Rebels effect total turnaround from their disappointing performance against the Kingdom last month
MUNSTER MFC FINAL
Kerry’s hopes of regaining the Munster Minor Football title were dashed in the Páirc Uí Rinn sunshine on Wednesday night as the boys in green fell to a rampant Cork side.
After taking something of a pasting at the hands of the old enemy earlier in the competition in Tralee, Cork came thundering back to upset the form book and lift football spirits in the county ahead of Cork’s clash with Louth this weekend.
Led on the pitch by the scoring exploits of their talisman Bryan Hayes, Cork were sensational from the off and fully deserved what was a major turnaround in Michael O’Brien’s charges fortunes.
From the off this one didn’t disappoint. A point from Paddy Lane inside 60 seconds had Kerry in front, but Cork were level straight from the kick-out with Colm Gillespie landing a huge point from distance.
Ed Myres was next on the scoreboard for the home side as Cork took the game to the side that gave them a pasting earlier in the championship.
Parity was restored again twice before the 10th minute as jack and Donagh O’Sullivan raised white flags with Alan O’Connell hitting back for the Rebels.
With the game still in the early stages one would be forgiven for thinking that Cork might fall away as Kerry came forward but the next 20 minutes proved the doubters wrong as Cork took the game to their illustrious opponents racking up 1-5 without response in a period of utter dominance.
A trio of classy scores from Hayes (two from play and a tight angle free) set Cork on their way to what would ultimately be a seven point lead at the break.
Hayes was clinical with the ball while Mallow’s Mark Kelleher did exceptionally well with the ball in hand up and down the right wing. Another long range effort from Gillespie lifted the crowd and the team even more with a brilliant point from Darragh O’Donovan pushing Cork up five.
The game’s first major came as Kerry looked on the ropes with Hayes reacting quickest to another Gillespie effort that had come off the post and smashed the ball past Shay O’Meara ion the Kerry goal.
Top their credit, Kerry didn’t roll over and a pair of points before the break – Darren Allman and Cormac Dillon (free) – meant that this one remained in the melting pot as the sides left the field – Kerry with it all to do trailing by 1-9 to 0-5.
If Kerry were to drag this one back from the edge then a strong start to the second half would be needed, but it was Cork that settled quickest once more with O’Connell landing his second score.
More trouble for Kerry followed as Darragh O’Connor saw a straight red for an off the ball strike on Gillespie – Kerry reeling in the leeside sunshine.
A quick brace of frees from Cormac Dillon and Ian O’Sullivan brought the margin back to six but this game was to be sorted in a 60 second spell that just blew the Kingdom away.
First up was a sensational run and shot from O’Connell that gave the Kerry keeper no chance before Hayes capped off what was a true masterclass with his second and Cork’s third goal of the night – Kerry down by 12 with 15 remaining on the clock.
Try as they may the boys in green just didn’t have what it took to drag this one from the fire and a cool-and-collected Cork eased to what was a fully deserved victory.
Cork will now face Derry in the All Ireland quarter final on Saturday week with Kerry taking Tyrone on the same day.
CORK: Josh Woods (Valley Rovers); Mark O’Sullivan, Bantry Blues), Colin Molloy (Nemo Rangers), Tim O’Brien (Nemo Rangers); Darragh O’Donovan (Bishopstown) 0-1, Gearoid Daly (Mallow), Aaron Cullinane (Clonakilty); Colm Geary (Kilshannig), Colm Gillespie (Aghabullogue) 0-2; Mark Kelleher (Mallow), Ed Myres (Naomh Aban) 0-2 (1f), Alan O’Connell (Kilshannig) 1-2; Brian Hayes (Nemo Rangers) 2-3, Gearoid Kearney (Kinsale), Olan O’Donovan (Ibane Gaels) 0-1 Subs: Kieran McCarthy (Carrigaline) for T O’Brien (inj) (38), Neville O’Leary (Douglas) for C Geary (45), Aaron O’Sullivan (Aghabullogue) for M Kelleher (45), James Burke (Douglas) for A Cullinane (52), Ben O’Sullivan (Adrigole) for O O’Donovan (54).
KERRY: Shay O’Meara (Dr Crokes), Maidhcí Lynch (Dr Crokes), Liam Evans (Keel), Jake Foley (Kerins O’Rahilly’s), Eddie Healy (Listowel Emmets), Darragh O’Connor (Kenmare Shamrocks), Fionn Murphy (Rathmore); Jack O’Sullivan (Brosna) 0-1, 9. Tomás Ashe (Annascaul); Niall Collins (Ballymacelligott), Cormac Dillon (Duagh) 0-3f, Jack Clifford (St Michael’s-Foilmore); Paddy Lane (Austin Stacks) 0-1, Donagh O’Sullivan (Dromid Pearses) 0-1, Darren Allman (Kenmare Shamrocks) 0-1 Subs: Ian O’Sullivan (St Michaels -Foilmore) 0-1f for D Allman (ht); Darragh O’Connor (Beaufort) 0-1 for T Ashe (40), Evan Boyle (Ballyduff) for P Lane (50), Padraig Moynihan (Rathmore) for J O’Sullivan (57), John Burke (Laune Rangers) for J Clifford (57).
REFREE: Niall Quinn (Clare)