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Familiar foes to clash again in annual duel

KERRY and fellow Munster heavyweights Cork will meet for the third successive year in the Munster SFC final after both came through the respective semi-finals yesterday.

Reigning provincial and All-Ireland champions Kerry recovered from a slow start to edge out Tipperary by six points, 2-14 to 2-8, in Thurles.

The game also marked the return to action of Colm 'Gooch' Cooper (above) following his knee injury which sidelined him last year.

The Dr Crokes star scored three points, including two from play.

Throw-in was delayed by 15 minutes as just the New Stand was open to punters attempting to gain access to Semple Stadium.

It seemed to effect the Kingdom more as Tipp got motoring early to open up a 1-1 to 0-0 within four minutes, with Michael Quinlivan netting the first of his two goals.

However, Kerry soon settled and by the break led 2-6 to 2-4 courtesy of goals from Barry John Keane and Paul Geaney.

Five successive points after half-time put Kerry on their way to victory to set up a Munster decider on July 5.

Brian Cuthbert's Cork enjoyed a commanding 12-point victory over Clare, 1-20 to 1-8, Páirc Uí Rinn.

The Rebels blitzed the Banner County with impressive scoring bursts in both halves.

Clare actually started better but inspired by centre-back, Brian O'Driscoll, who scored two points Cork upped the gears to lead 0-7 to 0-2 inside 22 minutes and by the break it was 0-10 to 0-4.

Clare restarted the better but an absence of a clinical edge up front cost them as both Keelan Sexton and Dean Ryan failed to convert goal -scoring opportunities.

Cork were more ruthless in front of the posts, firing five points without reply in a seven-minute spell to extend their advantage to ten points by the end of the third quarter.

Cathal O'Connor grabbed a 52nd minute goal for Clare but it was cancelled out when Donncha O'Connor fired a penalty to the net to make it 1-18 to 1-5 and teh Rebels were never in trouble.

munster sfc