the O'Connor brothers effective as was the immense contribution of Gary Murphy, the Castletownbere pointed a pair with Anthony O'Connor also on target.
And though Kerry responded to force parity at 0-4 apiece, Cork weren't found wanting, Murphy, Shane Aherne and the O'Connors on target to confirm their dominance.
But as the game aged, Kerry offered more belief and conviction, Chris Farley forced a turnover, Templenoe's O'Sullivan weaved past despairing tackles to billow the Cork net. And Kerry might well had added a second green flag, Cork 'keeper Chris Kelly denying Brandon Barrett with his leg before Michael Foley and Eoin O'Shea exchanged points for Cork hold a 0-9 to 1-5 interval advantage.
Kerry's game really took flight on the restart, the control of Padraig O'Connor, Jack Brosnan and Michael Foley was absolute in defence, Kilgarvan's John Mark Foley pulled the strings brilliantly at midfield .
And in attack, O'Sullivan, Dan Daly and Barry O'Dwyer stretched the Cork rearguard with purposeful and assured play to shoot a run of points for a clear 1-12 to 0-9 advantage at the three quarter mark. Cork were struggling in attack with Kerry keeping a tight rein on dangerman Murphy, who wasn't afforded the same space or time in possession as in the opening spell.
Cork waited to the 54th min to open their second half account courtesy of a Murphy pointed free. Still Kerry held a stranglehold on the proceedings, wing-back Jack Brosnan stormed forward to point a beauty with Daly adding pointed frees. Though Seamus Hickey and Anthony O'Connor added Cork points, Kerry custodian Eoghan O'Brien got in on the act to slot over a '45 with O'Sullivan completed the Kerry tally to allow team captain Philip O'Connor lift the silverware.
CORK: C Kelly (Éire Óg); P Clancy (Fermoy), P Murphy (Bandon), G McCarthy (St Vincent's); K Cremin (Boherbue), J Mullins (Éire Óg), G O'Callaghan (Gabriel Rangers); BT O'Sullivan (Garnish), P Walsh (Kanturk); F O'Connor 0-2 (Knocknagree), A O'Connor 0-4 (3f) (do), S Aherne (Fermoy); G Murphy 0-4 (2f) (Castletownbere), S Hickey 0-2 (Rockchapel), E O'Shea 0-1 (Éire Óg). Subs: L Wall (Kilmurry) for G O'Callaghan (20), ST O'Sullivan (Garnish) for S Aherne (40),T Corkery (Cill na Martra) for BT O'Sullivan (40), E O'Callaghan (Rockchapel) for P Walsh (48), E Goggin (Gabriel Rangers) for E O'Shea (55), G Kelleher (St Vincent's) for F O'Connor (58).
KERRY: E O'Brien 0-1 ('45') (Churchill); C Ó Murchú (Gaeltacht), Padraig O'Connor (Killarney), PJ O'Sullivan (Dromid Pearses); J Brosnan 0-1 (Glenbeigh/Glencar), M Breen (Beaufort), M Foley 0-1 (Ballydonoughue); JM Foley (Kilgarvan), N Breen (Beaufort); Phillip O'Conno (Cordal), C Farley (Dromid Pearses), B Barrett (Ardfert); S O'Sullivan 1-3 (Templenoe), D Daly 0-4 (3f) (St. Marys, Cahirciveen), B O'Dwyer 0-3 (Waterville). Subs: C Teehan 0-1 (Glenbeigh/Glencar) for N Breen (bc, 5), T Lynch (Castleisland Desmonds) for B Barrett (53), J Crean (Annascaul) for C Farley (57), J Spillane (Templenoe) for B O'Dwyer (62).
Referee: D O'Callaghan (Limerick)