Rebels inflict more heartache on Kerry
IT was Groundhog Day all over again for the Kerry ladies as they exited at the hands of Cork in another national semi-final without ever reaching their promise in a game that Cork bossed from start to finish.
There had been high hopes ahead of the encounter that Kerry were coming of age against an aging Cork team, but the Rebels disproved this theory as they blasted Kerry out of it in the first quarter to lead 1-4 to 0-2.
Orlagh Farmer goaled inside two minutes and with a hat trick of pointed frees from Geraldine O'Flynn Cork were several gears ahead of Kerry even with Louise Galvin and Bernie Breen pointing for Kerry.
Denise Hallissey somewhat against the run of play on the 17th gave Kerry a life line as she was left unmarked when she received a pass from Louise Ni Mhuirtceartaigh to goal. Cork's reply was swift with both midfielders Buckley and Corkery pointing, but Kerry goaled again on the 24th minute from the boot of Deirdre Corridan and despite all Cork's good work Kerry were very much back in it trailing 1-6 to 2-2 with just a handful of minutes to the break.
However, Cork hit back with an O'Flynn free before Kerry conceded a penalty in injury time which Emma Farmer converted. Kerry trailed at the break 2-7 to 2-4 after Breen scored her second of the day. It was a lead that flattered Kerry but there were still in the mix and that comfort was enough for the large travelling Kerry crowd.
Whatever plans William O'Sullivan may have hatched at the break, they were all redundant by the 36th minute of the game as Referee Maggie Doherty sin binned Bernie Breen and to add insult to injury Geraldine O'Flynn's resultant free clipped the crossbar making it difficult for Amanda Brosnan to deal with, her split ball landed up with Emma Farmer and she was hauled to the ground. She got up and converted the penalty to give Cork their biggest lead of the day 3-8 to 2-5.
Despite the setback the Kerry's response was impressive within a minute Hallissey had her second goal which was a carbon copy of the first. The wing-back went unnoticed into the Cork box and slammed to the net.
A brace of quick points from Galvin and Houlihan had Kerry back to a point as the game began to heat up with a number of high octane tackles going unpunished much to the ire of both sidelines.
Flynn and Farmer had stretched out the Cork lead to three points by the 47th minute, but Kerry were still very much in touch. Cork introduced Eimear Scally and Valerie Mulcahy in the final quarter and both caused Kerry new problems.
Scally's pace was electrifying as she demonstrated as she picked up a ball in midfield and beat four Kerry defenders before she was knocked over in the square. It was Cork's third penalty but on this occasion Mulcahy stepped up to take it.
This time Brosnan was equal to the challenge as she pulled off a fine save, but instead of igniting a Kerry come back in the last five minutes, Cork added further points from Doireann O'Sullivan and Corkery to give the Rebels their pass to the League final where they now defend their crown against Dublin on May 10.
Kerry will now wait until June to open the defensive of their title with away games to Clare and Cork in a round robin competition. If Kerry reach the final, Rathmore will the venue of July 12.
Kerry: A Brosnan, J Brosnan, A Desmond, G Growley, M Quirke, C Lynch, D Hallissey 2-0, E Sherwood, B Breen 0-2, SJ Joy, D Corridan 1-0, L Galvin 0-2, S Houlihan 0-2 (0-1F), D Murphy, L Ni Mhuirtceartaigh 0-2 Subs: A Leonard for M Quirke (24), P Dennehy for D Murphy (H/T), L Scanlon for D Corridan (52), A Lyons for G Crowley (55)
Cork: M O'Brien, R Phelan, A Walsh, B Stack, V Foley, AM Walsh, G O'Flynn 0-5 (0-4F), R Buckley 0-2, B Corkery 0-2, A Walsh, D O'Sullivan 0-2, C O'Sullivan, O Farmer 1-0, E Farmer 2-1 (2-0P) O Finn 0-1 Subs: A Barrett for R Phelan (H/T), V Mulcahy for O Finn (42), D O'Reilly for E Farmer (59)
Referee: Maggie Doherty (Wexford)